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Late-Summer Care For Your Petunia Baskets

Late-Summer Care for your Petunia Baskets

By Claire Josephson, Brand Manager for Wave® Petunias
Photographs courtesy of Wave® Petunias

So, it’s late-summer and you’re noticing your petunias are taking the heat but not looking so hot: Your plants may be looking tired, there are less blooms, the branches look “leggy” and uneven or maybe you’ve even noticed some wilting and yellowing leaves. And, worst of all, your neighbor’s petunia baskets are looking more beautiful than ever.

Don’t panic! There is still time to get them flourishing again, and before you know it, you’ll be out-blooming the rest of the block. First and foremost, your petunias love the sun, so make sure they are in a location that gets at least six hours of full sun a day.

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Now, if your garden has been experiencing a rough patch of weather or extreme heat, make sure you are giving your plants enough water to stay hydrated. If watering once a day doesn’t seem to be enough, try watering twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. To check if the plants are drying out, stick your finger into the soil and if it feels dry at the tip of your finger, it’s time to water. Also, good drainage is a must! If your petunias are in a pot or hanging basket, it is important to have adequate drainage holes to avoid disease. It’s great to water, but don’t drown those roots.

Once you’ve checked these basic requirements off your list, now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of grooming and care. After all, your neighbors’ baskets most likely aren’t looking lush all on their own. So, keep an eye on your petunias. Once you notice spent blooms or some branches sticking out further than others, it’s time to pinch.

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I’m sure you’ve picked off or deadheaded blooms here and there to clean up the plant a bit, but by only pulling off those old blooms you may be tidying up, but you are not encouraging new blooms to grow. What you’re actually doing is leaving behind seed heads that have no more blooms left to give. Instead of just pulling off spent blooms, try pinching off (or even cutting with scissors) the small stems of those blooms. And, for branches that look extra “leggy”, try pinching or cutting past the desired branch length of the plant to promote center growth and ensure those new branches grow even with your flourishing blooms. Don’t worry, this will actually redirect the plant’s energy towards producing more blooms in the long run. (Here's a link to our "grooming and care" page from our experts at Wave Petunias.)

One last note: Feed your plants! If you notice a yellowing on the leaves, that is a sure sign that your plants need a dose of liquid fertilizer. Feeding your plants every 10-14 days (while following the dosage on the label) is really important after grooming. It will give the plants more energy they need to push more flowers.

Hey, you’re already off to a great start by taking the time to read these tips. With a little grooming, love and patience your petunia baskets are bound to bounce back in no time and continue to give your garden more color through to the fall.

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