The petunia is one of the most common and beautiful flowering plants that is grown all across the globe. They are generally pollinated by insects, and require a bit of care to grow properly.
If you want to add a splash of color to your garden and make it look welcoming and cozy, you should definitely consider growing petunias in your garden. However, you should know that the plant requires careful attention on your part.
For instance, while the petunia is capable of tolerating harsh and hot climates, you need to understand that the plant cannot survive in frost. On top of that, the plant will require at least five hours of sunlight on a regular basis to survive. There are no specific soil requirements that need to be followed, but the conditions should include low humidity in the atmosphere.
Ideally, petunias are planted in the ground as seeds, as replanting them doesn’t always work. In most regions, watering the plant just once in a week is more than enough. However, if you are going to plant it in a container or in a hanging basket, as most people generally do, you should know that it’s going to require a bit more water.
Keep in mind that like most flowering plants, maximum growth generally occurs during the last few weeks of spring. You will have to add in fertilizer on a monthly basis, or bit by bit weekly, as that’s going to improve the growth of your plant. However, while it’s not really difficult to grow petunias, you should know that deadheading often stumps quite a few people.
Why Is Deadheading Important?
Before we talk about how to deadhead petunias, it’s important to focus on why it’s done. Deadheading is simply the task of removing dead flowers from your petunias. Deadheading doesn’t require a lot of effort, and getting rid of the spent flowers is fantastic and offers a plethora of benefits.
Deadheading helps in improving the appearance of the plant and more importantly, it controls the spread of all the seeds around the area. On top of that, because nutritional stores are not being used for the dead flowers, the plant is able to grow thicker and considerably fuller. Now that you know the basics, let’s focus on deadheading petunias.
1 – Check the Type of Petunias
You need to first start off by looking at the type of petunias you are growing. Look at the seeds or the plant markers to get a better idea, as there are various kinds of petunias being sold in the market. You need to make sure that you know about the petunias that you are growing before you start off with the deadheading.
2 – Pinching the Blooms
Pinching the petunia blooms is a great way to begin. If this is the first time you are deadheading a plant, you are probably going to feel more comfortable removing the dead flowers first instead of cutting certain parts of the plant on your own. You can move on to cutting the plant after at least a year or two of practice.
3 – Prepare for the Deadheading as If You Are Weeding
After a few weeks have passed, it’s going to be difficult for you to notice fading blooms. You are probably going to get down and get dirty to find and remove them. So, it’s best to take up a position close to the plant similar to when you are about to weed the garden. There is no reason to wear those thick gloves that most people use for gardening, as there’s a great risk of you hurting the plant.
4 – Removing a Spent Bloom Above a New One
In many situations, you are going to notice a spent bloom above a new one. Move your fingers a quarter inch up, and make sure that they are just above the bud. Then, hold it tightly with your thumb and your forefinger, and pull gently to remove it. The spent bloom will come off without any resistance. You can just throw it in the compost.
5 – Remove All Dead Blooms on the Same Stem
Then, you need to get rid of all the dead blooms on the same stem using the same procedure. It’s best if you work stem by stem because you will know that you haven’t missed out on a single one this way. Plants such as petunias can have tens of blooms on each stem, so it’s important that you work in a streamlined fashion. During the growing season, you will have to deadhead after every couple of weeks or so.
6 – Pinch Some Tips Mid-Summer
If you notice that your petunias are becoming weary and sagging toward the ground, you should consider removing the growing tips. Just hold on to the stem tightly and find the heaviest bud at the top of a bunch of newly blooming flowers. Then, you can pinch it off.
Remember, always pinch it off by holding it between your forefinger and your thumb. Keep in mind that you are removing a live part of the plant, and not a dying one. This will encourage new blooms to occur and the plant will also get much healthier and thicker over the passage of time.
There are a few things that you need to do after deadheading the plants. Once you are done, you have to fertilizer your petunias with at least 10-10-10 fertilizer and then water them properly. This is important and is going to encourage growth of the plant significantly.
If you want, you can also use sharp scissors to prune and deadhead your plants. Using sharp scissors is a wise idea for people who have difficulty in removing the flowers using just their hands. However, it’s recommended that you first sharpen the blade, because tugging on the plant stems isn’t a wise idea. These are just a few important things that you should keep in mind when it comes to deadheading petunias.