How to Save Wave Petunias

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The Wave petunia is a hybrid petunia introduced in 1995 and designed to spread over the ground and have a longer and more prolific bloom period than the old garden varieties. The flowers are larger and the colors are more vibrant. They are used as bedding plants, but are also popular for use in hanging baskets, where they cascade as much as 3 feet over the sides of the container. Occasionally, Wave petunias begin to decline before they reach their full potential. They can be saved by identifying the problem and following a few steps.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Garden fungicide
  • Peat moss
  • Water-soluble plant fertilizer
  1. Fertilize the Wave petunias every two weeks with a water-soluble plant fertilizer if they are only showing slow growth and sparse flower development. If the Wave petunias are planted in the ground, apply the fertilizer at the strength recommended on the fertilizer container label. If they are planted in hanging baskets, dilute the fertilizer to half-strength and add it to the plants once a week. This will keep them healthy, green and blooming throughout the growing season, and give them a good start.

  2. Spray with a garden fungicide that is approved for flowering annuals, available at most garden centers, if fungal problems appear. Fungal problems often appear near the center of the plant as leaves turn black or begin to curl. They may also show up as white spots on the flowers. Soak the plant completely with a fungicide mixed to the correct proportions by following the instructions on the label. Overuse of fungicides will kill a Wave petunia.

  3. Water the Wave petunia plant as often as needed to keep the soil moist, but not wet, during the growing season. Water the plants as close to the root system as possible and do not allow the foliage to get wet during the process to prevent fungal disease. This is especially true in hanging baskets, where the foliage of the center of the plant remains wet because of the need to water the roots every day in warm weather. Place the nozzle of the watering device in the foliage near the root system to avoid wetting the foliage.

  4. Relocate hanging baskets that are showing wilting and stress from exposure to direct sun. In the southern half of the United States, petunias cannot tolerate the intense direct sun of July and August and will die if planted in full sun. High dappled shade, such as under a tall deciduous shade tree, or exposure to the first four hours of sun in the morning is best for growing petunias in hanging baskets in the southern states. Never allow Wave petunias to wilt from heat stress and lack of water; they may not recover.

  5. Incorporate peat moss into the planting mix by adding it around the petunia plants if they are planted in the ground. The optimal planting mix for Wave petunias is 1/2 potting or garden soil and 1/2 peat moss. Do not use garden soil in a hanging basket.
    Hanging baskets benefit from several handfuls of peat moss over the top of the soil, especially if the top layer of soil is washed away by frequent watering. Be sure the hanging basket where the Wave petunia is planted is well drained. Peat moss acidifies the soil pH and holds moisture. The acidity provided by the peat moss helps control fungal problems.

What Is a Million Bells Flower?

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Million bells (Calibrachoa) is a small, dense plant that sprawls or grows in a mound, depending on the variety. It produces small yellow, pink or purple flowers. The plant is often used in window boxes, patio planters and hanging baskets, or in mass plantings.

  • Location

Million bells grows best in locations with full sun, but it tolerates some light afternoon shade. Plant it in an area of fertile, well-drained soil with a pH near 6.0.

  • Fertilizer

Million bells is a heavy feeder that may benefit from the use of a controlled-release fertilizer.

  • Climate

Million bells requires a soil temperature of 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Daytime air temperatures of 68 to 75 degrees are recommended. Nighttime temperatures should be between 50 and 60 degrees. Temperatures that are too high cause reduced flowers.

Warnings

According to Penn State Cooperative Extension Dauphin County, million bells is troubled by whiteflies, leafminers, aphids, thrips and fungus gnats. It may also suffer from root rot, so it is important to keep the soil from becoming soggy and feeding the harmful bacteria.

What Is a Million Bells Flower?

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Million bells (Calibrachoa) is a small, dense plant that sprawls or grows in a mound, depending on the variety. It produces small yellow, pink or purple flowers. The plant is often used in window boxes, patio planters and hanging baskets, or in mass plantings.

    Location

  • Million bells grows best in locations with full sun, but it tolerates some light afternoon shade. Plant it in an area of fertile, well-drained soil with a pH near 6.0.

    Fertilizer

  • Million bells is a heavy feeder that may benefit from the use of a controlled-release fertilizer.

