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Container gardening: Petunias

Petunias are a wonderful container plant.
Petunias are a wonderful container plant.

Spring is in full bloom in South Carolina, but many are waiting for that last dreaded frost. Container gardening is great way to start introducing blooms and color to your yard, and can be moved in if that frost sneaks up on you. If you live in South Carolina and would like to get more information on gardening in South Carolina, visit: Gardening in South Carolina for more information.

What makes Petunias such a great container plant?
While all types of petunias are great for window boxes and planters, the double flowered ones are best used in containers rather than in beds. Cascading petunias are ideal for hanging baskets. Whatever the type of petunia chosen, plant 3 seedlings per 10-inch basket. Space seedlings about 10 inches apart in a window box or planter. Petunias are moderately easy to grow from seed, and extremely easy to grow from commercially grown seedlings.

Bloom Period:
Repeat blooms throughout the summer. Some varieties will require frequent deadheading and some pruning back to continue setting flower buds. Extreme heat can cause petunia plants to stop setting flowers until the temperature drops.

Diseases and Insects:
Petunias are relatively free of disease and insect pests. Damping-off can be a serious disease problem, however, rotting the seeds during germination or killing the seedlings after emergence. Good sanitation practices and maintenance of proper moisture and temperature levels can minimize damping-off disease.

Highly recommended:
Pink Wave Petunias. If Wave petunias are grown in the manner recommended and are to be grown in full sun (minimum five to six hours each day) they will not require pinching back, which makes them easier to care for. Petunias must be watered regularly and fertilized with either liquid or slow release fertilizer every 10 to 14 days.