Petunia passion

Petunia Cameo

Neil Fisher

August is always the start to the best time of the year.

As our gardens come out of hibernation with new flushes of foliage or budding in preparation for Spring blooms.

Then there are the trailblazers of the Winter garden like the Petunia, one of my favourite flowering plants.

During Winter when most plants are shivering in the cold, like us gardeners, the Petunias are brightening the coldest days.

Then in the warm months of the year, the Petunia flower always looks to be one of the prettiest of all annual plants.

The Petunia has come a long way from when it was just known as the Sun Weed.

With many years of skill, plant breeders have developed thousands of sizes and shapes in the flowering annual Petunias.

Flowers’ colour, fragrance, and double or single nature are all part of the new hybrids available to gardeners these days.

Optimum weather conditions at the moment mean this could be the best time to brighten up your garden with the kaleidoscope of colours available.

When planting Petunias, always try to prepare your flower bed sunny and well-lit, with a well-drained, sandy loam that has a reasonable quantity of vegetable matter mixed in with it.

Use a complete garden fertiliser, one that has a small quantity of nitrogen and is rich in phosphorous, mixed in with your garden soil; then I would use a soluble liquid fertiliser every two to three weeks to maintain flowering.

I would suggest to not fertilise any more regularly than this as all you could get is leafy plants and no flowers.

Remember, after planting, to water well, and then use moderate watering regularly.

If possible, try to mulch around the Petunias as this will always reduce your usage of water.

VARIETIES TO LOOK FOR

When you go into a nursery or hardware store looking for Petunias for the garden you will find dozens of varieties or even mixed varieties.

It can be very confusing so below are some of the toughest, almost impossible to kill Petunia varieties for Central Queensland.

Petunia Bobby Dazzler is an old favourite with many gardeners and was the Flower of the Year in 1970.

This Petunia has a long flowering season with masses of medium-sized flowers in a wide range of bright colours.

Petunia Cameo would be one of the best Petunias for pots and hanging baskets, as well as a bushy plant for the garden.

It produces exceptionally large, fully double flowers, resembling a geranium flower that is available in a mixture of colours.

Petunia Petticoat is a popular annual with excellent garden performance that was Flower of the Year 1982.

The Petticoat Petunias have eye-catching bold colours of red or purple throats with a white edge or skirt.

Petunia Mirage makes an impressive display in mass plantings and gardens all year round, with beautiful blooms of pink, purple, red, salmon, watermelon, white and yellow.

Petunia Mirage is suitable for a wide range of conditions from coastal gardens to western frost-free gardens.

Petunia Potunia is a unique breed of petunia that has a large rounded habit growing up to 1m across.

Petunia Potunia’s have distinctive, vivid flower colours like blue, papaya, pink, purple, strawberry, red, white and yellow.

Potunia petunia will tolerate wide climate conditions from the cold and heat of the west to the humidity of the coast.

Petunia Songbird is a collection of compact, bushy plants with large, lightly ruffled flowers.

Unlike other large flowering Petunias, they have an excellent weather tolerance and recover quickly after heavy rain.

Songbird will fill your garden with masses of blooms, in a large variety of colours, such as deep blue, crimson, white, pink, rainbow, rose, burgundy, yellow, orange, and blue ice.

In a pot or in the garden this Petunia would make a unique and eye-catching display.