Annual of the Week-Petunia

One of the most popular and versatile annuals found in the horticulture world is the petunia. You can probably find any shade of color that you want and would be able to plant it anywhere other than a deep shaded area in your garden. If you can give it sunlight it will grow.

However, not every petunia is the same. There are a couple of distinctive characteristics that are set petunia apart from each other. So distinct that petunia are separated into different classifications: grandiflora, multiflora, milliflora, trailing and mounding types.

Petunia Hybrid Grandiflora: Grandiflora types produce the largest flowers of all petunia, however they will bear the least amount of flowers. These plants can grow as tall as 24 inches and certain varieties or strains can give you a spreading habit of 24-36 inches wide. Some of the more popular strains are Ultra, Storm, Magic and Frost.

Petunia Hybrid Multiflora: This is also known as a floribunda. Plant growth or habit is similar to that of the Grandiflora varieties, but the flowers are smaller, usually only producing flowers that are 2 inches across. Certain strains offer a neat compact habit that makes them excellent for mass planting in flower beds. Prime Time, Celebrity, Plum, and Whispers are strains that can offer the widest range of colors for your garden.

Petunia Hybrid Milliflora: These are cute dwarf petunias growing in mounding habits of about 6 to 8 inches in height and width. One of the best features is that there is no need for pinching or pruning to keep these babies in tip top shape. Dainty flowers cover the whole plant offering a burst of color in containers or in your garden. Plant them where they can be seen and not covered over. You will find these as Fantasy or Tiny Tunias.

Trailing and Mounding Petunia: You might have heard or seen the Purple Wave petunia, but have you seen the Tidal Wave or even the Ramblin’ petunias? These phenomenal petunias definitely have made a splash in the cascading flowering plants. Some of these varieties can grow up to 5 feet wide. That is a lot of color to have in one area.

Petunias are a flower that everyone has had in their garden at one time; personally I think you should have them somewhere all of the time. I find that the purple ones, no matter which variety offers the best fragrance to enjoy from your garden. Plant them and enjoy.

Annual of the Week-Calibrachoa

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Calibrachoa, also known as Million Bells, is actually a perennial that is often grown as an annual.  If you live in a warm enough climate, this plant will come back year after year.  However, for the colder climates, this plant should be treated as an annual.

Calibrachoa is a relative of the petunia family and is native to Brazil.  The forms that we use in our gardens are the result of hybridization.  These plants are smaller than petunias and have more wiry and slender stems with tiny, closely set leaves.

There are two basic types of Calibrachoa.  The trailers are low and flat growing with leaves that are 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide.  These are called Liricashower and have flowers that are white, pink and a purplish blue that are about an inch wide.  The other type of Calibrachoa is a more compact and mounding type of plant.  They do not trail as much and are known as Colorburst.  The leaves on this variety are a little larger and the flowers come in cherry, rose, red and violet.

The wiry stems make the plants less likely to break than the standard petunia.  Calibrachoa will produce blooms all season long.  They should be planted in an area with full sun or light shade.  They can be used in hanging baskets, flower boxes and as bedding plants.  Be sure to plant them at lease 1 1/2 feet apart for best results.

Perennial of the Week-Rose

Photo provided by FreeFotoPhoto provided by FreeFotoPhoto provided by Major-Maróthy Szabolcs

It is almost Mother’s Day and have you gotten your Mother or Wife a gift yet?  Are you getting her a bouquet of roses? What type of rose did the rose come from? Is there a difference? Isn’t a rose a rose?

Have you ever wondered if you could grow your own roses rather than depending on the local florist? Now I don’t have a problem with supporting the local florist, I am actually glad she is there, but I really like to surprise my wife with a fresh rose from our own rose garden. Her smile radiates and fills the room with pure delight.

Hybrid Tea Rose: If you want the perfect cutting rose, make sure that you plant this variety. Tea Roses bloom on single stems, and will have a high center point. Most of these roses will carry a traditional rose fragrance. Henry Fonda, Mister Lincoln and Peace are some of my favorite varieties.

Floribunda Rose:  A beautiful bush rose that will provide clusters of 3 to 15 rose blooms per set. Two of my favorites are Angel Face and Iceberg.

Grandiflora Rose: This is a cross between the Tea rose and a Floribunda rose. A Grandiflora can grow up to 6 feet tall.  The blooms have the characteristics of the tea rose; however, they will bloom in clusters. Truly a show stopper. Crimson Bouquet, Gold Medal, and Queen Elizabeth are a must for any rose garden.

Miniature Rose: The perfect rose for the small area.  Miniatures are grown on their own root stock and will grow 6 inches to 24 inches in height. They are hardy and are perfect for containers.

Climbing Rose: If you have a empty wall and you want to dress it up, offer a trellis or support and plant a climbing rose.  Not all climbing roses are hardy in all areas, make sure that you take winter protection precautions when planting. Joseph’s Coat and Golden Showers are wonderful climbers to grow.

Shrub:  These roses are also known as landscape roses because of their growing habits. A shrub rose usually offers a spreading habit, and are mostly disease resistant. They can come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. You can’t go wrong with Carefree Delight, Homerun, or Knock-Out.

As you can see there are many roses to choose from. As for me, instead of a simple bouquet of roses for Mother’s Day this year, I am giving my wife a dozen rose bushes…but I have to plant them.

“….A flower unplucked is but left to the falling, And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.”  Wrote the poet Robert Frost and how true that is.  A rose can often be admired from afar when left on the bush; however, one must gather roses to fully enjoy the full beauty offered. Have you taken time to smell the roses lately?