Growing Petunias

Category Flowers
These colorful trumpet-shaped flowers are easy to grow and attract both hummingbirds and moths. This page is about growing petunias.


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Botanical Name:


Life Cycle:


Planting Time:

spring or summer


6" to 18"


full sun or light shade


average to rich, moist, well-drained soil, adapted to poor soil conditions



Bloom Time:

summer through fall


trumpet-shaped flowers in almost every color imaginable (including stripes and contrasting colors)





Suggested Use:

beds, borders, edging, hanging baskets, window boxes, and displays

Growing Hints:

Plants are widely available for transplanting or can be started form seed. Seeds are tiny and can be started indoors 10 to 12 weeks before last frost date. Do not cover them, as they need light to germinate. Simply press them lightly into the soil surface and germinate at 65º to 70º F. Because petunias are actually tender perennials, they can be brought indoors in the winter (keep them in bright light at 55º to 65º F) and set outdoors the following spring. If they get leggy from mid summer heat, cut stems back by half to produce bushy new growth.

Interesting Facts:

Petunias attract both hummingbirds and moths. A change in growing conditions can cause the white edges on some petunia flowers to change in size. A white border getting wider points to recent hot weather and low soil nutrients. A white border that gets smaller indicated cooler weather and nutrient rich soil.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

How do you pinch back petunias to keep them from being so "leggy"?

By Sue


June 17, 20110 found this helpful

As a flower dies, pinch that stem back to just above a leaf. If it is already leggy, just pinch back just above a leaf wherever and it should branch out and keep flowering.

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May 24, 2009

I want my Petunias to bloom more fully and I have read that I should pinch them back. Where do I pinch and how much?

Hardiness Zone: 6a


By sharon cady from Indianapolis, IN


May 24, 20090 found this helpful

Pinch off the flower just below the blossom but if the stems are dried out cut them back to where the dry area ends.

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May 25, 20090 found this helpful

I live in California and I just whack my petunias way back with my pruning shears to about 2 inches. I do it several times a year They come back great.

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May 25, 20090 found this helpful

What I always do is just remove the blooms when they start to shrivel up. This is what I have always been told to do. Otherwise the petunias quit blooming.

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May 29, 20090 found this helpful

I was told from a local nursery that on your petunias you cut them back 1/3 when you plant them and then again in July. It takes them a little time to grow back out but they get so thick and bushy, their beautiful. Pattysue

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I have petunias in a hanging basket. It seems to have leaf mold. We have been having some hot and humid weather lately. The plant does get full sun and looks beautiful but the center leaves are dying and the mold is spreading. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to remedy this and ways to prevent this problem?


Thanks for any help.

Mike from PA


By rosa (Guest Post)
July 3, 20070 found this helpful

Try some baking soda in a spray bottle and spray your plants ? Mite work and won't hurt them.

Editor's Note: Baking soda will kill weeds so I don't think it would work and might kill the plants.

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July 4, 20070 found this helpful

Use a Q-tip or cotton ball moistened with alcohol and gently wipe the mold off a few leaves. Wait a day or two to see if the plant is OK and the mold is gone. If so, treat the entire plant. If it doesn't help or harms the few places you have treated, just 'prune' out the damaged pieces. I have had great success using alcohol on other plants to cure their ills, so perhaps the petunias will do well, too.

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By John (Guest Post)
November 12, 20070 found this helpful

For mold removal, there is an enzyme based cleaner that has apparently been used successfully on plants. I recall reading their faq sheet online and you might want to check them out. Their products are very safe.


They carry MoldZyme - I use it for mold removal on my showers, gutters, etc (you name it). The company that manufactures it is EcoDisocoveries (

Hope this helps in your quest for mold removal from plants.


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November 15, 2009

Can you please tell me where to find a picture of the life cycle of petunias? Please.

By Flower power from Childers


November 16, 20090 found this helpful

It's very easy search for picture of the life cycle of petunias, lot of pictures & info there, good luck.

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August 28, 2008


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?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Mary from Green Bay, Wisconsin


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, 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.



By Sandee (Guest Post)
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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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this page.

Photo Description
Last fall, when it came time to take this petunia plant down, I trimmed it back and placed it under the house, right inside the crawlspace door to see if I could keep it through the winter. Keeping a check on it, I watered it a little a couple of times.

When I took it out in early spring, it still had green growth on it. I removed the dead parts and placed the plant on the porch table. It did not take long for it to start new growth. When the nights dropped down in the 30s I put the plant inside the house and set it back outside the next day.

After the plant filled out, I hung it on the porch in the sun. It really started growing and within a week, it was filled with flowers.

In the fall, when it's time to take it in, I plan to place it under the house again and see if I can keep it through another winter.

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Petunias at our mail box, very pretty.

By Kathleen from Dothan, AL


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