No doubt 2018 will go down as the Summer of Love in the garden. Oh, it’s not like the “Summer of ’42” or the Greek romance “Summer Lovers,” but it’s the year petunias started giving us that loving feeling.
To be exact, the trend probably started a little earlier, but it hit the market with the proverbial crescendo this year. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I am talking petunias with hearts.
When I first saw Proven Winner’s Surfinia Heartbeat, I was simply amazed. I thought to myself, how did they get a white petunia with pink hearts? I also thought it the ultimate Valentine’s gift.
Heartbeat is not any old petunia; it is a Surfinia, reaching 12 inches tall and spreading 16 inches. It is perfect for basket or container mono-culture or combined in mixed containers like you would a petunia with a stripe or a blast.
The hearts kept coming, however, with Lovie Dovie. This is also a Proven Winners plant, but in this case, it is a Supertunia. They call it a pink and white stripe, but you will see white hearts all summer.
The pink is rich and vibrant, showcasing the white heart, and they have bloomed all summer in Columbus.
Lovie Dovie will reach 12 inches tall with that vigorous spread of 24-plus inches to which you are accustomed to Supertunias. In Columbus, they were partnered in hanging baskets with mandevillas and mixed containers with Golden Delicious pineapple sage.
The most riveting in color, however, may come from Amore Queen of Hearts from Danziger, a company in Israel. There is actually an Amore series of different colors, but the Queen of Hearts is simply breathtaking.
The hearts in this petunia are a deep crimson red against a backdrop of cream. The petunias have held up superbly through a long, hot, humid summer, reaching 12 inches tall and a spread of 12 to 24 inches.
These petunias will give you their hearts if you select a site in full sun.
As good as these new petunias are, don’t expect wonderful success without proper bed preparation. Take the time to work in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till to a depth of about 8 inches.
As you do this, add about 2 pounds of a slow-release fertilizer per 100 square feet. I prefer a 12-6-6 formula with minor nutrients, but that’s just me.
The petunias will never know the difference if it’s something close or balanced but do use a slow-release form of nitrogen. It’s a good idea to give them a light application of fertilizer about once a month during the growing season.
More than likely, you’ll be growing these in baskets or mixed planters. These will need to be fed regularly because as you apply water frequently, each dose leaches out nutrients. I like to use a diluted, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks.
You will really be amazed to see the new shoots that will initiate if you maintain your fertilization program.
Don’t be afraid to cut your petunias back. You will often find that cutting back and adding a little fertilizer helps them survive August and look wonderful through the fall.
These new petunias are so packed with flowers that they definitely can dazzle all on their own. On the other hand, there are an almost limitless number of companions to consider, including solid colors of petunias.
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