Leggy petunias

nancyab(06033)July 29, 2005

Hi all.

I am doing something dreadfully wrong with my baskets of petunias. Every single year without fail, the stems underneath the top layer get brown leaves and then become extremely leggy. I water them daily in the morning, I use Osmocote, and they are all in spots where they get a good amount of sun. I see some of the municipal baskets with long luxuriant petunia plants that look three feet long and healthy as can be. Anyone have ideas?

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siennact

There are different kinds of petunias. I bought the plain old garden variety (ha ha, I'm funny) petunias and they do get leggy around now. I took the shears to them and clipped them to about 6" long, then fertilized. Within about 5 days they were in full bloom and looking much better.

I'd also like to hear about the other varieties of petunias though, the ones that are better for hanging baskets.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 7:47AM
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johnCT(Z6 CT)

I am having the exact same problem. So pruning them a little does help?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 9:21AM
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DorothyA(z4 VT)

Mark Cullen suggests cutting 1/3 of the stems back to the edge of the pot every 10 days or so. You'll always have longer trailing stems that way, and you'll also have shorter shrubbier plants to fill the top of the pot. Your plant will also never look like it's just had a haircut.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 11:07AM
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nancyab(06033)

That sounds like a good idea! I've been having to shear them back all the way and it takes weeks to start looking good again. I will say that the wave petunias seem to fair better. They don't seem to be getting leggy. My husband grew some from seed and they are quite prolific. I will try the other method on my "regular" petunias. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 2:37PM
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chelone

Look at your stems. Look at the structures that support the flowers. When the flower goes by, the little green thing left behind develops the seeds for the next generation.

I don't care what they say. NO petunia is "care-free". You have to "dead head" (cut the little stems that supports the flower OFF) to guarantee neat plants that flower profusely and don't give that... lonely single flower at the very end of the stem!

Feed your petunias every time you water; they're annuals and are little nitrogen junkies. The more you give 'em the more they'll flower.

And work back from the newest blossom... cut off every single blossom support stem you find. When you've done that, cut off the very end blossom. You will have petunias that will grow new flower structures from where you pinched them. Nipping off the newest blossom forces the plant to rethink its stategy, grow new blossoms, and it will begin to "fire" back along the main stem.

If your plant is multi-stemmed (4-5) you could also cut 2-3 main stems back by 50%... you will have fuller lusher plants, but it takes GUTS and trust...

It's up to YOU.

:) I LOVE petunias; but prefer the old-fashioned "Cascades" that smelled nice, required "work", and are rarely available nowadays.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 6:40PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

I just happened to stumble on a post in the Annuals forum about "best performing Petunia" and was introduced to this luscious sounding petunia: Petunia Dolce Flambe

Here is a link that might be useful: park's seed Petunia Dolce Flambe

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 11:16PM
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nancyab(06033)

Thanks Chelone. So many great tips on petunias. I never knew that you had to pinch off the little stems. All I've ever done is pull the spent bloom out. I'm eager to try this method. Wendy, those new Italian petunias are just gorgeous! I will try to get some seeds.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 9:46AM
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fall-creek(6)

Hi Nancy, my sister had the same problem. She thought her petunias just couldn't take the heat this summer, so she yanked hers out and pitched them! I live in an area also suffering from the drought/heat and when mine started to look leggy, I cut them back to where they hung over the edge of the pot only an inch or two...then I watered them daily with a bloom boosting fertilizer. It only took a few days for them to start blooming again and they look lush and colorful! They just need to be 'rejuvenated'!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 12:57AM
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