    Climate

  • Million bells requires a soil temperature of 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Daytime air temperatures of 68 to 75 degrees are recommended. Nighttime temperatures should be between 50 and 60 degrees. Temperatures that are too high cause reduced flowers.

    Warnings

  • According to Penn State Cooperative Extension Dauphin County, million bells is troubled by whiteflies, leafminers, aphids, thrips and fungus gnats. It may also suffer from root rot, so it is important to keep the soil from becoming soggy and feeding the harmful bacteria.

How to Plant Nasturtium

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Nasturtiums are edible flowers that also make a good companion plant for radishes, cabbages, broccoli and mustard plants. They help deter pests such as squash bugs, cucumber beetles and aphids. Nasturtiums are both healthy and attractive plants to grow in the garden; they are grown from large seeds, which makes planting simple.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Instructions

  1. Choose a location with light sandy soil that has access to full sun or partial shade. These plants are hardy and do well in a variety of locations.

  2. Plant after the last frost date in the area. A cold frost while nasturtiums are germinating can kill them, so wait until the weather has warmed up for the season.

  3. Plant each large nasturtium seed by hand; dig holes about 1 inch deep and 8 to 12 inches apart. This ensures each plant enough resources to feed on as it grows. Nasturtiums germinate within 10 days of putting the seed in the soil.

  4. Water when the soil around the base of the nasturtium feels slightly dry to the touch. This plant does not thrive when it is too dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Nasturtiums are versatile plants that can be grown in a number of different locations, including window boxes, flower beds, containers, and hanging baskets.

  • Avoid using excessive fertilizers on nasturtiums as you will get more foliage than flowers. Use a soluble liquid fertilizer that has been diluted with water to one-half to one-quarter strength every three weeks.

How to Fertilize Geraniums to Bloom More

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Geraniums are versatile blooming plants that will grow in flowerbeds, hanging baskets, patio containers or window boxes. With a minimal level of care and plenty of bright sunshine, geraniums will continue to provide colorful blooms from late spring until the first freeze in autumn. Start your geraniums off on the right foot with a good feeding, then fertilize the plants regularly for the biggest, brightest blooms.

Difficulty: Moderate

 

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Organic matter
  • 5-10-15 granular fertilizer
  • Spade
  • Balanced granular fertilizer
  • Liquid fertilizer for blooming plants
  1. Provide fertilizer and rich organic matter at planting time. Spread 3 to 4 inches of compost, leaf mold, ground bark or manure on top of the soil, along with a good quality fertilizer. Use a granular fertilizer with a ratio such as 5-10-15 applied at a rate of approximately 1 tsp. for every square foot of planting area. Spade the organic matter and granular fertilizer thoroughly into the top 8 to 10 inches of soil.

  2. Fertilize your geraniums every four to six weeks throughout the growing season. Use an evenly balanced granular fertilizer with a ratio such as 8-8-8 applied at a rate of 1 tsp. per square foot of planting area. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly around the plant, but don’t allow it to contact the leaves.

  3. Fertilize containerized geraniums every two to three weeks, using a liquid fertilizer for blooming plants. Mix the fertilizer solution according to the recommendations on the container, as liquid fertilizers will vary. Alternatively, use an evenly balanced granular fertilizer instead of a liquid fertilizer. Apply 1 tsp. fertilizer for a 12-inch pot. Reapply every three to four weeks.

  4. Apply fertilizer to moist soil. Water deeply immediately after adding fertilizer so the fertilizer will be evenly absorbed into the soil around the roots of the plant.

How to Plant Petunias in Containers

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Ideal for in-ground gardens, petunias put on a spectacular show in containers such as window boxes, hanging baskets and larger containers. Petunias require full sun to grow and bloom well, and that means at least six hours of sunlight per day. Petal size and color are available in a wide variety. From grandiflora to multiflora to the trailing Wave petunias, there’s a petunia for every container.

Difficulty: Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Petunias
  • Hanging containers
  • On ground containers
  • Potting soil
  • Garden gloves
  1. 1

    Fill a pot with soil and dampen the soil with water.

    Fill a planting container with potting mix. Water to slightly damped the soil.

  2. 2

    Pick petunias based on color and habit.

