I cant keep my potted petunias from dying! Help!

sandyman720(NJ)June 23, 2010

I have 2 pots on my front porch of Petunias. They are the trailing kind which hang over the side. They get full sun from noon-dark.

I have to water them every night and they are still dying off.

It has been 85+ deg here for a while now with the last couple days in the 90's.

Any suggestions?

The pots were expensive and I would hate to loose them after only a month?

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oilpainter(3)

Too much water. Your pots may look dry but I'll bet there's plenty of moisture below especially if they're of any size. Cut back on the water.Petunias don't like to be kept constantly wet.

A plant will recover in a few hours from a wilt from lack of water but it is sure death if you overwater.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 1:07AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

How jam-packed are the pots? Problem with buying those lush, gorgeous full pots in May is that after a month or so they peter out because there is just no room for root growth.

You could try to divide the plantings, re-planting half in the pots and filling with good potting soil and fertilizing. It should perk up, but problem is it will probably take a couple weeks to perk up - not the best option during high summer when you want those prime displays.

Other than that, no suggestions for you, really, other than save the containers and make your own plantings next year (no, I'm not being humorous, I'm dead serious - you'll save *a lot* of money by DIY on planters once you invest in planters/pots you like, and because you won't over-stuff them the plants will thrive the whole season).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 3:18PM
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juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl

Providing your pots have drainage holes, then also check to make sure that your plants have enough water. When some potting soils dry out, it becomes challenging to wet them again. You can pour a generous amount of water into the pot, it will drain out, and yet the soil will be bone dry.

After you water, stick a finger down into the soil. Is the soil wet? If not, then the best method I've found to get your potted plant to accept water is to sink the pot into another filled with water. Let it sit in the water. The water will slowly be absorbed by the dried out potting soil and your plant will perk up.

When the soil is finally wet, then be sure to let the pot drain thoroughly because, as Oilpainter said, petunias don't want too much of a good thing (water) either.

Don't do this if your petunia pot has NO drainage holes.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:40PM
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rozilla(z9LA)

I have gardening success with roses and all kinds of annuals, but petunias baffle me. They aren't supposed to require master gardener status to grow, but every year I say, "No more!" and then there they are at the garden center and here we go again. They will do one of two things. They will die or they will be gorgeous all summer. I treat them all the same. I dunno, I dunno, I dunno. I gave up on putting them in the ground, now just have them in many pots in either absolutely lush form or shriveling up and dying form. And next year I won't buy petunias (uh huh).

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 4:08PM
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lovetogarden(z4 NY)

Whenever I baby petunias I get the same result - dead plants. Petunias seem to do best being neglected. By the end of July they are petering out, I cut them all back to short stems with a few leaves and within a few weeks they are lush again. Don't pamper the petunias.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 7:32PM
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mzdee(6b)

And they are greedy plants. Plant food is a requirement for these guys. I toss on a bit of milorganite and move on to other things. My petunias from last year reseeded. They were purple wave and now they are purple and white blooms. How cool is that?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:45PM
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lelia(Northern Cal)

I love petunias and grow them every year. One thing that causes some of my potted petunias to decline is outgrowing their pots and becoming too root bound. You could cut them back on top and give the roots a trim to rejuvenate them if that's the case with you.

Also, petunias don't like prolonged heat. Several days in the 90's, ok, but weeks of 90ú-ish heat will cause them to lose their vigor. Since they're in pots, if you could move them to a shadier location mid-afternoon, they may improve if temperatures remain that hot. Here on the west coast at 1000' we don't generally get really hot summers, and petunias, given enough room, run amok.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Chris_MI(z5 MI)

I have grown wave petunias in pots on my front porch for over 10 years. I had 2 large urns (about 16" across top) that had no holes in the bottom, so I converted them into self watering pots, (took about 30 minutes). I inserted old black tree pots into the urns, and made the appropriate wicking tubes, air holes, supports etc (minus the fill tube), and drilled the overflow hole in the urn. I add osmocote fertilizer once in the beginning 5/22 and then 1/2 strength on July 30. I water them every 3 days by just watering the soil until my pail is empty, & hear the water dripping into the resevoir. Even if it has rained, I water those containers. Those 3 wave petunia and one grass grow well, and overflow those urns hanging down about 2 1/2 feet. So while the soil remains wet, it is not saturated. You can do the same thing with two 5 gallon pails. Directions are on 'container gardens' forum. Mine get full sun from 11am to 6pm.
Those self watering containers kept my plants happy while I was recently in the hospital and no one was watering them.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 9:26AM
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kitteh(6 ohio)

My potted ones started doing bad once the sun got too hot, unless they only got part sun. I always add mulch into potted plants too even if you can't see it, they dry out fast in the sun. Even the shady ones dry out fast.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 4:03PM
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PattyW16(8)

Last year all I could get to grow were petunias! They were magnificent in a garden around a small tree with Varigated ginger and hydrangeas in the background. Those petunias were so showy that people would turn in my driveway just to see what they were! This year, same bed, same petunias--every single one on the E side of the tree died. W side ok, but nothing to write home about! Replanted the E side and they all died again! Now I'm in a quandry, do I replant with petunias or go for lopsided and plant something else? I have also had LOTS of petunias that I planted in pots die. In fact the only ones that have lived are some I grew from seed and those that survived the winter and are last year's crop! So, what's up with the tunias this year?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 5:35PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

as i understand it ...

you bought these pre-planted ... which to me means OVER planted ... for fast sale and immediate gratification ...

if they are flopping every night after being in the blistering sun during the high heat of the day ...

that means the roots are too jammed in what little potting media there is ... there isnt enough media.. to hold the water they need

the ONLY solution.. FOR NEXT YEAR ... is bigger permanent pots ... with enough media ... to sustain the plants for the season ... and just enough plants to grow in such ....

but you will have to wait a month or two.. for them to fill up the pot ...

i would bet my shiny nickle... if you took the pot apart.. and tipped out the root mass.. you would be hard pressed to find any media.. to hold water.. for the whole day ...

these pots need to go in shade.. during the heat of the day.. and you will probably find.. that they can actually making it thru the day ... without looking like a bunch of wilted cut flowers ...

yes.. i know.. that defeats the purpose you bought them for...

but them dying does also ... put them in the patio in the yard in the shade.. and you can enjoy them for the rest of summer ...

ken

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 6:33PM
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