Petunia, Tickled Pink
Unique climbing petunia blazes with bright-purple, super-fragrant flowers.
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Petunias may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or from potted plants.
Sowing Seed Indoors:
- Sow petunia seeds indoors 8 weeks before last frost using a seed starting kit.
- Sow seeds thinly and barely press into seed starting formula. Do not cover with soil.
- Keep the soil moist at 70-75 degrees.
- Seedlings emerge in 10-14 days.
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Thin to one seedling per cell when they have two sets of leaves.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Transplant hardened-off seedlings to the garden after the frost.
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Planting Potted Plants in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun with good rich moist, well-drained organic soil.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.
- Plants should stand 6 to 12 inches apart in the garden.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball.
- Press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water.
- Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For annuals an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
- After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer such as Flower-tone, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
- Remove spent flower spikes to encourage flowering and prevent seed development. Pinching the growing tips of plants can encourage bushiness.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
- Remove plants after they are killed by frost in fall to avoid disease issues the following year.
- Cut scraggly petunia plants back by half in late summer to spur growth and encourage new flowers to form.
- Petunias make beautiful edging plants and also can be combined with other summer-blooming annuals in mixed plantings. They are superb in containers of all sizes and types, either alone or combined with other flowers.
- Petunias attract hummingbirds and moths to the garden.
SunFull SunHeight6 feetSpread6 feetOrnamental UseBeds, BordersLife CycleAnnualSow MethodIndoor SowFloweringtrueBloom Duration12
Petunia, Tickled Pink is rated out of 5 by 2.Rated 5 out of 5 by DrewB from Finally a climber that works great in a flower box After experimenting for a few years with Morning Glories and Moonflowers, I have finally found a flowering plant that will climb, provide privacy, and look great all summer long! These were planted in an eight inch deep flower box after germinating indoors for about 6 weeks. They started slowly, but once they did there was no stopping them. After about a month outdoors they started flowering and did not stop all summer. Morning Glories took off like a rocket in this same container, and needed constant pruning to keep in check. While they did flower, about half-way through the summer they would start shedding leaves from the bottom up. By September there would always just be leaves and flowers at the top of the lattice. Moonflowers on the other hand would never get to the point of flowering. They do "climb", but they need some help and support. My flower box is next to a lattice, but they would not get there on their own. Next year I plan on adding a wire ladder of some sort as these tend to fall over in a heavy rain without structure. As a typical petunia, they do have sticky residue on the surface of the stems and leaves, so they're a bit messy to prune and attract pests, like aphids. I plan on getting some "pet" ladybugs next season to take care of that. I will definitely plant these again next year, with a little more spacing as they spread out much more than I expected (which is great because I won't have to buy as many for the coverage that I need). Beautiful flowers all summer long, plants which bounce back quickly from extended period without water, and great climber in a shallow flower box are a winning combination. Shown along with Burpee's Purple Wave Hybrid Petunia, which cascades over the sides of the container in the photo, and a hanging basket. I can't wait for spring!Date published: 2016-01-12Rated 5 out of 5 by PrettyPlucky from So fragrant & floriforous These just took off. I started them indoors in April but they could probably be sown outdoors too. They were so healthy from the start. Half of my seeds germinated but it could have been my fault for not having more success. It's amazing how fast they grew. Once they got flowers, they never stopped. It's September 19th & there are still many to enjoy. Their fragrance is unique & very pleasant. Be prepared to use a supportive structure (doesn't have to be tall) such as a trellis or the cage shown in the picture. Otherwise they develop oddly shaped stems that could break easily as the plant grows. Do it before they grow over 12" because the stems are so fresh, they snap & break easily. I let some trail but the weight eventually squeezed off the circulation. Every year, my petunias fall victim to caterpillars & these were no different. They seemed to love these even more. I picked them off but found more & more every day. These petunias have so many flowers that caterpillars didn't do too much harm. If I didn't have this annual problem, I would definitely grow them again. I doubt you'll find them elsewhere.Date published: 2014-09-20