Name: petunia, calibrachoa.
Height: 20–100cm wide by 10–40cm tall.
Foliage: green and downy with rounded tips.
Climate: all areas.
Soil: well-drained, improved with compost.
Position: full sun or part shade (need at least 6 hours of sun).
Flowering: year-round in warm climates.
Feeding: feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser.
Watering: daily in pots and while establishing. Water when soil dries out.
Petunias are low spreading or mounding plants with wide, trumpet-shaped flowers and branching foliage that is downy and sticky.
The plants are related to tobacco, and have flowers that are 3–4cm wide. They can be single, double or ruffled, and the petals striped, veined, spotted, bi-coloured or solid colours. The growth habit can be either mounding or cascading.
Petunias are available in every colour except true blue and orange, and are a fast way to inject some colour into the summer garden.
Calibrachoa have a compact or trailing habit and flower continuously, with smaller flowers and foliage than petunias. Most flowers are about 1cm wide, and their colour range includes orange and bicolours. Many forms also feature a coloured throat.
Petunias are grown during the warmer months in cool climates and year-round in warm areas of Australia. They are tolerant of heat and humidity, but are not frost tolerant, so wait until all threat of frost has passed before planting.
They need at least six hours of full sun each day, but in the heat of mid-summer it’s best to move pots into partial shade. Extreme heat may cause them to stop setting flowers, but they will bloom again when the temperature drops.
Petunias bloom prolifically and keep flowering for many months if the spent blooms are deadheaded. They are prone to disease in continually wet weather.
Spreading petunias make great ground covers, and trail down the sides of hanging baskets and pots.
Annual petunias can be grown from seed sown in late winter, but it will take about 10–12 weeks from sowing the seed until the seedlings are ready to plant out.
Most people buy seedlings, in punnets of eight, ready to plant out. Advanced seedlings are a little more expensive, but flower almost immediately after planting. Plants are also sold as potted colour that is already flowering.
The most popular and widely sold forms of calibrachoa are the “Million Bells” series, bred by the Japanese company Suntory. Other varieties are the Colourburst and Selecta series. New varieties of petunias are released most years and are available in punnets as mixes of colours or single colour ranges.
Petunias are an inexpensive way to add flower colour to pots, hanging baskets and garden beds. With the wide range of colours and forms available, there is a flowering petunia to suit all colour schemes.
Petunias are perfect pot specimens, and should be planted into free-draining soil that’s been improved with compost. While it is best to provide fertiliser into the soil when the petunias are planted, fortnightly to monthly foliar feeding with a liquid fertiliser will provide the nutrients for petunias to remain constantly in bloom.
Protect seedlings from slugs and snails by using snail baits or beer traps. Hose aphids off with a strong blast of water or use a pyrethrum spray, and check plants for caterpillars, which eat the flowers and leaves. Squash them or apply a caterpillar spray like Dipel or Yates Success.
Marigolds: small, vibrant yellow or orange-coloured annual plants that flower prolifically through the warmer months in pots and garden beds.
Annual salvias: small annual to short-lived perennial plants. Available with white, blue or red flower spikes, they are perfect for pots and bedding plants, flowering prolifically in the warmer months.
Vincas: annual or short-lived perennials with single flowers in shades of white, peach, pink or mauve.
Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing.
Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.