Petunias are one of the most common bedding plants, and with good reason. They’ll fill your garden beds with brilliant blooms all season long. They’re also very popular for container planting, with some new varieties that have been especially bred for growing in pots and hanging planters.
Potted petunias last from spring to fall. They take 10 to 12 weeks to bloom from germination, but after that slow start their blooming period lasts until fall frosts nip them in the bud.
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How to Care for Potted Petunias?
- Plant petunias in loose, well-draining soil with plenty of well-rotted compost mixed in.
- Set in a spot where they will get a minimum of 6 hours a day of full sun.
- Water whenever the top inch or so of the soil has dried out.
- Feed once a week with a high-phosphorus fertilizer to encourage continuous blooming.
- Deadhead spent flowers to direct the plant’s energy away from setting seeds and towards more blooming instead.
- When the plants get leggy, trim them back to 1/3 the size, fertilizing immediately afterward to reinvigorate their blooming.
Can Petunias Survive the Winter in Pots?
Technically speaking, petunias are perennials, but very tender ones. They have no tolerance for freezing temperatures, so unless you are gardening in zones 9 to 11, they will not survive the winter outdoors in pots.
However, you can bring in potted petunias to keep them alive over the winter. Alternatively, you can take cuttings from your favourite plants and root them up for planting out the following spring. This way, the plants won’t take up too much of your precious indoor growing space.
Potted Petunias Temperature Tolerance?
Petunias will grow best between 65-75°F (18-23°C), although even temperatures above 90°F (32°C) will not be too much for them, as long as they are kept watered. At the other end of the range, while they might survive a very light frost, freezing temperatures will kill these natives of South America. This is why most gardeners grow them as annuals.
Do Potted Petunias Come Back Each Year?
Without protection, petunias will only keep growing for more than one year in sub-tropical or tropical climates.
Even where they don’t succumb to freezing temperatures, however, the lifespan of a petunia plant may be only 2 or 3 years.
However, because they are easy to propagate by rooting cuttings, you can easily keep things going with new plants for many years.
When Should You Plant Petunias in a Pot?
In mid-spring after the risk of frost has passed, plant petunias in loose, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter mixed in. Use a pot with good drainage, because standing in soggy soil will kill petunia plants.
If you are taking cuttings to start new plants, it’s best to do so in the middle of the summer. Stick them in small pots to root them, and bring them inside to overwinter.
How Long Do Potted Petunias Take to Grow?
When grown from seed, potted petunias will take 10 to 12 weeks to bloom. It’s recommended to start them indoors by mid-February to ensure that they’re ready to go when May rolls around.
Most gardeners settle for picking up a flat of petunias at the garden centre in May. There’s always a great selection of varieties and colours available at the start of the planting season.
How Long Will Potted Petunias Last Inside?
Because they are tender perennials, potted petunias can last for a year or more when grown as houseplants. Because of their vining nature, they’re great for growing in hanging baskets in a sunny window.
If things start to die back in the fall, don’t give up on your potted petunia. Like many perennials, petunias usually have a dormant period in the winter when the foliage may disappear. Put the pot in a cool spot and in early spring move it to a sunny location and start watering it again to see if it springs back to life.
Potted petunias may seem too common or cliched for some gardeners, due to their ubiquitous use in suburban gardens and public plantings.
However, they’re used so much with good reason; there are so many different colours and growing habits that there’s the ideal low-maintenance choice for any container gardener!
See how long other potted plants last:
- How Long Does Potted Creeping Jenny Last?
- How Long Do Potted Coleus Last?
- How Long Do Potted Hibiscus Last?
- How Long Do Potted Marigolds Last?
- How Long Do Potted Tomato Plants Last?
- How Long Do Potted Hyacinths Last?
- How Long Do Potted Dracaena Last?
Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.