Causes and Fixes for Leggy Petunias


After I was slightly child gardener, attempting my hand at rising crops in my mother’s backyard, I began out with an inexpensive little petunia that I discovered within the cut price bin at a grocery retailer.

That 12 months and for a few years to comply with, my petunia crops would develop fortunately and proceed to bloom all summer time, however they nearly all the time became a leggy mess.

They stopped trying like the fuzzy, colourful crops we all know and love and began to look scraggly and skinny halfway via the rising season.

I knew they might look lovely. Those within the hanging pots lining our Predominant Road all the time seemed phenomenal. What was I doing mistaken?

A close up horizontal image of pink and white petunia flowers growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

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Now, collect ‘spherical, kids. Auntie Kristine goes to inform you a few time lengthy, way back, earlier than the web was out there in your pocket.

Again then I couldn’t simply hearth up the household pc and do a fast search to determine the issue. I needed to ask round. I checked out books on the library, and I talked to a pleasant professional on the native nursery.

That’s how I first discovered why these crops turn out to be straggly and tips on how to keep away from it.

I even discovered tips on how to repair the issue if the plant grew to become a leggy mess. As soon as I discovered the way in which of the petunia, I by no means needed to cope with an unsightly, lanky pile of stems ever once more.

All these years later, I’ll come throughout a house with a pot filled with leggy flowers, and I wish to share the great phrase. That might be a bit cheeky, so I’ll simply share it with you, as an alternative.

Whereas we’re at it, for those who want a fast rundown of tips on how to greatest develop and take care of petunias, go to our information. Then, we’ll dive into rising bushier, happier crops.

Coming proper up, right here’s what we’re going to go over:

Leggy petunias are exceptionally frequent as a result of these crops naturally tackle a scraggly, prolonged development behavior as they age. So to forestall this, we have now to battle in opposition to the plant’s pure development.

Earlier than we speak about prevention or fixes, let’s speak about why this sort of development occurs.

Why Do Petunias Change into Leggy?

Petunias naturally have a trailing, pendulous, or mounding behavior.

As every flower grows and fades, the plant sends out longer stems with new flower buds. It’s not too far a stretch to go from trailing to leggy and it may occur rapidly.

A close up horizontal image of a potted petunia with dark velvet flowers set on a stone patio.

All through its development cycle, the plant consistently sends out new development.

Whether or not this development is thick and plush or lengthy and skinny depends upon a number of elements, together with the quantity of moisture, daylight, and vitamins the plant receives.

There are self-heading varieties on the market and these will usually preserve a way more compact behavior with none intervention from you.

Even if you’re rising one in every of these, it nonetheless helps to know what to do to forestall legginess.

Stopping Legginess

Petunias supplied with the correct quantity of water are much less more likely to turn out to be extraordinarily leggy.

The quantity of water a plant requires depends upon the species or hybrid you’re rising, location, time of 12 months, and whether or not or not it’s rising in a container.

Many hybrids do greatest if the soil is allowed to only barely dry out between waterings, whereas some want a bit extra constant moisture.

A close up horizontal image of a gardener watering plants growing in a garden bed.

Because the summer time progresses and the climate turns into hotter and drier, the crops will inevitably want extra moisture.

The trick is to maintain the moisture degree constant. Don’t let the plant dry out and wilt one week after which maintain it overly moist the following, petunias do greatest with consistency.

Daylight can be an element. A plant that receives too little solar goes to attempt to stretch and attain to search out the quantity of sunshine it wants.

They carry out greatest in at the very least six hours of daylight, however much more is best. A fast option to produce a leggy plant is to place it in too little daylight!

Lastly, soil vitamin is a vital issue, notably for petunias rising in containers. When a plant is in a pot, it has restricted entry to vitamins. It depends on you to provide it what it wants.

Most sorts will do greatest when fed each different week with a light, balanced fertilizer.

I feel All the way down to Earth’s Starter Combine is ideal, as a result of not solely does it have the correct stability of vitamins with alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, oyster shell, and assist meal, but it surely additionally incorporates useful endomycorrhizal fungi, which is usually missing in potting soil.

A close up of the packaging of Down to Earth All Natural Fertilizer Starter Mix isolated on a white background.

All the way down to Earth Starter Combine

Arbico Organics carries this fertilizer in one- or five-pound containers.

Whenever you present the proper circumstances in your flowers, all that’s left to do is deadhead the spent flowers.

Anytime you notice a flower that has light in coloration, appears slightly ragged, or has closed up, pinch it or reduce it off simply in entrance of the closest leaf node or the leaf node behind it.

This encourages the petunia to ship out new, branching development and flower buds, serving to to take care of the fuzzy behavior.

How one can Repair Leggy Progress

So let’s say, regardless of your efforts at correct cultivation, your petunia grew to become all leggy and gangly, like a colt that hasn’t grown into its legs. To not fear, these crops might be mounted proper up.

Simply reduce the stems again. Take away the top two inches or so on the leggy branches, making the reduce simply in entrance of a leaf node, whether or not it has leaves or not. If the plant is extraordinarily leggy, you may reduce the branches again by two-thirds.

These crops can deal with quite a lot of pruning, so don’t be shy. Go forward and provides them the exhausting chop in the event that they’ve gotten particularly leggy.

Now, keep on prime of deadheading and be sure to’re offering the correct quantity of water, vitamins, and daylight.

Leg It From Legginess

I don’t assume it’s an excessive amount of to ask to have large, bushy petunias with piles of coloration with out having to tolerate straggly stems. You don’t must.

Rising these flowers doesn’t imply you must cope with ugly, leggy development.

A close up horizontal image of pink petunias in full bloom in a white hanging basket at a garden store pictured in light sunshine.

Hopefully you now know tips on how to cope with leggy, scraggly crops. If you happen to nonetheless have questions, inform us all about it within the feedback part under.

And for extra details about rising petunias, try these guides subsequent:

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