Varieties of Petunias get bigger and brighter and bolder. The modern hybrids bear showy, funnel-shapedon top of the sticky , a dazzling sight when the sun is shining but a sorry one in prolonged wet weather. An excellent bedding plant, of course, but also very useful for window boxes, containers and hanging baskets. Cut back the stems if they become too straggly – dead-head regularly.
VARIETIES: Buy an F1 hybrid of P. hybrida for bedding – there are four. The Multifloras bear large numbers of 2 in. flowers – ‘Resisto’stands up well to wind and rain. Many colours are available – ‘Apple Blossom’, ‘Red Satin’, ‘Starfire’ (red and white stripes), etc. The Double Multifloras also bear 2 in. flowers but they have many petals and look like – ‘Cherry Tart’ (rose and white) is a good example. The Granditloras have fewer flowers but the blooms are larger, 3-4 in. across, and they are more susceptible to rain damage.’Cascade’is the popular mixture, but thereare many single and bi-colour varieties – ‘Blue Frost’, ‘Red Cloud’ and the blue-and-white striped ‘Telstar’. The Double Grandifloras are the showiest group of all – huge, ruffled blooms in a wide range of colours. Look for ‘Bouquet’, ‘Pan American Double’ and ‘White Swan’.
SITE AND SOIL: Any reasonable garden soil will do – choose a sunny site.
PLANT DETAILS: Height 6 in.-1.5 ft.
Spacing: 6in.-1 ft.
Flowering period: June-October.
PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique . Plant out when the danger of frost is past.
Flowering period: for nearly alland lies somewhere between the beginning of June and the end of October. However, by careful selection you can have flowers in the bed or border almost all year round. For each month there is a list of annuals and biennials which can be expected to be in full bloom – remember that some of these plants may come into flower earlier and can continue to bloom for many weeks afterwards.