Petunias are popular garden flowers that are colorful and inexpensive. Unfortunately, the blooms tend to wilt and die more quickly than you might expect. When this happens, you need to deadhead the petunias.
If you see withered or dead (also called “spent”) flowers, you should deadhead your petunias. Get a pair of scissors or shears and remove the dead flowers by cutting the stem at the flower base. Take off all parts of each flower, but leave on part of the stem. Only deadhead your petunias a maximum of once per week.
Table of Contents
- Why Should You Deadhead Petunias?
- When Should You Deadhead Petunias?
- How To Deadhead Petunias
- What are Petunias?
- How to Plant Petunias
- Caring for Petunias
- How to Keep Petunias Blooming
- How to Protect Petunias
- Related Questions
Why Should You Deadhead Petunias?
When old blooms naturally fall off, the plant is able to use its energy to generate seed pods. Seed pods are filled with seeds. Deadheading petunias means that you speed up this process and don’t have to look at unattractive, wilted flowers.
After you deadhead the old blooms, your plants will be able to grow new seed pods. It will produce more flowers.
When Should You Deadhead Petunias?
You should periodically deadhead your petunias during the entire time they are in bloom. Petunias are usually in bloom from late spring to the fall. Deadhead your petunias whenever there are dead blooms, a maximum of once a week.
How To Deadhead Petunias
You should follow certain steps to deadhead your petunias.
Step 1. Identify wilted blooms
Find withered or dead flowers on your plant. Regularly examine your plant and find any withered or dead flowers. These need to be removed with deadheading.
Step 2. Grab scissors or pruning shears
Use a pair of scissors or pruning shears to remove the dead flowers. Do this by cutting at the stem below the flower. Take off all parts of the flower but leave part of the stem.
Step 3. Don’t over do it
Make sure you don’t deadhead your petunias more than once per week. Give your petunias time to recover by not deadheading more than once per week.
What are Petunias?
Petunias are flowering plants. In most regions, they are grown as annuals. That is because they’re not hardy enough to survive frost. They need full sun and are famous for how they bloom in the summer. They begin to bloom in the early spring months and continue to do so all the way to the first frost.
There are many different kinds of petunias and they are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. You can find petunias in shades of purple, pink, yellow, white, blue, and red. There are multi-colored petunias and different flower sizes and shapes available, too.
If you decide to put petunias in your garden, you will probably end up with a hybrid variety. They are created to fulfill specific desires when it comes to appearance and other characteristics. Examples might include the ability to cover the ground, to cascade from hanging baskets, and to use as bed edging.
How to Plant Petunias
If you want to add petunias to your garden, you can find young petunia plants at a nursery. If you prefer, you can also grow your petunias from seed.
Get a moist seed-starting mix and put this in your garden or pot. Spread the petunia seeds on this mix and push them down gently. Remember that the seeds must have sunlight for germination, so do not push them down too far. Seedlings should start to emerge within seven to 10 days.
For the best success with your petunias, begin their growth indoors. Do this by planting the seeds in a pot. Later on, when there are seedlings and the soil outside is warm enough in the spring, you should transplant them into your flower bed.
If you have heavy clay soil, you should add some organic matter (such as compost) into it before you plant your petunias. Never overcrowd your petunias. Petunias must have enough room for their roots to properly develop and get all the nutrients they need.
This is why you should leave at least three inches of space between each petunia plant.
When to Plant Petunias
You should plant petunias in the spring. Make sure there is no chance of any frost before you do this. The best kind of soil for petunias is slightly acidic (with a pH of between 6 and 6.5). It should be fertile and light, and you must ensure there is good drainage.
Caring for Petunias
Petunias have shallow root systems. This means that they will lose hydration more quickly than other plants. Make sure to water your petunias on a regular basis. Don’t make the soil too soggy, though. Excessive water in the soil can lead to yellowing of the foliage and root rot.
If you have petunias in containers, you will need to water more frequently. Daily watering may be necessary, especially in the heat of summer. To have beautifully blooming petunias all summer, feed them with a liquid fertilizer monthly. Alternatively, you could use a slow-release granular fertilizer when you plant the flowers.
If you have your petunias in containers, you will probably need to fertilize them more often. That is because the nutrients can more easily end up washed out.
How to Prune Petunia Branches
Not only do you need to deadhead your petunias, but you must also prune their branches. If you don’t do this, you will end up with leggy petunias. A leggy petunia plant is one with stems that are too long and lanky, detracting from its floral beauty.
To keep your petunia plants properly pruned, cut back a few of the stems (or branches) each week. You should begin this early in the season. Sometimes it will be necessary to cut long stems that have flowers on them, even if you like the way the flowers look.
Always cut off petunia stems that are eight inches long. When cutting back your petunias each week, cut three or four of the stems in half. Ensure you cut above each node. You will find that the petunia plant produces new growing tips beneath each place you cut.
Correct and regular pruning of your petunia plant’s stems or branches will make your petunia plant fuller and more attractive.
Grow Your Petunias as Perennials
Petunias are most often used as annuals because they are too delicate to be perineal in most climates. However, there are ways you can make your petunia plants last for two or even three years.
The key is to make sure that your petunia plants are protected from cold weather. If they aren’t, they won’t grow back as healthy plants the next growing season. To protect your petunias from cold winter weather, dig them up and put them into containers. You can then bring them indoors and put them in a covered space such as a sunroom or garage.
In the winter, your petunias will look like a green houseplant. When you put them outdoors again in the spring, they will begin to bloom.
How to Keep Petunias Blooming
Your petunias should start blooming in the spring and continue all through the summer and even until the first frost. The summer is the time of year in which petunias are most beautiful and bloom the most.
To ensure that your petunias bloom as they should, regularly prune and deadhead them. Also plant them in the correct conditions that we discussed earlier. Petunias need full sun, so make sure they are kept in a sunny place.
Petunias in Hanging Baskets
If you plant and keep petunias in hanging baskets, you will probably need to provide more care, fertilizing, and watering than you would if they were in a stationary pot.
There are many different places you can put hanging plants and ways to hang them. You can even do it without having to drill. If you’d like, you can go the traditional route and drill holes in the ceiling.
How to Protect Petunias
Heavy rain and wind can damage petunias. You will need to protect them from these elements. Fungal diseases, especially gray mold, can also threaten your petunias. This can be especially likely to happen if you live in a region with a lot of rain.
While petunias don’t usually have severe disease or pest problems, aphids and budworm caterpillars might cause damage. That is because they eat the leaves and stems. If there aren’t very many of these pests, you can try to get rid of them by spraying them with a strong stream of water.
Protect Petunias in Pots from Squirrels
If you keep your petunias in pots outside, you should protect them from squirrels. Squirrels often dig in pots because they are searching for places to put their nuts.
One way to deter squirrels is to sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper in the soil. You could also use physical barriers, add bone meal fertilization, or even use sonic deterrents.
Do You Need to Deadhead Wave Petunias?
Wave petunias are unique in that they don’t need to be deadheaded. You will never have to deadhead this special breed of petunia. If you prefer a petunia that you don’t have to deadhead, wave petunias would be a good choice.