How not to get confused in the varieties of petunias and choose the right one
An absolute favorite among flyers and a universal favorite petunia offers an unimaginable selection of varieties. With huge or small, simple or double, originally painted or classic flowers, petunias can be selected by color, shape, and preference. They simply can’t get bored, because the range is replenished every year with dozens of new products with improved features. Selecting just a few varieties from the hundreds of options available is not an easy task. And in the selection of bright petunias for the garden, their decorative qualities are far from the most important thing.
Vast variety of petunias
The most beloved of garden and balcony flyers appears on the flower beds, in ampels and flower girls, as soon as the weather permits. And he does not leave the scene until the arrival of frost. Petunias are grown for both early and ordinary, and for late flowering. Petunias bloom throughout the warm garden season, and the timing of sowing determines when the seedlings are ready for planting, and when the first flowers appear.
Petunias have become so common in urban landscaping and garden design that they are almost perceived as mandatory plants. But when it comes to choosing seeds or varieties, it’s not so simple: petunias are very different and often completely different from each other in terms of their practical characteristics and decorativeness.
Today, from vivid labels, catalogs and advertisements, you can find out about very different types of petunias, from which even experienced gardeners can feel dizzy. Varieties are combined into groups of varieties, produce separate collections and even varietal mixtures, not to mention selected stars with the status of elite hybrids.
Some petunias are presented as ampelous or integumentary, others as garden or pottery, others as container or for flower girls, and fourth as universal. In fact, the variety of petunias is not so great and difficult at all, and it’s easier to understand the classification than it seems.
All petunias that can be found on sale in seed catalogs and as seedlings are hybrid plants that have undergone lengthy selection in order to improve their decorative characteristics. Species plants, like the old "first" varieties, are crowded out of the market by bright new products, the number of which is replenished every year.
Petunias breed quite easily and are perhaps the most beloved summers for experiments with their characteristics. All the prestigious gardening firms and selection centers present their exclusive novelties at the main flower shows of the year.
How to get petunia yourself through growing seedlings, read the article on growing petunia seedlings in detail.
Due to the fact that the number of varieties of petunias has long exceeded a thousand, it is better to navigate in their variety according to the basic characteristics of the variety.
Classification of petunias according to the basic characteristics of varieties
According to the form of growth or type of shoots, petunias are divided into:
- bushy (upright) petunias;
- creeping (drooping, ampelous varieties).
By the height of the bushes:
- large, with shoot lengths up to 80 cm;
- medium, height or diameter of about half a meter;
- dwarf (stunted) petunias with a spherical shape of a bush, height and diameter of about 15-20 cm.
By flower size:
- large-flowered (from 8-9 cm);
- ordinary (from 5 to 7 cm);
- small-flowered varieties (from 2 to 4 cm).
In the shape of flowers:
- classical (gramophone) with smooth edges of the petals;
- fringed varieties.
- watercolor (with soft transitions and erosion of color shades, the effect of spreading color without contrasting spots);
- with a dark spot in the throat;
- painted varieties.
By degree of endurance:
The possibility of using varieties of petunias in the garden only in sheltered places or in open soil and stone flower beds is determined by the degree of their endurance. According to this parameter, petunias are divided into two types:
1. Low tolerance varieties, flowers, and sometimes shoots which are sensitive to getting wet.
2. Hardy petuniaswhose flowers are not afraid of rainfall.
Separation of varieties according to the main classification:
The main classification of petunias divides them into only two types of varieties:
1. Growing petunias - bushy plants with straight shoots developing in the form of dense compact bushes-pillows that do not create a canopy on the soil and a cascade in hanging baskets.
2. Creeping petunias - plants that, thanks to long shoots dipping in ampels and creeping along the soil, are able to cover a large vertical or horizontal area. Today, creeping petunias are often divided into integumentary and ampelous, but in fact we are talking about the same varieties, just on the ground they play the role of a groundcover, and hanging baskets - a hanging plant.
