double wave petunias

donnas_gw(7)July 23, 2006

I have many double wave petunias that are now getting too big and are mostly just lying on the ground, I guess due to their weight and alot of rain recently. Can I pinch these back and start an entire new flush of flowers? If so, how far down should I pinch them off? These petunias are really pretty, but the rain is bad on the flower itself. It just "wilts" the flowers and that means more pinching back :( Thanks.

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Dear Donnas,

I also have had problems with double wave petunias! Mine often become "leggy". I have asked the local nursery and they keep telling me to pinch more and feed. (If I had pinched anymore they would look like a cactus without flowers!) Through trial and error I have decided to use them only in pots where I can control water.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 11:01AM
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Double wave petunias shouldn't be any different care-wise than regular petunias or are they?? I see regular petunias planted in landscapes at the entrance of malls, etc. They are out in the open where they are exposed to the rain. Yet, I've never seen one that was leggy or where the flowers were damaged by the rain. Wonder how they keep their petunias looking so healthy? Must be the gardeners that go and constantly pinch these petunias back??

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 1:33PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

The 'wave' petunias were designed to be nearly care-free, wide-spreading, freely blooming and self-deadheading; that last is a big part of why they are often considered more desirable than most regular petunias. Keeping in mind that these plants are meant to spread out - or down, if in a hanging basket, I have found them to be "leggy" only when given less than their desired amount of sun. According to Ball (their breeder), they require 6 hours of full sun; my experience is that they need closer to 8 hours minimum of *full* sun to maintain their desired appearance. Less sun - partial shade is *not* considered full sun- the more likely they are to stretch their stems and lose their bushiness. Pinching doesn't make up for the lack of light, you just get lots of leggy stems.

Also, they also need regular water - this is not a plant to water only when it's drooping! I add moisturizing pellets to the soil and line their pots with the liners from overnight diapers to help maintain an even water availability, *and* water on alternate days [unless we've had at least an inch of rain]. Because of the water retention measures, I use only a liquid fertilizer at 1/4th strength and only once weekly.

I think Ball's choice of name colors leaves something to be desired (IMHO, Purple Wave is not, no way, purple), but the plants themselves do perform as advertised, or better. That's saying a lot in our area of high humidity and non-stop heat.

Here is a link that might be useful: about wave petunias

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 7:15AM
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Thank you Meldy,
I see now I wasn't feeding them often enough with liquid fertilizer. I was afraid of burning them so I used the slow release. I'm always afraid to use liquid on my deck plants since they get full scorching sun 8 hours a day.
Mine also turned the color of sweet potato plants along with the naked legs...
When I have used them in the front they also became leggy, but only had 5 hours of full sun and 2 of filtered- so the 8 hours explains that.

Diapers huh? I use the water pellets and the containers with water trays and water daily unless we get enough rain. Which is rare. What brand do you get? I haven't changed diapers for 8 years so I'm out of the loop these days!!

Heather on 40

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 9:57AM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Hi, Heather - I started using didies in pots long before I had ever heard of moisturizing pellets, but I think they each have their good points. The pellets are throughout the soil, so more feeder roots reach them during normal growth; and IMO, the swelling and shrinkage process helps keep the soil aerated. The didies hold more (lots more) water, which makes them superb for pots which have a tendency to dry out quickly but not useful for plants with taproots. I buy the very cheapest overnighters when on sale, I think the last bag came from FoodLion, 60 largest-size overnighters for something like $5. I trim off the excess plastic from each side of the pad (this gets rid of the elastic) and then literally line the pot, with the plastic against the pot side, keeping the liner at least an inch below soil level. Fill with the potting soil and add water- I've been known to dunk the whole thing in a bucket and let it soak up overnight. Let the soil drain before planting. After the initial dunking, it takes 2 to 3 cups water per didie per pot if you wait until the soil is dry (that means the didie is dry too, which really isn't a good idea). I've found it easier just to water thoroughly on a pre-set schedule, the didie will soak up any excess water and release it as the soil dries out. A 10" pot with a full-grown maverick star geranium has 2 didies, and is watered about once a week even when sitting in the sun on a south patio; same pot gets water every 20 days during the winter when it's sitting on the inside windowsill. The didies are effective for about 2 years, which is okay since the soil should be refreshed by that time, anyhow :) Larger pots will require more didies, and it's still a bit of a guess as to when to water, but even the largest pots don't seem to need water more than about every third day.

