Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld



Family: Solanaceae

Petunia are a spreading flowering annual (or short-lived perennial) in the same plant family as tomato, potato and tobacco.

Being one of the world's most popular bedding plants, and have been the subject of a great deal of breeding work in recent decades. The result is many improved varieties. The various mounding or trailing habits of these new varieties maker some better suited to landscape planting, others to window boxes and hanging baskets or cascading over planter boxes.

Some of these modern varieties are vegetatively propagated and so only available as plants in pots or punnets. If you prefer to grow from seed, you'll neverthess get great value from an inexpensive packet of an old-fashioned variety.

Petunias need plenty of sun but are relatively tolerant of heat and dry conditions. If treated well, they can be cut back for another flush of flowers, making petunias one of the most rewarding annuals for a warm climate.


The not-as-sweet smell of warming temperatures

Increasing temperature reduces production of scent compounds in two petunia varieties tested. Subsequent interference with the ability to attract pollinators is another way in which climate change could alter plant development and ecological relationships. Source: Award-Winning Research: As Temperatures Rise, Flowers Emit Less Scent (June, 2016)

What makes a petunia blue?

Researchers have discovered that if a newly-discovered type of cellular pump is defective, failure to acidify certain compartments (vacuoles) within petal cells makes petunia flowers blue instead of red or violet. The information may be useful in manipulating the colour in other flowers and fruits. Ways for plants to store toxic compounds within the vacuoles might also be developed. Source: Roses are red -- why some petunias are blue (January 2014)

Older news at bottom of page.

Landscaping with Petunias

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Other Information Online

Petunias NebGuide from University of Nebraska
Petunia (group) Missouri Botanical Garden
Petunia Auburn University
Petunia Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, South Carolina
Growing Petunias University of Rhode Island
"Spreading" Petunias in Ornamental Horticulture Monthly Newsletter, Volume 3 No. 1, February 2000. Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
How to keep petunias from becoming bedraggled Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Selecting and Planting Petunias Including seed raising Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Petunia Petunia x hybrida. University of Arkansas
Dixon Petunia Festival Dixon, Illinois
1997: Year of the Petunia This page includes some information on history and cultivation of petunias. National Garden Bureau, USA
Think petunias are only useful as bedding plants? (Hanging baskets) Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, Purdue University

Older News

When is a plant "carnivorous"?

UK scientists are exploring notions of what consitutues a carnivorous plant in a review paper Murderous plants: Victorian Gothic, Darwin and modern insights into vegetable carnivory. Common plants like petunias that can trap insects in sticky hairs, for example, may benefit from the nutrients released when the insects eventually break down. These might be considered partly carnivorous. Read more at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew website: Scientists think 'Killer Petunias' should join the rank of carnivorous plants (Dec 2009)

More Pictures

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petunia in the landscape petunia in the landscape
Modern petunia varieties have been bred not only with flowers in mind, but plant habit

petunia flowering stem
An old, non-compact variety. Note the succession of blooms that have formed over a long period on the this shoot
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