In the early 1500s, Spanish explorers in South America discovered petunias, which were called ‘’petun’’ by the local Tupi-Guarani people. ‘’Petun,’’ which meant ‘’useless tobacco plant,’’ referred to petunias but the plant was overlooked, probably due to its name, and wasn’t brought back to Europe. It was only 300 years later that Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of then king of France, Napoleon, organized an expedition to Argentina. Some samples were collected and a botanist confirmed its aboriginal name and placed it in the tobacco family.
A few years later, more explorers would discover other species of petunia and by the late 1800s, breeders in England, France, Germany, Japan and the United States began developing hybrid variations for different colours and larger petals. By 1934, Japanese breeders finally managed to consistently breed double-flowers and it eventually contributed to the decline of the more ancient varieties.
Petunia Nana Compacta is a member of the nightshade Solanaceae family, closely related genetically to familiar plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and tobacco. Dwarf Mix is an old-fashioned mix of low-growing, multi-coloured petunias that readily self-seed if kept happy, but they will flower earlier if started indoors in late winter. The plants grow to only 8-12 inches tall and have a bushy, free-flowering habit.
The single, trumpet-shaped flowers can get quite large, up to 4 inches, and bloom in shades of rose, lavender, violet and white. An excellent choice for beds and borders and because of their small size, this dwarf mix is well-suited for containers, hanging baskets and window boxes. Petunias are a great source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds.
- Latin Name: Petunia nana compacta
- Life Cycle: Annual
- Days to Maturity: 75-100
- Planting Depth: 3-4 mm
- Plant Spacing: 30 cm
- Growth Habit: 20-30 cm tall
Among one of the most popular cultivated flowers, petunias bloom abundantly in containers and as borders. They grow and develop quickly and have the ability to reach maturity by late spring. It’s common, easy and cheap to buy petunias from the nursery, but much more rewarding to start from seed. It’s worth your while to experience how easy it is to grow an abundance of your own petunia flowers.
Start seeds indoors at least 10-12 weeks before the last frost date. Seeds will need light to germinate. Sow them on top of a moist starter mix and gently press them into the surface. Cover your flats or pots with plastic wrap and put them in a warm place with indirect sunlight. Seeds should germinate in about a week. Remove the plastic as seedlings emerge. When they have a couple sets of true leaves they can be transplanted into their own pots. After the danger of frost has passed, move them outdoors to gradually harden them off.
When selecting the spot to plant your petunias, consider that they do best in full sun with afternoon shade during the summer. The perfect temperature range for petunias is 16-24 degrees. They’ll tolerate temperatures as low as 4 degrees.
Make sure petunias get about 3-5 cm of water per week. They don’t like to stay dry, but can develop root rot or get leggy if the soil is too damp. Pay attention to flowers in containers, as they will dry out faster.
Plant petunias in loose, fertile and well-draining soil. Compost or fertilizer can be added at the time of planting. During the summer through the fall, feed every couple of weeks with a liquid fertilizer.
Petunias can be pinched back when they’re young. This will fill out the plant with more branches, leading to more blossoms. Deadhead consistently to get the most out of your petunias. Light frosts and freezing temperatures will eventually kill off the flowers.
When you grow your own petunias from seed, you’ll have the pleasure of enjoying their beautiful blooms from spring straight through the fall.
- The name ‘’petunia’’ comes from the word ‘’petun,’’ which means tobacco in Brazil. These two types of plants are related and petunia can be crossbreed with tobacco.
- Petunia seeds will remain viable for 3 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2024 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!