Commercial classification of petunias
When it comes to selections in catalogs and on seed shelves, such simple classifications are indispensable. Dozens of terms that complicate the selection, in fact, are intended to indicate the main, distinctive characteristics of varieties. And if you see additional names, thanks to the study of the main categories of petunias, you can easily navigate their characteristics.
Depending on the combinations of different signs of petunias (for commercial purposes), it is customary to divide them into four classes:
1. Grandiflora (Grandiflora) - bush varieties with flowers with a diameter of 7 to 13 cm, usually with medium bushes and a wide variety of gramophone classic varieties.
2. Multiflora (Multiflora) - multi-flowered bush varieties of petunias with compact dense bushes and medium-sized flowers with a diameter of 4 to 7 cm.
3. Milliflora (Milliflora) - bush compact petunias with small flowers from 2 to 4 cm in diameter.
4. Floribunda (Floribunda) - medium varieties with a height of about 30 cm with elongated shoots and medium flowers with a diameter of 5 to 8 cm, characterized by increased resistance.
The four main classes, in turn, are divided into hundreds of groups. Special petunia cultivars with improved characteristics are now distributed under independent names that have become international trademarks, and from a simple group of varieties have turned into separate categories of petunias. They include:
- supertunia (Supertunia) - large ampelous varieties with shoots up to 2 m in length and very bright large flowers;
- surfinia (Surfinia) - charming flyers with large flowers from 5 to 9 cm and shoots that can grow up to 2 m in length and a rich selection of all shades of white-pink-blue gamut without warm tones (they are considered one of the best early flowering, hardy and fast-growing varieties petunias);
- fortunia (Fortunia) - a series of compact, abundantly blooming ampelous petunias with flowers with a diameter of about 5 cm;
- pendulas, or ampelous petunias (pendula) - varieties with thin, drooping, flexible shoots, ideal for vertical gardening or as a groundcover;
- cascading petunias (Cascade) - densely bushy varieties with more powerful, exceeding a meter in length, capable of creating flowering waterfalls with their shoots, which first develop as upright, and then wilt more and more (bushes simultaneously grow up, down and to the sides, due to which petunias create more beautiful and harmonious, fountain-shaped huge cascades);
- fimbriates, or fringed petunias (Fimbriata) - varieties with elegant fringe along the edges of the petals;
- friltunia (Frillytunia) - varieties with pronounced corrugations on the petals;
- super bissim (Superbissima) - varieties with a wavy edge of amazingly wide flowers in the throat;
- pickot (Picotee) - petunias with a contrasting white border at the edges of the flowers;
- musical score (Partitunia) - semi-ample plentifully flowering varieties with a very dense arrangement of flowers, creating a likeness of clouds;
- minutunia (Minitunia) - small-flowered ampelous petunias with shoots up to 1 m in length.
Calibracha is not petunia
Relatives of petunias or pseudo-petunias do not simplify the selection process. Along with numerous hybrids of petunias, other types of plants appear on sale, which are often mistakenly called only forms and varieties of petunias. They belong to an independent genus - fashionable, vibrant and surprisingly hardy caliberhoa.
Calibrachoa (Calibrachoa) - the closest relative of the petunias, which is not accidentally nicknamed "a thousand bells" for its abundance and touching. Able to form amazingly beautiful cascades, this one-year-old star with flexible, but well branching and woody shoots at the base, from 80 cm to 2 m long, captivates with the number of flowers under which green is almost invisible, and the most outlandish colors, including yellow-orange -brown variations and varied patterns.
The undoubted advantages of caliber are precipitation resistance, versatility, plentiful color and ease of formation. But she has almost no shortcomings. Only small flower size, exactingness to top dressing and only vegetative methods of reproduction can be ranked among them.
A practical approach to choosing petunias
In order not to get confused in the choice of varieties and types of petunias, as well as easily navigate in the presented assortment, it is worthwhile to determine the correct guidelines for yourself.
First of all, when choosing a variety, you need to formulate the task that the plant is designed to perform. Before studying the range of available varieties of petunias for the garden, consider why you need petunia, where and how you will use it, from the place of the garden or the balcony that it will be decorated to the container in which it will grow, and its intended neighbors .
