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Let Tidal Wave Petunias Flood Landscapes in 2000
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Tabloids are chock-full of predictions for the New Year, decade and next millennium -- most of which are absurd. I have a prediction of my own about some new plants that I think will be hotter than your car's hood in August. These plants are called Tidal Wave petunias.
When I first saw the petunias, they were called the Dramatica series, which was appropriate because they are dramatic. But whoever decided to rename them Tidal Wave deserves a big, fat $100,000 bonus. Because the plants are great and Wave petunias are hot, the name Tidal Wave should help sell a gazillion of them.
Tidal Waves will introduce a new class of petunia called hedgiflora. If you think about that name, it sounds like a petunia that will make a hedge. Right on! If I hadn't seen them with my own eyes I would not have believed it. I have also been watching them now for a few months, and they were still looking great in southern zone 7 in mid-December.
Tidal Waves will be introduced in two colors: a hot pink and cherry. When they first start growing, you almost sense they are getting leggy except they are actually sending up and out what would equate to a vine or stem. If you were blindfolded and felt the long stem, your first guess would not be petunia.
A grower who tried some at my request bought some seeds and called back saying I didn't tell him they would fill out a gallon pot in three weeks. While this may be a slight exaggeration, it does point out the vigorous habit of these petunias. I have pictures showing plants that were three feet high and as wide.
The plants are exceptional in the landscape, large containers and large-baskets, and deliver traffic stopping performance in window boxes.
Many of us are skeptical when we just read about a plant. When you see it growing in California you think, sure everything grows out there. But when you see it growing in your own climate, then you know a plant is a winner.
I'll be the first to admit we've only watched it in a couple of Mississippi locations and only for a year, but Tidal Waves do look outstanding. Their press packets say they bounce back quickly from rain without being plastered. The results so far can concur.
As good as these plants are, including the other Wave petunias, don't expect wonderful success without the proper bed preparation. Take the time to work in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till to a depth of about 8 inches.
As you do this, add about two pounds of a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertilizer per 100 square feet or a formula pretty close. After planting, water deeply and apply a good layer of mulch.
The Tidal Waves offer a lot of choices for plant combinations. The Hot Pink Tidal Wave would look great towering above Purple Waves or plants like last year's Mississippi Medallion winning Biloxi Blue verbena.
The New Gold lantana and the Tidal Wave Cherry would make a terrific combination and look outstanding for weeks and weeks. To add a tropical flair, plant these petunias around some dwarf bananas.