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Root Rot & Wave Petunias

By Sarah Lariviere ; Updated September 21, 2017
Wave petunias bloom prolifically when they are disease-free.

Wave petunias provide a tremendous display of colorful blooms in your garden all season long. But when root rot attacks, petunias dry and wilt. Learn about root rot and wave petunias to prevent disease and ensure a colorful show.


Wave petunias are known as vivid ground covers and container favorites. They are usually grown as an annual. Root rot is a pathogen that may come with plants from the greenhouse. It is usually the result of overwatering. There is no treatment for root rot. Yellowish leaves and droopy flowers may indicate its presence. Root rot is more common in houseplants than in outdoor plants.


Prevent root rot in wave petunias by selecting healthy plants from the nursery. Avoid petunias that look wilted or yellow. Root rot is lethal and can spread. Adding petunias to your garden that may be afflicted with the disease will not only disappoint, but the root rot pathogen may kill other flowers. If root rot is killing your wave petunias, remove all damaged plants and destroy them. Do not add them to your compost pile, where the pathogen can spread.


Although root rot is often caused by overwatering, allowing plants to dry out will not eliminate the disease once it has taken hold. However, if you remove and destroy afflicted plants and do not overwater those that were located nearby, any pathogen that has spread to living plants will have difficulty flourishing.


When choosing wave petunias, consider the appearance of the plants you select. Consider only brightly colored, strong-looking selections. Plant in locations where wave petunias will receive adequate water, but not too much water. Do not overwater plants.

Time Frame

Wave petunias are annuals that are available from the early spring to late summer in most locations. Planting wave petunias can ensure bright spots of color in your garden that spread throughout the season. Root rot can take hold after any rainy spell, or overzealous watering. If plants have been overwatered, watch them closely as they dry out. If you see evidence of root rot, remove and destroy afflicted selections immediately, and err on the side of keeping still-healthy plants dry.


About the Author


Sarah Lariviere's debut novel The Bad Kid (Simon & Schuster) is a 2017 Edgar Award finalist. She has taken college courses in landscape design and permaculture, and is an avid gardener.