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Wave petunias deserve a place in home gardens
I’m sure Southern Gardening Nation knows that Supertunias, especially Vista Bubblegum, are among my favorite summer color because they are reliable performers in my coastal Mississippi garden and landscape.
But there’s another great group of petunias that I haven’t written much about, primarily because I haven’t been growing them lately. That group is the family of Wave petunias.
I actually grew and loved the Wave family long before my infatuation with Supertunias, and I’ve decided this year I’m jumping back in the water. And why not, as Wave petunias were named a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2000.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I bought a dozen Easy Wave petunias while observing social distancing recommendations and shopping for summer color at one of the independent garden centers on the coast. The colors I chose were Berry Velour, with its soft raspberry color and luxuriant flower petals, and Plum Vein, which has pretty, violet-pink flowers with delicate dark-plum veining.
Easy Waves are fast growing and produce gorgeous flowers all summer long. I transplanted four into each half barrel in my front landscape. With their potential to spread out up to 3 feet, I’m looking forward to a really colorful mass.
Always plant Wave petunias in full sun for the best flowering and growth. Keep the soil or potting medium consistently moist. Letting the plants dry out and start to wilt will shut off the flowering for up to a few weeks.
Proper watering is especially important when these flowers are grown in containers, as they dry out much faster than when planted in the ground. Early-morning watering helps keep the soil moist and allows the foliage to dry during the day.
During the hottest months, you may need to water containers and hanging baskets a second time in the afternoon. This is where having a drip irrigation system is very useful.
All Wave petunias are heavy feeders, so apply a controlled-release fertilizer at planting. For the best growth and flower production, feed these plants on a regular basis. I prefer using a water-soluble fertilizer once a week when I water the plants.
I first started growing Wave petunias back when I lived in Tennessee, and I tried the Silver Tidal Wave selection. I thought its bright, silvery-white flowers would look great in front of a Heller holly hedge.
The growth habit of Silver Tidal Wave lived up to its name, as these petunias would climb up the holly hedge and start running across the tops of the shrubs. I literally had to trim them back every week. Once I started using them as a ground cover, I knew this plant was a keeper.
So I encourage you to get out to your independent garden centers and try some of the Wave petunias that are available. I know that you’ll be pleased with them.