Thursday, June 19, 2008
© Copyright 2014
Gwinnett Daily Post
Yesterday I was walking through downtown Lawrenceville and I noticed all of the annual flowers that have been planted around the square. Most of the plants were petunias, and many of them were the variety 'Purple Wave.' They have a rosy-purple color flower with a velvety sheen and three-inch blooms covering the full length of each branch. This cultivar has been around for several years and is quite popular, and was chosen as a Georgia Gold Medal Plant in 1996 in the annual category.
'Purple Wave' is a far superior variety from the other petunias on the market. The plant is quite durable and tolerates the extreme heat and dry conditions that Georgia summers often bring. 'Purple Wave' is a vigorous growing summer annual, growing four to six inches high, and one single plant spreads out and can cover four square feet in one growing season. The plant is covered with so many blooms that the foliage is often covered and hard to see giving the appearance of a rose-purple-colored carpet. They require minimal amounts of mulch due to their spreading habit. As one bloom fades away, others take its place, allowing the plant to bloom far longer than most of the other petunia varieties, and they can flower up to the first frost.
Like other petunia varieties, 'Purple Wave' requires full sun because excessive shade will cause them to have a spindly growth with few flowers. Plant them in April when all danger of frost has passed in well-drained soil that has a high amount of organic matter. Purchase young, short and compact, healthy plants that are not leggy or thin. The more compact plants are healthier and can adjust to the outdoor conditions better. Pinch off the tops a few inches prior to planting, and plant them 18 inches to 2 feet apart. The individual plants need room to spread. The plants are heavy feeders. When planting, incorporate a 10-10-10 fertilizer into the soil, and then apply a 15-30-15 liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Unlike other petunias, you do not have to cut the plants back or remove dead flowers. The old blooms die and fall off the plants on their own, as others appear continuously all season along the stems.
'Purple Wave' petunias also do quite well in hanging baskets and other containers. Plant three plants in a 10- to 12-inch container, hanging basket or patio planter. Larger containers require more plants for an attractive, proportioned display. Make sure the plants in the containers are kept watered appropriately since they dry out faster than the ones planted in the ground. Prune it as needed to keep it from overcrowding the container.
'Purple Wave' petunias are available from many garden centers in our area, and are worth purchasing and planting. The plants are easy to grow and maintain, and will put on a show of color like the ones in the square in Lawrenceville.
Timothy Daly is an agricultural and natural resource agent with the Gwinnett County Extension Service. He can be reached at 678-377-4010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.