Caring for petunias — tips for the popular balcony plant

Wondering if your petunia is bee friendly? Petunias originally come from subtropical regions of South America. Their narrow flowers are therefore not designed for our honey bees and native wild bees, because with their short proboscis the bee is unable to take in food. Even roomier petunia flowers offer little nectar and pollen due to their breeding. It cannot be said that the petunia is bee-friendly, but the flowers attract hawk moths, which can use their long tongues to help themselves to the nectar.

Botanical name: Petunia x hybrida
Other names: Petunia, trailing petunia, garden petunia, Petunia Surfinia
Use: balcony planting, bedding plant, traffic light plant, for planting under stems
Origin: South America
Flower colors: pink, pink, purple, blue, orange, yellow, white, black, red, two-tone, double flowers
Flowering period: April to October
Special features: Petunia usually grow overhanging and are therefore ideal for planting balcony boxes, for hanging baskets, and for bowls and troughs. Especially in the evening, the flowers give off a sweet smell that attracts crepuscular insects such as hawk moths.

Petunias are members of the nightshade family and are one of the most popular annual balcony plants. The plant genus, which originates from South America, grows herbaceously and blooms profusely with large, characteristic, funnel-shaped flowers. Petunias adorn balconies and terraces as colorful perpetual bloomers. The group known as Surfinia is a special breed from Japan that is less sensitive to weather than the usual species. Magic bells are another group of plants, visually comparable to small trailing petunias. The warmth-loving balcony plants can be planted out in balcony boxes, high pots or hanging baskets from mid-May and delight with a rich abundance of flowers well into autumn. For a long-lasting bloom between May and September it is necessary that you fertilize your petunia. Even watering is also important for petunia care, but otherwise there is little care work for petunias. It is difficult to overwinter the flowers — it is usually easier to buy fresh specimens after the winter. Nevertheless, an attempt can be made with appropriate winter quarters and with a green thumb.

In which location do petunias feel most comfortable?

Petunias prefer a bright, sunny spot and also tolerate hot phases with high levels of sunlight. Planted in semi-shade, the bloom is a little less. Large- flowered varieties develop better in a place protected from rain and wind. Small-flowered variants and the Surfinia group are less sensitive to the weather. The annual seasonal plants can be outdoors from mid-May and, in the ideal location, will delight you all summer with distinctive funnel-shaped flowers. Petunias can beautify balconies, terraces and gardens with their colorful flowers.

Overwintering Petunias: Is My Petunia Hardy?

Whether your petunia is hardy is easy to answer: As with all nightshades, temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius should be avoided. If planted early, winter protection should be provided to protect the annual plants from frost at night.

Planting petunias in a container: embellish the balcony and terrace with petunias

Repotting or inserting immediately after purchase is ideal. In this way, the flowering plants develop better, because the volume of soil in the culture pot is too small and the maintenance effort is reduced by transplanting. Use high-quality potting soil for planting, this is structurally stable and contains nutrients for the first 4 to 6 weeks. Adding bog bed substrate is beneficial, because all petunia varieties prefer slightly acidic soil. Soak the plant in a bucket of water before planting. This will ensure that the root ball is thoroughly wet. Carefully pot the balcony flower and place it at a slight angle in the container provided. Due to their long shoots, it is best if there is room to hang.

How do I plant my petunias in the garden?

Planting out in the bed is possible, but the long tendrils lie on the ground. New petunias can be mixed with different flowers or planted as a single variety. It is important that the partners have the same demands on the location and the soil moisture, whether they grow hanging or upright is irrelevant.

Our gardening tip: At least 3 to 4 liters of soil are required for each young petunia. With less volume, the maintenance effort increases significantly.

Petunia Care: How Do I Properly Care for My Petunias?

In addition to regular watering, regular fertilization is also important when caring for petunias. Otherwise, little maintenance work is required for petunia varieties. The vigorous plants branch out on their own without pruning and continuously form new flowers. It is also not absolutely necessary to clean out the faded inflorescences, but it does encourage the willingness to bloom. If individual tendrils are too long, they can also be cut back to get the desired shape. Basically, however, a pruning is not necessary. Hybrids are particularly suitable for the balcony with large flowers and a lush pile. Within a few weeks they form a sea of ​​flowers on the balcony and have a good long-distance effect.

Watering Petunias: How Do I Water My Petunias Properly?

The nightshade plant needs an even supply of water, so regular watering is important. Immediately after planting out, the need is even lower, here a gap of 3 to 4 days before the next watering can be sufficient. If the young petunias are rooted and growing luxuriantly, daily watering may be necessary. It is important that there should never be standing water – the species is sensitive to this.

But the flowers should never dry out completely. The right time for watering is early morning, so the moisture is available and the so-called burning glass effect caused by water drops is avoided. The planter must have drainage holes and allow the soil to dry out a little before the next watering.

Hanging baskets with lush hanging varieties may also require morning and late afternoon watering in locations with direct sunlight on hot days. Our gardening tip: watering in the morning is ideal, so the plant has the moisture available early on. On a large balcony, water storage boxes help to minimize the watering effort. It is important that you water as close to the roots as possible and that the water does not run over the leaf or into the flower. If petunia flowers and leaves are constantly wet, the risk of fungal diseases and rot increases.

Fertilize petunias: How do I fertilize my petunias properly

It is best to fertilize your petunia sufficiently, because the seasonal plants only grow and bloom from May to September with sufficient fertilization. When planting out, it is advisable to use a long-term balcony flower fertilizer. In this way you give the permanent bloomers a good start and the slow-acting depot fertilizer supplies the plants safely. 4 to 6 weeks after planting, it is advisable to fertilize weekly with flower fertilizer with guano or flowering plant fertilizer. Petunias are plants with a high iron requirement, so regular use of iron vital or organic power fertilizer with natural iron is recommended from June to avoid chlorotic lightening. Only with sufficient fertilization can Petunias bloom profusely well into the autumn. Our gardening tip: In order to avoid root damage, it is important

What types of petunias are there?

