Wave Petunia

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Scientific Name: Petunia x hybrida

I. Botany/History

  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Growth Habit: vigorous growers, they tend to stay short and spread along the ground.
  • Origin:
  • Development: developed by Kirin Brewing Company in Japan, Ball Seed brought to the US in 1995
  • Key people:

II. Uses

  • Pots
  • Mixed Containers
  • Hanging Baskets
  • Bedding plants

III. Propagation

  • Sexual: From seed, directly sown outdoors in the fall.
  • Asexual: softwood cutting.

IV. Growing/Flowering

  • Light - (photosynthesis, photoperiodic responses): Wave Petunias are a full sun crop and should receive at least six hours of full sun a day if you want maximum flower production.

As you can probably tell wave Petunias are a long day plant. You should begin long day or night interuption techniques at about a 5 leaf count. Stop once plant reaches a minimum of 12 leaves or proper natural daylength occurs.

  • Temperature (recommended/necessary for different growth stages or growth regulation) - grow at a warm temperature (around 75 degrees F) until the plant's leaves reach the edge of the pot. Then move to a cold house(about 65 degrees F) to harden off.
  • Water - Wave Petunias are a very aggresive growing plant. They are constantly demanding water and nutrients, keep very moist especially in warm conditions. May need watered twice a day in hot conditions.
  • Nutrition - A 20-10-20 fertilizer at 300ppm is recommended every other irrigation.
  • Media/Potting/Planting - use a soiless, well drained media with a slightly acid pH (between 5.5 - 6.3).
  • Atmosphere
  • Growth Regulation (chemical, environmental, etc.) - Use the growth regulator, Bonzai, at a rate of 5ppm one time via a drench. The best time to apply this growth regulator is once the plant reaches a stage where its leaves are hitting the edge of the pot. Some growers may apply a stronger dose of Bonzi (15-30ppm) a week later if additional control is needed.

V. Special Considerations - (special timing or growing techniques, idiosyncraces, etc.) - The Rose, Blue, Misty Lilac, and Lavender colors of Wave Petunias flower one week earlier than the Purple and Pink varities. - The "Wave Rose" and "Wave Misty Lilac" varities of wave petunias are less aggressive growers than the "Wave Purple" and "Wave Pink" varities. Therefore they require a lower rate of growth regulators and should often be given at least one extra week from seed to transplant.

VI Disorders

  • Insect - Occasional aphid and cutworm infections can occur as well as infestations of thrips, the best management for these problems is sanitation, and systemic insecticide use along with a well established IPM program.
  • Disease - Petunias are highly susceptable to root rots, which causes no emergence of seedlings or damping off and death after emergence. Pelletized seed treated with fungicide, compost ammended media, fungicide drenches and good water management practices are excellent IPM techniques. Crown rot, Alternaria blight, fusarium wilt, and botrytis are problems that will affect petunias if proper sanitation, water levels and healthy plants are not maintained. Petunias can also be affected by many viruses, Impatient Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV), and Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) are the two major ones where the petunias are hosts which can spread the virus to other plants in the greenhouse more severly affected. Most viruses are vectored by insects, so good insect management and sanitation of equipment and greenhouse employees can lower virus incidence.
  • Physiological - Wave Petunias require large amounts of water and nutrients due to their rapid growth, nitrogen and or iron deficiecny are common problems that occur with these needs are not met with sufficient fertilization.

VII. Marketing and Grading

  • Wave petunias are not frost hardy and the soil must be at least 60 degrees F before planting outside. Wave petunias are very popular in hanging baskets which begin selling as early as March in some areas of the country. Often a series is released with matching color pots to attract consumers to "The Wave". Plants can be shipped from full bud, to full bloom. Deadheading increases bloom and is often done at garden centers or retail greenhouses on older plants.

VIII. Postharvest Handling

  • Wave petunias are quite durable and can be shipped via trucks, which sometimes need refrigerated down south. As long as water supplies are met they can last 2-3 weeks in the container they arrived in before showing stress due to the lack of nutrients. Cold storage is not recommended due to Petunia sensitivity to cold temperatures.

IX. Cultivars

  • There are numerous wave petunia cultivars, usually new ones arriving every year.

Wave is always in the cultivar name, letting the customer know it is a spreading wave petunia.

X. References