Petunias are one of the most popular flower plants in the world for several reasons. For starters, they produce incredibly beautiful blooms in several shades.
That includes red, pink, purple, blue, yellow, and white.
Other than that, the plants are typically easy to care for. During the summer, all you have to do is sprinkle a little water on your petunias, and they’ll thrive.
Yet, as winter comes around, your plant maintenance routine will change. At this point, you may wonder how to care for petunias during the winter.
If that’s the case, I can help. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about caring for petunias in winter.
I’ll cover the watering schedule and sunlight needs, just to name a couple of topics.
Petunias are stunning plants that belong to the Nightshade family. They produce delicate flowers in many shades.
That includes pink, blue, and yellow.
Other than that, petunias give off a subtle yet pleasant aroma. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice the scent is fruity and almost nutty.
So, not only can these plants brighten up your garden, but they’ll also leave it smelling fresh and sweet.
Moving on, petunia flowers will typically bloom as soon as spring comes around. The buds will open up to reveal a wonderful display of colors.
These flowers can last for months, depending on where you live.
Yet, when the weather gets a little colder, the blooms will suffer. That’s because petunias are exceptionally temperature-sensitive.
Typically, these plants prefer to live somewhere between 50℉ and 80℉. This temperature range provides the optimum environment for petunias to grow.
Anything lower than that, and the plants won’t be able to carry out normal life processes. As a result, your petunias will wilt and fade away.
At this point, you may wonder, is there any way to ensure my petunias survive the winter? Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help the plants resist the cold.
There are at least 35 distinct varieties of petunias. That’s without taking all the hybrids of the plant into account.
Some common petunias include milliflora, grandiflora, multiflora, and ground cover.
Each one of these types has different levels of cold tolerance.
For example, the Supertunia Vista Bubblegum can only tolerate a minimum temperature of 50℉. That means this plant isn’t ideal if you live in a particularly cold area.
Other than that, there are varieties like the Wave petunia that can handle slightly colder environments. This plant can survive in temperatures as low as 35℉.
So, depending on the type of petunias you’re growing, the cold tolerance will change.
The simple answer to this question is yes. If you’re growing a cold-resistant variety of the plant, it should be able to survive frost easily.
Yet, other types of petunias may not be as lucky. Although, that doesn’t mean that your stunning flowers have to fade away.
There are many things you can try to protect your petunias from the frost.
There are a few tips and tricks you can try to protect your plants from the frost. In this section, I’ll go over some of the most notable processes.
Right off the bat, it may be a good idea to invest in some form of protective shield. You can place a cover over your petunias to keep chilly breezes at bay.
Thankfully, you can use almost any type of fabric for this, but burlap works best.
Yet, this cover will reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches your plants. So, it’s not the ideal solution to the problem.
Instead, you can try mulching your garden beds. This means you add a layer of organic material on top of the soil.
Doing so can be incredibly beneficial to your garden. For starters, it’ll act as an insulator.
That way, you can maintain the temperature of the soil, without covering the top of your petunias.
Besides that, mulch can improve the fertility of your growing medium. It’ll release vitamins and minerals that can keep your petunias healthy, even in the middle of winter.
Finally, you can try overwintering your petunias.
Overwintering is the process of protecting your petunias from the cold weather. Fortunately, the procedure is quite straightforward to complete.
For starters, you have to overwinter your petunias by the end of fall. Ideally, it should be before the first frost of the year.
The first thing you want to do is cut your plants. To do that, grab your trusty gardening shears and get to snipping.
Hold one of your petunias at the base and cut them back to about two inches tall. Next, remove the lower leaves using your hands or gardening shears.
Then, inspect the cuttings for any signs of pest infestations or infections.
Once you ensure the plants are disease-free, you can propagate them. Luckily, petunias can root readily.
All they need is a little water. So, place your cuttings in a glass of water and wait for them to grow new roots.
As soon as the roots grow, you can transfer your petunias into flowering pots. Finally, move these containers to a warmer location.
It should only take a couple of weeks for your petunias to take root.
Petunias will usually go dormant when the weather gets colder. The plants will hibernate to conserve energy and ensure they can survive the winter.
As you can guess, that means your petunias will need less water in the winter. Sadly, it’s a bit challenging to figure out an exact watering schedule.
That’s because it’ll depend on the surrounding temperature. So, it’s best to use visual cues to determine when your plants need water.
Check the top two inches of your soil. If it looks or feels dry to the touch, you can top off the growing medium with just enough water to soak the ground.
It shouldn’t be wet, you just want it slightly damp.
During the summer, petunias need around six hours of full, direct sunlight to stay healthy. Yet, this number will increase significantly in the winter.
To ensure that the plants get all the nutrition they need, your petunias need around 10 hours of sunlight daily.
This will allow the florae to carry out photosynthesis and reduce the chances of the plant going dormant.
Although, as we all know, during the winter, the sun sets relatively quickly. So, you may need to invest in a grow light to keep your petunias in tip-top shape.
During the winter months, your petunias will be in their most fragile state. Because of that, you need to be extra careful when pruning your plants.
In a perfect world, you won’t need to prune the petunias at all. Yet, sometimes the plants can grow a little unruly and tangle.
In that case, you should grab your gardening shears and snip away any leaves or stems that grow out of bounds.
Most gardeners recommend that you bring your petunias indoors during the winter months. Not only will this stop the plants from frosting over, but it’ll help you keep an eye on them.
You can grow your petunias in a glass with water. That way, you can check the root growth daily.
Yet, this liquid environment isn’t the best for long periods. The water won’t be able to support the continuously growing plant for long.
So, to ensure your petunias can survive indoors, it’s a good idea to plant them in pots with soil.
Once winter comes to an end, you can bring your petunias back outside. Although, you shouldn’t do that straight away.
Your plants will need a little time to adjust to the change in temperature. So, water them with lukewarm water for a couple of weeks before replanting them outdoors.
If you’re wondering how to care for petunias in the winter, there are a few things you can try. That includes covering your plants with burlap or mulching the soil.
Other than that, you can overwinter your petunias. Cut the plants and replant them in a glass of water or a pot with soil.
Then, move these containers to a warmer location.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.