Petunias seem to be a staple for every spring and summer garden. However, it seems as though they start to look a little worse for wear by the time the hot temperatures of summer arrive. Hopefully, you don’t choose to give up on them at this time. It takes very little effort to get these beauties looking as good as they did in early June. Petunias need 3 basic things to look great all season.
Petunias need light. At least 6 hours per day will usually keep them looking fabulous. They will do okay with a little less or a little more, but ultimately 6 is the magic number. If you are going to plant them in containers a little less light might be a bit better due to water evaporation and consumption. The more sun that your petunias receive, the stronger the plants grow, and the more blooms they will produce. If you notice that your petunias are not growing but look healthy otherwise, chances are they are not getting quite enough light.
Your petunias require consistency when it comes to water. Parts of the summer will be dry and you may have to water them twice a day, especially if they are in containers. Then, on the other hand, it may be the rainy season. Since you can’t control the weather you need to step back on your watering. You may even need to skip a couple of days. The secret is not to let them dry out and not to let them stay soggy. If your soil is dry down to your first knuckle, it is time to water. On the flip side, if the top of the soil is wet, hold off another day or till later in the evening.
Petunias tend to be very hungry flowers. Be sure to keep them fed well. If your petunias are getting ample light and water, but they stop blooming, then they are hungry. Like a hungry teen, if you don’t feed them, they get lazy and pouty. If you use a water-soluble fertilizer, you will need to feed them weekly. However, if it receives heavy rain, you may need to do it again as the rain probably washed it away. Time-released fertilizer is usually a good choice as it will fertilize for about a month or more. Again, if there is heavy rain it may not last as long. Do not be fooled, if you still see granules of time-released fertilizer that doesn’t mean all is ok. Mash the fertilizer pellets to see if they are still firm with fertilizer in them or mushy and the fertilizer is gone. Check your plants to see that they are growing, blooming, and looking healthy. If they start to decline, you may want to fertilize again.
Plant early, but not too early. If you notice that they look a bit needy about halfway through the summer and the stems near the soil look like they are dying, it may be time to trim them. Yes… I said trim them. You can cut them back by almost half and they will begin to rejuvenate. Before you know it they will look like they have been freshly planted or potted. And that, my friends, is how to keep your petunias looking great all summer.