How to Grow Common Garden Petunia (Petunia Hybrida)

Views: 19473 | Last Update: 2009-04-30
Common garden petunias, or petunia hybrida, are plants that are great for hanging baskets or outdoor gardens. Wait to cut garden petunias until they are done blooming with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video series on flower... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment, we're going to learn all about how to grow the common garden petunia. Petunias are such a beautiful plant and hanging baskets or in the garden, and they're actually really easy to grow. But to discover the best place to plant them, let's find out where they're native. So the petunias are native to the Southern part of the United States, all the way into Mexico and parts of South America, and they're even found in Florida. And they are very much related to tobacco. In fact, the petunia hybrida, petun, P-E-T-U-N, means tobacco in the South. So petunias are related to tobacco or nicotiana. So they have a narcotic effect, and they're very fragrant. And they are also related to potatoes, which is...fascinates me as well. So they really became popular in the mid-19th century because they really weren't found the Europeans and used by the Europeans until that time, and they can only be grown by seed. So they die back every winter, and there's no sign of them, and then all of a sudden, they'll come back and grow again the next year. So they grow naturally in zones nine through eleven. So they cannot handle any freeze at all. But if you live in a colder climate, you can have them bloom out all summer. I know these look really ratty at this time, but it's the end of November, and we're just starting to have our freeze here in the Northwest. And they're still blooming, so I hate to cut them back until they're done blooming. I even cut them back down and leave them in the greenhouse and just leave them on the dry side until spring. And a few times, I've had them survive the winter in my greenhouse, so that's always very exciting when that happens. But if I lose them, I just sprinkle some seeds in them in the spring. I wait 'til even April, May, whenever it's at least 50 and above at all times to start them because they don't want to get frozen at all. You'll lose them right away. They don't like wet soil, either. They like to be watered, but they kind of want to dry out in between. And an easy trick with petunias is just chop them back as they look ratty. And I've already chopped this back once this year. I chopped it down as it was looking ratty, and it grew all this new, lush growth again for the end of summer. And at the end of the summer, I will cut it back again, and hopefully, it'll make it over the winter. As I said, if not, it doesn't matter. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous hanging basket or garden plant.