Need advise on what to do with this year's petunia

toffee1December 4, 2010

I planted a stretch of petunia about 30' x 3' this spring. They colored by bed nicely and even now still have lots of blooms. Now that rainy season is starting and weather getting colder, what to do with them?

Should I leave them be, wait until they completely die down then amend and mulch the area for next year's planting? or just mulch on top of them now? They can't survive our winter, can they? Do they self seed or they are sterile due to hybridizing?

Thanks for helping.

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Babka NorCal 9b

Pull them out and plant pansies. A professional landscaper told me once to put out my summer annuals around Labor Day and get the cooler ones in so that that can get a good foothold before it turned colder. That is a tough thing to do when the impatiens are going so strong in September, but I think he was right on... Hybrids don't come true from seeds. Dig 'em up.

-Babka

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 12:48AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Petunias in a protected spot can sometimes survive our winters, but with the cold we've already had as early as late November, I wouldn't have much confidence that this is the winter to try and overwinter them. Petunias overwinter best if you don't get much frost, and they have some overhead protection from the worst of the winter rains and cold. There is definite truth to the fact that winter blooming annuals will give a better show if planted out while the weather is still warm, but I would suggest that if you are planting in full sun and from cell packs or 4 inch size, you could get a good show of fall winter color by planting new annuals as late as first week of October.

I usually replace summer impatiens, another warm season annual, with blooming cyclamen about the end of October or mid November, and from 4 inch size, there is no lapse of color at all. If you want instant gratification and lots of color immediately, I'd suggest that Cyclamen can't be beat; but pansies, primroses, Iceland poppies,stock, calendulas, ornamental Kale are all good as well.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:44AM
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sautesmom

We had frosts last November down to 28-29 degrees, and my store-bought petunias are still kickin', even flowering. (I did not even protect them!)

I also have California native petunias I started from seed still going strong, and I planted them in 2008, I think. I trim them off in spring, and away they go again just as beautiful as the year before. I have even moved them 3 times.

If you don't need the space--just leave them be, and see what happens!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 5:24PM
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calistoga_al

It is possible to get 3 or 4 good years from summer perennials, if you are willing to dig them and plant them in protected holding beds over winter. It is work but it saves you starting new plants that often look wimpy the first year. I recently cut down and removed Monarda in preparation for tulip planting. I have plastic trays made by Bonacare sp? three feet by five feet, popular in the marijuana growing industry that serve as holding areas. One tray has primroses from last year that will soon replace snapdragons. Al

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 8:29AM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

I usually take out summer annuals and put in winter annuals. This summer I hit a great pot sale so I have enough pots that I can start my winter annuals early without murdering summer plants. I am very impressed with petunias. They can take the frost. I am not certain that they will hold up in the damp wet soil for weeks because they like it on the dry side. I did steal one 20" pot and the root ball to the petunia held together and is doing just fine. You have to look close to see it is naked. My plan is to nurse a few of the expensive vegetative petunias that I love through the winters from now on. I have a few protected spots in winter sun. If your petunias are getting winter sun I am sure that they will make it. You will have to chose between amending the soil and the petunias. Mulching will smother and kill them. December 21 the sun turns and starts it's slow trip back up into our sky. At this late date at least leave some of the petunias to find out what happens. Don't miss out on the winter annuals either, I have to have it all. Vegetative petunias are sterile, hybrids don't come true from seed but all are tender perennials that will live if the roots don't rot in the too wet soil.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:25AM
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toffee1

Interesting, sounded like over winter isn't totally impossible. I am biting and will try to do that. What's the best approach?

1. Build a plastic sheet cover or so? like a mini green house or what farmers do to protect them crop? How do I water them, the current sprinklers sure can't reach them anymore.

2. What about the weed, once covered, kind of hard to get to those also.

3. Should I cut them down some before the cover?

4. should I mulch them instead of plastic sheets?

5. i assume no fert, right? and fert in spring ?

Other suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 1:55PM
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