This post, “Winter Petunias” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Petunias have been a favorite bedding plant for years. Most gardeners plant them in the spring after the ground has warmed up. In the Deep South, however, we plant them in the fall. Even the Wave petunias can’t take our intense summer heat. By May we are pulling them out and replacing with more heat tolerant plants. That being said, you just can’t beat them for color from late September till May. They may not have many flowers in the dead of winter, but by early February they are starting to put out blooms again.
Because I have a red front door, I try to pick up or at least coordinate that color with what is growing in the entry garden. A few years back, I saw a house that had dark red petunias and deep purple petunias planted around crepemyrtle trees in the area between the sidewalk and the street. It was a very striking combination. So I decided to try that color too, figuring it would look good with the front door. Also, since I have red flowers that come up in the spring, this combination would not clash as the season progressed, and these other plants put on their display of blooms. It has worked out well for the last three winters. Sometimes I have a little trouble finding the right reds and esp. the purples. The best combination is a dark, almost maroon, red with the purple “Sugar Daddy” petunia. This year I couldn’t find either one, but the dark red and dark purple I did find looks almost as good and gives a little change from last year. The red petunias in the picture below are a deeper blue red not the tomato red that came out in the photo.
Now, my sister always plants the pastel petunias because she says they bloom longer in the spring than in the fall and winter. She is right about that, and her garden is always so colorful and spring-like when Easter rolls around. I would do that too except for that red front door. Pale pink and pale lavender just wouldn’t look as good in my entry garden as it does in her garden. I wish that the petunias would last longer than they do down here, but I guess having petunias blooming in February is a good trade off.