    Select petunias based on the colors you’d like as well as their habit. For window box or hanging planters, choose upright and trailing varieties.

  3. 3

    Get the container ready for petunias.

    Dig holes in the containers by hand deep enough to cover the entire root ball.

  4. 4

    Plant trailing petunias on the sides of larger containers.

    Plant the petunias in the holes and cover the roots with soil. When using larger containers, plant upright petunias in the center and trailing petunias on the sides.

  5. 5

    Water the plants until water seeps out the bottom of planters.

    Give the plants water until it seeps out of drainage holes in the bottom of the containers.

How to Grow & Care for Petunias

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Petunias are a brightly-colored annual that does well in both gardens and containers, including pots, window boxes and hanging baskets. They fill the air with their heavy scent and produce large trumpet-shaped blooms. Petunias are fairly easy to grow and care for. Start your petunias from seed indoors and transplant the seedlings outside when it is warm. With a little upkeep, you can keep your petunias blooming from spring to first fall frost.

Difficulty: Moderate

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Large, flat container with a clear plastic lid
  • Peat pots or packs
  • Diluted fertilizer
  1. Fill a flat container, about the size of a cookie sheet, with potting soil or sphagnum moss. Sprinkle the seeds lightly on top of the soil. Mist the soil with water to help the seeds wash into the potting soil. Lightly press the seeds into the soil.

  2. Cover the container with a clear plastic lid and place them in a warm location — about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit — out of direct sunlight. Leave the container in this area until you start to see seedlings emerge, which usually takes about seven to 10 days.

  3. Remove the lid and place the container in a location that is brighter, but cooler — the temperature should be about 65 degrees during the day and between 55 and 65 degrees at night. Place the seedlings 4 to 6 inches below a fluorescent light, for best results. Place the lights on a timer so that the seedlings receive about 16 to 18 hours of light a day. Raise the lights as the petunias grow taller. Mist the soil with water whenever it appears dry.

  4. Transfer the seedlings to individual peat pots or packs when they have three true leaves. Give them diluted fertilizer every two weeks and take them outside during the day to help them get used to the temperature change. Bring them indoors at night.

  5. Transplant the petunias outdoors when the soil is about 60 degrees F and the threat of frost is gone. Choose a location that receives full sun and has well-drained soil. Dig a hole in the ground that is about twice the size of the roots and then completely cover the roots with the soil. Water the plant immediately, then whenever the soil appears to be dry.

  6. Remove dead or faded flowers from your petunias by pinching them off with your fingers. Doing so will encourage new growth.

How to Propagate Double Petunias

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Double petunias are generous flowers that have twice the number of blossoms as a single petunia, which cover the entire plant head. The flower forms resemble carnations. The first double petunia came out of Japan in 1934. Today these hybrid plants come in pink, blue, lavender, purple, red, lilac, white and bi-colors; they have been developed to be as hardy and versatile as single petunias. Plant double petunias in planters, hanging baskets or in your flower bed. You can start them from seed or buy transplants from a nursery. Multiflora, Grandiflora and Floribunda are examples of classes of double petunias.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Double petunia seeds (or transplants)
  • Tray
  • Potting soil
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Clear plastic sheet
  • Pots (2 1/4-inch)
  • Fertilizer
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Garden rake
  1. Purchase double petunia seeds from a local nursery. Ask the staff if they have an instruction sheet for the particular variety of double petunia you will be planting. The sheet may specify the type and amount of fertilizer to apply, specific to your area.

  2. Start seeds indoors 12 weeks before the last frost date. Fill a tray or shallow container with damp potting soil and/or ground sphagnum moss. Spread seeds on the surface of the soil and press on them lightly. Do not bury the seeds. Mist them with water. Place a clear plastic sheet on top to create a greenhouse effect. Place the tray in a location that receives indirect sunlight and has a temperature between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Remove the plastic sheet once the seeds have begun to germinate. Move the tray to a bright spot that receives temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Water as needed so that the soil remains moist, but not water logged.

  4. Transplant the germinations each to their own 2 1/4-inch pot with potting soil and liquid fertilizer when the plants have developed their first true leaves (cotyledons). Keep these pots in the same space as the tray was in. On warm, sunny days, place the pots outside to help them adapt to outdoor conditions. Bring them back inside as the day cools.

