Growing Petunias:
How to Grow Petunias Organically

Growing petunias gives the flower gardener velvety, colorful blooms from spring to fall. And petunias are amazingly versatile. Their compact and trailing varieties come in wonderful colors with single and multiple flowers. They can fit any blooming pattern or garden color scheme, plus they’re easy to grow!

Growing Petunias: Plant Snapshot

Growing Petunias
  • Petunia (Petunia)
  • Annual or perennial? Perennials, but usually treated as annuals
  • Recommended varieties (by color):
    • Blue: ‘Blue Daddy’
    • Pink: ‘Heavenly Lavender’, ‘Pink Wave’, ‘Lavender Storm’, ‘Rose Vein Velvet’
    • Purple: Surfinia purple, ‘Dreams Midnight Blue’, ‘Double Cascade Blue’
    • Red: ‘Mirage Red’
    • Salmon: ‘Salmon Velvet’
    • White: Surfinia white, ‘Mirage White’
    • Yellow: ‘Fanfare Yellow’, ‘Limoncello’, ‘Prism Sunshine’
    • Black & yellow: ‘Phantom’
    • Pink & white, with a yellow centre: Fantasy Pink Morn
    • White & purple: ‘Purple Pirouette’
  • Recommended USDA Hardiness zones: 10 to 11
  • Mature Height: 9 to 16 inches (23 to 40 cm)
  • Mature Spread: 12 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm)
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Blooming season: Late spring, early, mid and late summer, early fall
  • Cold tolerance: Half-Hardy - can tolerate cold, wet, damp weather but can be damaged or killed by frost.
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Growing Petunias: Planting Petunia Seed, Transplanting and/or Root Division

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

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It’s best to sow petunia seeds indoors as it will take about ten weeks to have plants that you can position outside. Fill a tray with sieved garden compost or an organic nutrient-rich seed starting mix. Water it very lightly. Sow the small petunia seeds on top of the compost and press in slightly. Cover with plastic and place in a light place that does not have strong direct sunlight. Once plants have germinated, prick out into individual modules. Harden off as frosts end, then transplant into your garden.

For maximum flowers, petunias need lots of light. Prepare the soil for transplanting petunias by adding organic matter such as leaf mold or well-rotted farmyard manure. Fork this into the soil at least a week before planting. Make sure plants don’t dry out as they establish.

Although some petunias are perennials, they are usually grown as annuals. Plants can be overwintered in cold frames but they tend not to thrive the following year.

Snapshot: Planting Petunia Flowers

  • Germination soil temperature: 70 degrees F (21 C)
  • Distance between plants: about 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Planting depth: Match depth in pot
  • Days to germination: 5 to 10 days
  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6.5 to 7
  • Root division information (perennials only):
    • Root system type (clumping, spreading, rhizome or tuber): clumping
    • Roots division frequency: Not suitable for division
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Caring for Petunias

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

For effectice, healthy and/or well-rounded options, click the following links...

Standard flower watering guidelines apply for petunias planted in the ground. But if you’ve made displays in baskets or plant pouches, they’ll need more watering. In hot periods this could be daily.

Once they’re flowering they need a weekly feed of organic tomato fertilizer (if you use liquid tomato fertilizer, add it to water before applying).

Deadhead flowers regularly to keep them in bloom.

Snapshot: Petunia Care

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Growing Petunias: Harvesting/Cutting Time

Petunias have short stems, so they are not the most effective cut flower. However, as cutting flowers increases the number of future blooms, it’s worth experimenting with them. Cut with sharp pruners and add to small displays in flower rings or vases.

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Growing Petunias: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Petunia Flowers (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...

Pests

  • Cyclamen mite
  • Foliage-feeding caterpillars
  • Leafminers
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips

Diseases

  • Aster yellows
  • Crown and root rot
  • Fasciation
  • Gray mold
  • Powdery mildew
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Virus
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Petunias

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