Petunia 

(peh-tuu' nee-ah)

Common name: Petunia

Family:Solanaceae, Nightshade

Height x width: 8-15" x 18-36"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: alternate, broad ovate, 1½-3" long, simple, entire margins, stems and leaves covered with viscid (sticky) pubescence

Flowers: 2-4" funnel-shaped tube, edges entire to fringed, single to double, many colors either solid, bicolors or star pattern; sweet fragrance

Hardiness: annual

Soil: well-drained, will tolerate dry

Light: sun

Pests and problems: botrytis blight, stem rot, viruses, aphids, beetles, tarnished plant bug, scales, caterpillars, root knot nematode

Landscape habit, uses: massing, borders, containers, hanging baskets, groundcover, walls and rock gardens; mounded or trailing habits

Other interest: native to South America; genus name from colloquial name "petun" for tobacco to which it is related; very popular from wide choices, adaptability, bright color and ease of growth.

Other culture: some cultivars are self-cleaning, others need spent flowers removed (deadheading) for best show

Propagation: seeds ( 250,000 per ounce) sown indoors 8-10 weeks before planting out, cuttings of new patented cultivars especially trailing types

Species:

x hybrida (hi' bri-dah)--complex group of hybrids, originally crosses of axillaris and integrifolia; main categories:

(SG)Single Grandiflora--large flowers 3½-5" wide, often ruffled or fringed, most popular group, mostly F1 hybrids, newer cultivars have petal veining of darker color, 'Sugar Daddy' being first; 'White Cascade' in early 1950's was first; most best massed

(SM)Single Multiflora--many 2" flowers, disease tolerant

(SF)Single Floribunda--many 3" flowers, most disease tolerant; 'Summer Madness' in 1983 was first, good for massing

(DG)Double Grandiflora--large flowers only double, best in containers

(DM)Double Multiflora--many double flowers, popular novelties

(DF)Double Floribunda--like singles, only double

x hybrida x pendula--Trailing Petunia, first bred in Japan, bloom heavily, vigorous, low and trailing; originally Supertunias, now joined by Surfinias; need heavier fertility (double) than other petunias
 

Cultivars: (most series also have a mix; many other single cultivars exist not part of a series--check catalogs, greenhouses and garden stores for these, only more popular ones are listed)
 
Cultivars group color other
Aladdin series SG 9 colors early, wavy and fringed
'Blue Danube' DG lavender darker veins, 3-4" wide
'Caprice' DG rose-pink fringed, 3½-4" wide, basal branched
Carpet series SM 8 colors doesn't lodge (fall apart) late summer
Celebrity series SF 24 colors 2½-3" wide flowers, rain tolerant
Cloud series SG 6 colors 4-5" wide,early, heavy ruffled, vigorous
Countdown series SG 14 colors pure colors, 3½" wide, early
Daddy series SG 6 colors ruffled, 4" wide, rain tolerant
Double Cascade series DG 3 colors early, one veined
Double Madness series DF 4 colors like Madness only double
Dreams series SG 4 colors disease tolerant, uniform, 3-4" wide
'Duet' DG salmon bicolor with white, fringed, 3-4" wide
Eagle series SG 7 colors early, compact 3" wide flowers
Falcon series SG 17 colors compact, early, solids and veined, 3-4" wide
Fantasy series SM mix 1½-2" wide, early
Flash series SG 11 colors compact, basal branching, 3-4" wide flowers
Frost series SG 4 colors bicolor with white edging, 3" wide
'Heavenly Lavender' DM lavender early, compact, 2½" wide, 1996AAS award
Highlight series SG 5 colors compact, white throats, rain tolerant
Horizon series SM 2 colors white throat bicolor, rain tolerant
Hulahoop series SG 4 colors early, white edging
Madness series SF 20 colors introduced in 1984, veined, solid, stars
Merlin series SM 8 colors strong colors, 2" wide flowers
Picotee series SG 4 colors bright colors with white edge, 3" wide, mounds
'Pink Wave' SG pink spreading, from seed, branched, good in pots
Polo series SM 3 colors well-branched, 2" wide flowers
Primetime series SM 18 colors solids, stars, veined 2¼" wide flowers
Prism series SG 3 colors broad white throats, 3-4" wide
'Purple Pirouette' DG violet broad white edged, ruffled
'Purple Wave' SG purple spreading, from seed, good in pots
'Rhapsody' DG burgundy fringed, 3½" wide, 20" tall plants
'Sonata' DG white 3-4" wide, fringed
Storm series SG 3 colors compact, 3" wide, rain tolerant, from Holland
Supercascade series SG 8 colors 3½-5" flowers, best in containers
Supermagic series SG 10 colors compact, ruffled 3-4" wide flowers
Tart series DM 5 colors 2-2½" wide flowers, mounded habit
Ultra series   ('Ultra Crimson Star') SG 12 colors compact, low spreading, 3-4" wide flowers
'Valentine' DG fiery red 3" wide flowers


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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