BTW, DH helped last year by transplanting some potted geraniums into a flower bed; he left one didie around the roots, and those plants did far better than the ones without diapers, in spite of both having equal access to spread their roots in the soil. I suspect it would be worthwhile to experiment with didies in the garden to help water-loving plants though our summers - I just keep forgetting to try it!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 11:37AM
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Whoa! What a find!!! You have saved me soooo much.
Every year we go on vacation, I collect ALL the pots, hanging baskets and etc., put them in a shady place, set up a sprinkler on a table with timer, program it, test it and hope when the neighbor comes over to feed the guinea pig and chickens he doesn't breathe wrong or we get a power blip then POOF no more pretty plants.
AMAZING. I guess you know what I'll be doing next year!

Being transplanted from Ohio, that is an awesome idea for impatiens too. (Trying them in the ground) This year is the first year my impatiens look descent, but nothing like I remember grandma's looking. Her's were pillows of color. I'll bet they will love their "Huggies"!!

I am so glad I have found you and this wonderful site!! Will be passing along all information to my flower friends at school too. I'm so excited!!!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 2:48PM
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I am confused. So many posts refer to these petunias as continuous flowering and needing so little care. I have planted wave-type petunias in my flower boxes (face directly west) for 3-4 years. Only last year were they bushy and green and full of flowers. I've never let the soil dry out and use miracle-gro liquid every 2 weeks. They look great until late JUly early August when they become leggy and stems underneath are brown.
These seem to be the same flower used in so many containers along city streets....I see workers watering but I never see anyone "pinching back" yet these city containers are always so full of petunias!!! WHY IS THIS?
I have been using garden shears to cut off the dead flower that the same as "pinching"? Isn't the idea to get rid of the entire flower head to avoid producing seeds so the plant's energy goes toward foliage and flowers? HELP HELP HELP

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 11:25AM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Whether done with your fingers or with shears, removal of spent blossoms is called dead-heading. The Wave family of petunias rarely need to dead-headed because they will drop the finished blossoms without our help. I experimented with a couple pots of Wave this summer, not for dead-heading but just to see how they reacted to being sheared. IMHO, they don't like it. Side-by-side pots, facing south, 10 hours sun, occasional watering, no additional feeding (the soil was rich compost). The sheared plant did show a branching effect, but slowly, and the blossom production was delayed in comparison to non-sheared stems. Interestingly, the few branches formed at the cut stem seemed inclined to being leggy. The unsheared pot made it's own branches and was mostly a very "full" plant with a good quantity of vines. Both pots were affected by the summer heat with a slight reduction in bud formation, but the sheared pot was again slower to make new buds.

Legginess -those stretched out stems- is almost invariably caused by insufficient light. The plant may face west, but if it isn't getting at least 8 hours of *direct* full sunlight, then it isn't getting enough light.

Brown stems are usually a sign of over-watering, which can be aggravated by over-feeding. I don't use miracle gro, but I strongly suggest you read the label carefully and then dilute the suggested amount to at least *half* what the directions call for. In other words, if you are to add a tablespoon of chemical to a gallon of water, instead either add only a 1/2 tablespoon to a gallon or put one tablespoon fertilizer into 2 gallons of water. It is very easy to get a salts buildup from chemical fertilizers and thus you should use plain water to help flush out the salts one or twice between each feeding. Also, let the soil dry out between waterings so that the roots don't rot. While the Wave petunias obtained from Ball are certified disease-free, I think that petunias in general are prone to botrytis rot and mosaic virus which possibly could have been in the pot's soil and thus affected the plants.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:15AM
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I have learned a lot from all of you about double waves...I just need to learn where I can get some...Here in Northern Virginia I call the nurseries and they are either out, don't carry, etc...Is there somewhere on the internet to order them? They are my favorite outdoor plant besides geraniums...Thanks for any help you can give...Nita

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:08AM
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