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Wave Petunias Named MS Medallion Winners
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
The first flower to have its own web site has garnered another honor, the 2000 Mississippi Medallion Award. This prestigious honor goes to the Wave series of petunias, whose web site can be found at www.wave-rave.com.
The Mississippi Medallion program has become known statewide for bringing the toughest, most beautiful plants to Mississippi gardeners. The first Mississippi Medallion winner in 1996 was New Gold lantana which is still one of the most loved plants by gardeners and landscapers alike.
Last year's winner, Biloxi Blue verbena, was so popular it sold out quickly and has already been in big demand this year. 2000 is geared to be another stellar year for the Mississippi Medallion program with the Wave petunias.
The Wave series began in 1995 with the debut of Purple Wave. This petunia has become the standard for which all other petunias are judged. It is a ground hugging, heat tolerant selection that will spread up to 4 feet.
The Pink Wave was next in the series and is equally impressive. It has a slightly more upright and compact habit. It has shown remarkable heat tolerance and landscape performance.
Last year, the two new selections that hit the marketplace were Rose Wave and Misty Lilac Wave. Misty Lilac spreads like Purple Wave but is slightly more upright in growth habit. Rose Wave is similar to Pink Wave in habit and has been perhaps the heaviest bloomer.
Purple Wave and Misty Lilac Wave combine for one of the prettiest landscape combinations available to today's hurried gardener. Purple Wave and the 1996 Mississippi Medallion Award winning New Gold Lantana, or the 1997 winner Melampodium create an exceptional bed of complementary colors.
Not only are the Wave petunias winners in the landscape, but they excel in baskets, mixed containers and window boxes for a long season of color around the porch, patio or pool.
Choose a site in full sunlight for best performance. Prepare your beds by incorporating 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and fertilizer at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet. I prefer a slow release blend such as 12-6-6 with minor nutrients. You also can use an 8-8-8, 13-13-13 or something similar, but do use a slow release form of nitrogen.
Till the organic matter and fertilizer to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Plant at the same depth the flowers are growing in the container and remember to space accordingly for the Wave you are buying. Mass plant several to give the best landscape look.
Add a good layer of mulch to keep out weeds, moderate soil temperatures and prevent moisture loss through evaporation. Feed your Waves every four weeks by side dressing with light applications of the fertilizer.
Don't be afraid to give the petunias a light trimming or shearing to stimulate new growth and blooms well into the fall.
The selections and quality are greatest now and Waves are available at a super value in sizes ranging from large baskets to 4- and 6-inch containers. So get the beds prepared and shop early. More Mississippi Medallion winners will be announced in different categories over the next few weeks, so pay attention to your TV, radio and newspaper.
The Mississippi Medallion program is sponsored by the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association, Mississippi Plant Selections Committee, Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.