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Soil Recommendation for Petunias

Question:

I planted wave petunias for the last two years in beds and they start out fine. I water and fertilize, but then they just die. I think the soil must have too much of something. What do petunias need in the soil?

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Hardiness Zone: 5a

Mary from Green Bay, Wisconsin

Answer:

Wave petunias grow well in most soils, but best in light, well-drained soil with a moderate amount of fertility. They prefer soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Wave petunias are heavy feeders and need lots of fertilizer (every 10 to 14 days) if you truly want to see "waves" of growth. This is especially true when planted in containers. When planted in beds, they get more nutrients from the soil (providing it is good quality soil) so fertilizing is usually only necessary every two or three weeks).

Since your petunias started out fine I doubt very much you have a soil problem. Are you planting them in the same spot each year? One interesting thing I learned about Wave petunias just this year is that they should not be planted in the same beds two consecutive years in a row. Yep, crop rotation is recommended for petunias-specifically for Wave petunias. This little gem of information comes directly from the official Wave Petunia website, http://www.wave-rave.com. Apparently the first year you plant them they will do great. Each consecutive year you plant them in the same spot after that they have a tendency to decline. I imagine the decline is due to that fact that they are such heavy feeders. So, if you are planting them in the same beds every year, try moving them to a different spot in the garden next year and see what happens.

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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August 30, 20080 found this helpful

I'm from south-central WI and I thought this year's wave plants were nowhere near the quality that they have been in previous years. Even when shopping for them, I thought the blossoms looked about a third of the size of last year's batch.

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