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New colors in garden petunias

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Petunias are one of the favorite annuals for gardens all around the country. Annuals only last for one season, but they bloom enthusiastically. Petunias can be planted singly but are most impressive when grouped in masses. Their colors make a bold statement and there are some new varieties being introduced that are expanding your choices. Use them in landscape design, fill flower boxes or containers or dangle them from hanging pots. Here are some of the exciting new colors that that have recently become available in garden centers – and a few more you should be seeing in seasons to come.

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In the past few years the black petunia has become popular. The color is a very deep purple that looks like black. Varieties like the ‘Black Velvet Petunia’ and other black cultivars offer a velvety element of mystery to the garden.

This year the plant developer, Suntory, introduced the Variegated Baby Purple ‘Surfinar®’ that sports brilliant pink-purple flowers set off by green and soft yellow foliage. This is a petunia that will add bi-colored effects to the landscape with the combination of flowers and unusual foliage. Also from the same company comes the‘Moonlight Eclipse™’ Petunia with flowers of blended purples with a soft green edge. These artistic tinted blooms smother the lush, rounded growth and make this plant ideal as a bedder or to fill a decorative hanging pot.

Another unusual color soon to break into retail outlets is orange. The orange petunia will add a whole new color range for this annual. It is rich and bright with no darkness or paleness. And it is a color not previously seen in petunias. Look for these colors now and in coming seasons. With the ever growing color choices in this favorite plant, you can paint your garden with an assortment of colors, designs and effects.

Like all annuals, petunias will keep flowering even longer if you keep faded flowers trimmed. This is called dead-heading. Snipping spent blooms keeps the plants from setting seed and dying since they will try to make more flowers for setting seed rather than dying.

Watch out for these new colors in garden centers. Mix and match them with other petunias, or experiment with the newest varieties. The choices get better every year!

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