Knowing the goal, it’s much easier to find a remedy. Even if you only approximately imagine that you want to plant petunias along the front edge of the flower garden or use for a pot garden, the general idea will greatly help you in choosing varieties.
How to care for container petunias so that they bloom luxuriantly and for a long time, read 10 secrets of a magnificent blooming balcony in the material.
Break the entire selection process into several steps. And having decided on each of them, you can much faster choose the plant you need. When choosing a variety of petunias for a garden, try to answer a few questions:
1. What type of growth petunia do you need - upright or creeping?
2. Will petunia be grown in open soil or in any type of container?
3. Is the size of the bushes and the length of the shoots important - do you need large, massive or compact mini varieties?
4. Will the petunia succumb to weather conditions - will it be located in a rainproof or open area?
5. Is there a need to get earlier flowering?
6. Does the decorative task set - the role of the plant in the composition - determine the specific characteristics of the variety:
- large or small-flowered;
- ordinary or supermobile flowering;
- dark, light or medium colors;
- specific color to be added to the composition;
- classical form or desirable originality of flowers;
- Is it permissible to use plants with an unusual color, etc.
The criteria for the selection of varieties of petunias are easier to apply in practice than in theory:
1. If they will decorate a pot garden with petunia, then bush plants for ordinary pots will be needed, ampelous plants for replanting to tubular and other plants.
2. For flower pots and large flowerpots, bush petunias are chosen.
3. When decorating balconies, bush petunias are planted in common containers and boxes, if the edge of the container is decorated with a plant or baskets are hung, then hanging ampel varieties are better.
4. Large and medium bush petunias are used to decorate the soil of flower beds, perennials and spots, except when they fill empty soil or create carpets or carpet mixborders from them (in these cases, the choice should be made on creeping varieties).
5. For borders, the choice should be stopped on medium-sized or dwarf bush petunias.
6. For vertical, hanging gardens and flowering walls, only ampelous varieties of petunias are used.
7. For single hanging baskets choose cascading varieties of ampelous petunias.
General principles for the selection of petunias
There are several more general principles for selecting varieties for the assigned design task:
- the quieter the place, the more boring the playground, the more inconspicuous the background - the more suitable large flowered petunias;
- ground flower pots, floor-mounted pots and containers are best decorated large flowered, and not with small-flowered petunias, and vice versa - for containers located at eye level;
- any containers on legs, containers on supports, raised flowerpots and original racks are more suitable for ampelous petunias;
- for decorating the facade of the house and its walls, creating flowering walls on the terrace are more suitable small-flowered petunias;
- small containers and pots are suitable for terry varieties more than variants of large compositions, such plants need to be able to transport;
- the more open the place and the higher the risk of getting wet, the more small color variety more preferable;
- for the foreground and such containers that you can admire close, it is better to choose terry or original varieties;
- if it’s difficult to decide, always choose the most hardy plants with “average” characteristics.
In the matter of choosing varieties of petunias, the new is always the best. The latest innovations on the market usually surprise not only with the shades or characteristics of the flowers, but also with practical qualities. Therefore, it is often necessary to hunt for trendy and newly emerging varieties. If there is a question of a choice between similar varieties, then it is always worth choosing a petunia of a later selection.
Faced with a huge selection, it is worth paying attention to the simplest criteria. First of all, when choosing seeds, you need to pay attention to the dates and periods of storage, the availability of information about the manufacturer and the completeness of the characteristics of the plant.
When buying seedlings, especially a new variety, you should immediately make sure that the bushes are healthy and well-groomed, without visible signs of damage or improper watering, with strong roots. As soon as the basic characteristics are evaluated, you should pay attention to:
- grade height and maximum shoot height or length;
- the specified form of the bush;
- recommended way to use petunias;
- description of color and flowers;
- directions of agricultural machinery and care.
Choosing a petunia variety for the garden may seem like a complicated and boring process. But the main thing in it is not to forget about the purpose of buying plants and rely on your taste. Petunias are bright plants, and the choice of those varieties, colors and shapes that are closer to the heart of the owners is always the best option. After all, such plants bring more joy than any fashionable novelties.