Petunia Flowers in South Africa

Growing petunias by Graham Rice

June 6, 2013 – 02:14 pm

Plant Images

Everywhere you go, all over the world, you see petunias. They are especially popular in areas with dry, sunny summers including many parts of the United States, Australia and South Africa and in northern Europe too they are amongst the most popular of summer flowers.

Since the arrival of the prolific and vigorous trailing types raised from cuttings, in particular the Surfinia Series, petunias have achieved an even higher profile through their popularity in window boxes and hanging baskets, both in home gardens and often more visibly on pubs and bars, offices and in municipal plantings for city centres.

Rather surprisingly at first sight, petunias belong to the potato family where their closest relatives are Nicotiana and Cestrum. In 1985 it was suggested that the genus name itself, Petunia, was invalid and that the correct name should be Stimoryne. Fortunately, the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature allow invalid names to be retained for well-known plants with a strong commercial significance and so an outcry from gardeners everywhere was prevented and the name Petunia persists.

The garden cultivars are grouped under P. x hybrida, the parents of this huge group of hybrids being forms of just two out of about 37 wild species from tropical South America. These are the white P. axilliaris, (previously known as P. nyctagiflora) and the purple P. integrifolia (P. violacea).

Like so many of today's summer bedding plants including pelargoniums and salvias, in gardens petunias behave as tender perennial plants, albeit sometimes rather short-lived. However their rapid growth and ability to flower prolifically on young plants allows them to be raised from seed as half hardy annuals.

The ease with which they root has always allowed unusually good forms to be grown from cuttings and in the nineteenth century, before plant breeders had stabilised the different colours and forms sufficiently to be dependable from seed, this was commonplace.

It was especially useful for the double flowered forms as only 20-40% of seedlings produced double flowers. So the best doubles were propagated vegetatively...

Source: grahamrice.com


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Yep, they'll do a number on geranium flowers

And also petunias, and other ornamental tobacco family plants. There's a good little article from Sunset on the problem here:
Looks like you can use the "organic" Bacillus (BT) for control besides picking each little worm out of there. BT's about the only thing to spray on anyway, since the pest is apparently notoriously immune to insecticides.
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Petunias

Look on leaves for little brown flecks if u find them, u most likely have budworms. the flecks r their poop. they destroy flowers,buds and leaves. I have recently seen japanese beetles obliterate the poor plants in two days. try spraying water lightly over plants and then quickly scan for moving insects, as this may help to identify them..or...shake plant over a bag and see if a bug drops in. this can he also help identify. could b slugs if there is mulch near . check soil on ground or pot for snails ,slugs etc. I hand pick most slugs,snails, and beetles and have good results.good luck

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