In addition to the well -known garden petunia, a large number of variants have emerged in recent years through breeding and selection. In addition to small, compact growing varieties, there are also species that grow luxuriantly hanging and form tendrils up to 1 m long. Small, double or large flowered — a wide variety of flower shapes are available. Depending on the variety, they are called petunia, surfinia, garden petunia or trailing petunia. Attractive flowers in lemon, orange and brown tones or flamed flowers enrich the range.


The Surfinia is a large-flowered, hardy species with high tolerance to rain and disease. The trailing petunias are the result of breeding. They are available in pink, violet, rose, yellow and white, as well as two- and three-tone. Petunia Surfinia® is a registered trademark of Suntory Flowers Ltd. Varieties and propagation are protected.

Magic Bells/Calibrachoa/Million Bells

Botanically, the mini petunias belong to a different genus. They come in lilac, lemon yellow, white, violet and pink, and are often offered as plants with multiple colors per pot. These bi- or tricolor pots create a colorful picture even as a single pot.


Petunias come in a wide variety of colors and patterns: pink, pink, violet, black, yellow, and white, as well as two-tone or even three-tone.

Petunia pink

Bring summer home with pink petunias. The large-flowered trailing petunias delight from April to October with their trumpet-shaped, pink and sometimes pink-veined flowers and are ideal for summer floral decorations in your garden.

Color is trumps when it comes to summer planting in the garden, bed, tub, balcony box and hanging basket. With these hanging petunias they are definitely right. With their pink and magenta-colored flowers, the petunias set colorful highlights in your garden from April to October.

These petunias impress with their extraordinary flower color and have an excellent long-distance effect. Whether violet, purple, blue-violet, white-edged or with white speckles — the trailing petunias bloom tirelessly from April to October and set magnificent highlights both individually and in combination with other bed and balcony plants.

The hanging petunia ‘Black Ray’ will quickly become the star of your summer bed and balcony planting with its unusual flower colour. The sun-loving flowers are also ideal for hanging baskets and hanging baskets.

Due to their radiance, yellow petunias are a particularly beautiful accent in the garden or on the terrace for summer planting. The large, trumpet-shaped, lemon-yellow flowers bloom from April to October.

The white flowers ensure elegant and radiant floral decorations from April to October. It inspires in beds as well as in tubs and balcony boxes and becomes an eye-catcher in hanging baskets.

A summer dream: a sea of ​​flowers made of trumpet-shaped, different-colored flowers or flowers decorated with hearts. With these eye-catching petunias, an eye-catching and unusual flower splendor moves into beds, planters, balcony boxes and hanging baskets from May to September.

What pests and diseases can petunias get?

With the right site conditions and optimal care, the genus Petunia is an enchanting species of flowering plant. The following problems can still occur:


Especially in phases with less light and less growth, the flowers are more susceptible to aphid infestation. Rinsing off the shoots and strengthening the plants with plant treatment is usually enough to decimate the annoying pests.

white bow tie

The small white pests are a problem, especially in wind-protected, warm locations. The small insects are located on the underside of the leaf. At the first infestation, remove the affected leaves and dispose of them with household waste. Yellow panels are a good way to combat whitefly if there is a small infestation. Yellow panels have been developed on the basis of biotechnical findings. The insects stick to the special glue and are rendered harmless. The use of parasitic wasps — a natural opponent of the whitefly — can also help to minimize the unwanted insects.

powdery mildew

A mealy coating can appear on the leaves, especially in cool phases. It is important that the leaves are moistened as little as possible when watering. Strengthen the balcony plants preventively with plant strengtheners.


Lightened leaves are often a result of a lack of fertilizer. If the leaf veins are still green, but the rest of the leaf is chlorotic (light yellow), this is a sign of iron deficiency. Only regular treatment with special iron fertilizers helps here.


The whole plants hang limp despite good humidity. This wilting is often the result of waterlogging. Keep plants drier and provide drainage if possible.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about petunias

Which plants are suitable for combining with petunias?

All balcony plants that prefer the sun are ideal. The partners can be upright or hanging in stature. It is particularly important that the combi plants have similar demands on the substrate and soil moisture. Beautiful arrangements are also created by combining different flower colors.

Examples of combinations are: geraniums, two-toothed lantana, verbena, magic snow, vanilla flower, hussar’s button, blue daisy, loyal to men, sweet potatoes and much more

How to propagate petunias?

Petunia can be propagated by seed and cuttings. The fine petunia seeds are sown in February. It is important that the seed is not covered with soil, because Petunia are light germinators. Not all varieties can be propagated by seeds.

Late summer is the best time to take cuttings. The herbaceous head cuttings quickly take root in the cultivation substrate and new plants can easily be obtained. The petunias overwinter brightly and at temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. After the winter, the new petunias are gradually acclimated to outdoor conditions. This also applies to propagation by seeds. A phase with temperatures above 15 °C and little sun is the optimal time after the winter for clearing out the young plants.

How to overwinter petunias?

Wondering if your petunia is hardy or how to overwinter your petunias? Would you like to enjoy the rich abundance of flowers next year? Then it is important that you protect your treasures from the cold and bring them to their winter quarters in good time before the first frost — because these species are not hardy. It is ideal if you cut back long shoots before wintering and thus minimize the leaf mass. Place the flowers in a light spot with temperatures around 10°C. The ideal location for hibernation is not too humid and aired regularly. In most cases, the plants no longer develop as luxuriantly in the second year and it makes more sense to buy a new one in the spring.

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