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Sunday, July 21, 2024 at 11:57 AM

Garden of Edith -- On Petunias

Garden of Edith -- On Petunias
by Edith Isidoro-Mills -- Petunias are popping up in garden centers everywhere this time of year.  The good news is in the right location and with proper care they will grow in Churchill County.  They can also be made to bloom throughout the growing season. If you want petunias, it’s best to purchase them as potted plants that can be transplanted into the garden or in already planted containers such as hanging baskets because the seed germinates slowly. Petunia seed also requires specific conditions that are hard to duplicate in most gardens. If you plan to transplant them into the garden, find a location with protection from winds that will tear the blossoms and where regular watering will not be a problem.  Petunias need sunlight and good drainage. Whether you have sand or clay soil, it’s always a good idea to incorporate organic matter when preparing the soil to plant petunias.  A well balanced, slow release fertilizer will also keep them growing and blooming for the rest of the season. After planting petunias in the garden, a good layer of mulch will help keep the ground moist between applications of water and it will also reduce annual weeds. Petunias are idea for container gardens. If the petunias are already in a hanging basket or pre-planted container garden, you need not transplant them.  However, don’t forget to regularly check the potting soil in the pot for moisture and keep it moist but not soggy. Containerized gardens need more frequent watering and fertilizing.  This is especially true if you plant multiple plants in a small container. So place the container garden in a location that is convenient for this type of regular care.  Also, don't forget to place the container garden in a sunny location.  If the Some of the trailing varieties of petunias actually look better if planted in hanging baskets or in planters so the stems can spill over the sides.  Look for a spot on the porch or a planter box that gets at least a half day of sunlight. Whether planted in the garden of in a container all petunias need spent flowers removed to keep the plants blooming all season.  Stems that become leggy can be cut back to revitalized the rest of the plant.  Sometimes these tasks can become unpleasant because petunias have very sticky stems.  This unpleasantness can be overcome by using clippers and wearing garden gloves. The main pests to watch for on petunias in our climate are aphids which in small numbers can be controlled by hosing them off.  If the aphids are found in large numbers they are probably also a problem on other plants and the introduction of lady bugs or predator insects will be more effective over time.   Never miss a meeting or community event – keep an eye on the community calendar at https://www.thefallonpost.org/events/ If you like what we’re doing, please support our effort to provide local, independent news and contribute to The Fallon Post, your online news source for all things Fallon.