Columnist is “singing the praises of the petunias”

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Stephanie Hudak

Stephanie Hudak

By Stephanie Hudak

Last week I talked about the thugs in the pots. This week I want to sing the praises of the petunias. Well, not all of them, but a few have been outstanding and you need to know about them so that next year you might consider using them in your containers or garden.

If you have been checking out the containers then I probably don’t need to tell you that Supertunia Vista ‘Bubblegum’ is working hard to impress. Actually, I don’t believe that Bubblegum ever works hard… She just relaxes and does her thing with ease. Where is she? She is in several pots. Check out the one at the Welcome Center (No. 7), the one on Washington and Hancock (No. 3) and the OMG one at Washington and Second. No number on that one but I affectionately call it one of the “giant” containers. No matter how much I cut it back it stills spills and spills. Oh, and no need to worry about watering. Yes, the containers do get their regular watering but I have some in my yard where they don’t get anything unless Mother Nature drops by – too far away for the hose – but still they are growing and blooming. By the way ,they are sitting next to one of my other favorite plants, Lantana ‘Chapel Hill Yellow.’ Yeah, I know, the color combo isn’t right but they were leftover plants and needed a spot to grow. And grow they did.

So who else is a winner? Check out No. 8 at the corner of Main and Jefferson, the post office corner. That is Petunia Blanket ‘Lemon Glow.’ I wasn’t overly impressed with it at first. Cute little thing, but kinda small. How could it compete with the “thugs?” I thought. Well, don’t under estimate size cause it has taken over the entire container. True, the euphorbia that carried over from winter gave up so there is no center piece. Another thing I’ve learned is that Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ doesn’t measure up to Euphorbia ‘Rudolph.’ But that is another story. Back to ‘Lemon Glow.’ This is a “neat” little petunia that would mix with just about any other plant. I can’t believe that it beat out Lysimachia ‘Sundew Springs’ though which is in the same pot. Lysimachia is on the “thug” list and yet you can’t find it in this container!

I love all of the “Supertunias.” Period. They are strong, vibrant and forgiving. But a couple just couldn’t keep up with the more aggressive plants they were partnered with this year. I’ve used ‘White Russian’ before and if it has space it will perform, but when crowded out by a giant coleus it just got lost. Keep that one in mind though; it has a soft white flower with a burgundy stripping at the throat. Looked great with the dark red of the ‘Oxblood’ coleus leaves and tiny white flowers of Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost,’ which by the way also got lost in the coleus crowd (No. 19). Diamond Frost is an incredible plant to use but it needs heat, time and space to get to its full size. It won’t be back next year!

Another of the Supertunias that is a keeper is ‘Silverberry,’ a sweet little white flower with pink veins. Just make sure it has full sun. The container it is in (No. 13) only gets afternoon sun and I need to turn the pot (well, actually Jack turns the pot) so that all sides get sun. You can really see how the back side of a container is affected by no chance to get solar rays.

And then there is one loser this year. I loved Petunia Suncatcher ‘Vintage Rose’ when I first saw it. The name describes it so well. Vintage colors of soft pink, rose and burgundy. And it married so well with other plants, but it just could not deal with the environments I put it in. If you find it, try it, and it might do well for you. It didn’t like anywhere I put it, but living in the city containers is a big challenge so maybe it would be happy with just a little more TLC.

That’s the story on this year’s petunias. As I said, summer plants in the city containers have a big challenge so I don’t use many petunias unless they are up to the job. These guys are hanging in there. Speaking of hanging in there, spread those hugs.

“That plant wasn’t a mistake… It was an experiment.” (Unknown)

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