  5. Prepare your garden by removing weeds, roots and other debris from the soil. Select a spot that receives full sun, unless you live in a southern region that has extremely hot days. In this case, select a spot that receives partial shade. Work compost into 2 inches of the soil.

  6. Plant your double petunia transplants after the last frost date when the average soil temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant transplants 10 to 12 inches apart. Add the recommended fertilizer every two to three weeks. Water so that the soil remains moist, unless you receive enough rainfall. Surround plants with mulch to prevent weed growth, maintain moisture and to keep the blossoms free of mud.

  7. Dead head (remove) blossoms that have wilted or turned brown. Prune varieties like multifloras and grandifloras, once they have grown 6 inches high, to encourage new growth.

How to Grow Double Petunias

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Petunias are colorful annual flowers that bloom from late spring through fall. Grow them in your garden, planter, or hanging baskets for a variety of options. Double petunias are one petunia variety; they come in a variety of single-colored or variegated hues and provide double petals on their blossoms. Growing double petunia plants requires the proper care and maintenance.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

 

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Double petunia plants
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  1. Provide adequate sunlight. Petunias grow best in full sun, with at least six hours of direct sunlight per day (or more) to thrive. It is possible to grow petunias in partial shade, but they will not flower as fully in these conditions. Plant your petunias in a sunny spot where they will provide the strongest burst of color to your garden.

  2. Prepare the soil. Dig a layer of compost into your soil, approximately 1 to 2 inches deep. Petunias can thrive in almost any soil variety, but prefer well-draining soil.

  3. Plant the petunias. Dig a hole that is as deep as the plants were buried in their nursery pots. Space them 10 inches apart. Spread a layer of mulch over the soil to prevent mud from splattering up onto the petals.

  4. Provide fertilizer. Double petunias like to have plenty of fertilizer, so use a balanced flower fertilizer every two to three weeks on your petunia plants.

  5. Water your double petunias enough to keep the soil moist, especially during periods of drought or high heat. In flower boxes, the soil will dry out more quickly than it does in the ground, so you will have to water more frequently if you plant that way.

How to Plant Double Wave Petunias From Seed

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Double wave petunias are spreading plants that look great in hanging baskets and large planters, where they will tumble and trail over the edges. They are also used as annual ground covers, spreading to cover an area as large as 4 feet. Petunias are challenging to start from seeds, which are very tiny with approximately 250,000 to 300,000 seeds per ounce. They need light to germinate so they can’t be covered with soil. It takes 10 to 12 weeks to grow petunias large enough to transplant outdoors.

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

 

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Flat or tray with drainage holes
  • Potting soil
  • Water
  • Plastic wrap
  • Fluorescent light
  • Light timer
  • Small peat or fiber pots
  • Water-soluble fertilizer

Starting Seeds

  1. Fill the flat or tray with potting soil. Leave 1/2 to 1 inch of space between the top of the soil and the top of the tray. Firm the soil lightly.

  2. Moisten the soil gently so the water doesn’t leave pits on the soil surface.

  3. Spread the double wave petunia seeds sparingly over the top of the soil. Gently tap them onto the surface, but don’t bury them.

  4. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and set it in a bright, warm location. Keep the tray out of direct sunlight, which can cause the soil to overheat. The seeds need temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate, which takes 10 to 12 days, according to the Iowa State University Extension.

  5. Remove the plastic wrap as soon as the seeds germinate. Reduce temperatures to 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

  6. Place the seedlings so the top of their tray is 4 to 6 inches below a fluorescent light. Set a timer so the seedlings receive 16 to 18 hours of light a day. Adjust the height of the light as the seedlings grow, always maintaining a distance of 4 to 6 inches.

  7. Transplant the seedlings into individual peat or fiber pots when they have three true leaves.

Transplanting Into Pots

  1. Fill peat or fiber pots with potting soil to within 1 inch of the top. Soak the pots in water for a few minutes to thoroughly moisten the pot and the soil.

  2. Allow the pots to drain until the soil is moist but not soggy.

  3. Transplant the seedlings into the pots.

  4. Maintain the potted seedlings under the fluorescent light, just as you did when they were in the tray.

  5. Feed the seedlings weekly with diluted fertilizer.