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How To Keep My Petunias From Becoming Leggy

Petunias growing in a patio containerHello. I love petunias and last summer I planted my patio planters strictly
with petunias. They looked gorgeous until the end of June, when the centers
of the plants (obviously the older part of the stems) became bare, resulting
in the tops of the planters looking bare and ugly. Is there a petunia variety that stays bushy, not leggy, and flowers continually? I’d like to know if there is.    Thank you, Susan M.

Answer: Most petunias need to be pinched back during the growing season and they need regular fertilization to keep them blooming all summer long. If you purchase them pre-planted in a basket, they have been pruned regularly to branch out and are constantly fed to be at the peak of blooming when you purchase them. If you have planted the basket yourself with individual plants, such as the ones we offer in our Annual Flowering Plants, trim off the top inch or so when planting. Be sure they are receiving a full 6 hours of sun to keep them blooming. Feed them once a month with a water-soluable fertilizer, and keep them evenly moist. As they start to become leggy, prune off about half of the stem, making sure you leave some of the leaves on the plant. This will rejuvenate them and encourage more growth and blooms. Some recommend doing this to a third of the plant on a weekly basis so it's constantly regrowing.  This should help to keep all the varieties flowering vigorously.

Happy Growing, Karen

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