2.24.2011

Petunias, Petunias

If you're anything like me, you've gone to your local nursery or home-improvement store and been astonished at the prices of Wave Petunias. These beautiful, eye-catching plants full of colorful blooms look amazing in flower beds and containers. They are easy to grow (no pruning or deadheading necessary!) and pretty drought tolerant.  However, the hefty price tag isn't so easy on the eyes.  I'm not talking about the regular petunias; we are focusing on Wave Petunias.
There are five sorts to chose from:

  • Double  (double blooms)
    • Spreading   6"- 8" x 18" x 24"
  • Shock 
    • Mounded, Spreading   7" -10" x 30" x 36"
  • Tidal 
    • Spreading, Upright   16" - 22" x 30" - 60"
  • Wave   (groundcover)
    • Spreading   5" - 7" x 36" - 48"
  • Easy Wave
    • Mounded, Spreading 6" - 12" x 30" - 39"

So what to do about the lovely yet super-expensive Wave Petunias you want to pepper your flower beds and pots with?  Grow your own!  Yes, I'm serious.  Don't worry - it's easier than you think.
I will be planting mine in pots on the deck so I chose Easy Wave for a little height and some girth.  I ordered them from Jung Seed Co. for about $5 for 15 pelleted seeds, which is about the cost of one plant in the pretty pink pots at the garden center.  See, friends?  Saving money already!



For the faint of heart - these seeds are small.  Like, really tiny.  But they will produce a killer set of healthy Wave Petunia plants.
Petunias require a surface sow (basically it means don't bury your teeny tiny seed under soil - leave them exposed on the surface of your planting medium) because light, either sunlight or artificial light, is needed for germination.  


Once you get over your inital shock at the size of the seeds (and really, the actual seeds are pelleted so the seed itself is even smaller!), we can move on to planting them.  I use peat pots and organic seed starting mix.  Some gardeners sow 2-3 seeds per pot and then thin them out to leave the strongest remaining.  I prefer to sow one per pot, only becuase I want to be able to plant all 15 plants. 


I realize you can barely see the Wave Petunia seed.  It's there, I promise.  It's the little yellow speck in the middle of the peat pot.  Included in the seed packet were 16 seeds, which evened out nicely my pots.


After placing the seed on the top of the starter mix in each pot, I lightly misted them with warm water.  You may see the pellet disintegrate as it gets wet.  That's totally fine, just don't mist them so hard that they blow away or get covered with soil.




The packet says germination in 10-21 days but my little sprouts popped up after only 5 days.  More updated Petunia photos to come as they grow.




3 comments:

Markus said...

I see you put some pictures of seedlings on your blog. My question has to do with tomatoes. I have planted seed for about seven different varieties of tomatoes and am getting spotty results.

What do tomato seedlings look like after three weeks? Mine look spindly. They have been on a heated mat with artificial light. some came up while some same-seed rows did not.

Shannon Marie said...

It's fine for the tomatoes to look spindly at first, and even up until planting. One thing that might help is to have some source of air circulation around your plants. I have used a floor fan (on low, far away) or even a computer desk fan. The gentle breeze will force the stems to stand more upright to "fight" the air flow. Keep in mind that you will also be planting a good portion of your tomato plant underground when the soil is warm enough outside so you can correct any wayward stems that way. I'm not sure why some seeds germinated and some did not. Are your air temperatures consistent? The seedlings need to be kept at at least 65*-70*, especially after the true leaves appear. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

This is amazing Shannon.It looks very professional and so well written. I want to go out tomorrow and start baking and growing. It's inspirational. LOVE IT. Keep it up!