Causes and Fixes for Leggy Petunias


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

That yr and for a few years to observe, my petunia crops would develop fortunately and proceed to bloom all summer time, however they virtually all the time become a leggy mess.

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

I knew they might look lovely. Those within the hanging pots lining our Major Avenue all the time seemed phenomenal. What was I doing unsuitable?

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, youngsters. Auntie Kristine goes to inform you a few time lengthy, way back, earlier than the web was accessible in your pocket.

Again then I couldn’t simply fireplace up the household laptop 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 skilled on the native nursery.

That’s how I first discovered why these crops grow to be straggly and how one can keep away from it.

I even discovered how one can repair the issue if the plant grew to become a leggy mess. As soon as I discovered the best way 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 need to share the great phrase. That may be a bit cheeky, so I’ll simply share it with you, as a substitute.

Whereas we’re at it, in the event you want a fast rundown of how one can 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 progress behavior as they age. So to stop this, we now have to struggle towards the plant’s pure progress.

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

Why Do Petunias Develop 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 will possibly occur rapidly.

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

All through its progress cycle, the plant always sends out new progress.

Whether or not this progress is thick and luxurious or lengthy and skinny is determined by 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 sometimes keep a way more compact behavior with none intervention from you.

Even in case you are rising certainly one of these, it nonetheless helps to know what to do to stop legginess.

Stopping Legginess

Petunias supplied with the correct quantity of water are much less prone to grow to be extraordinarily leggy.

The quantity of water a plant requires is determined by the species or hybrid you might be rising, location, time of yr, 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 stage constant. Don’t let the plant dry out and wilt one week after which maintain it overly moist the subsequent, petunias do greatest with consistency.

Daylight can also 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 not less than six hours of daylight, however much more is healthier. A fast approach to produce a leggy plant is to place it in too little daylight!

Lastly, soil vitamin is an important 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 varieties will do greatest when fed each different week with a light, balanced fertilizer.

I believe Right down to Earth’s Starter Combine is ideal, as a result of not solely does it have the proper stability of vitamins with alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, oyster shell, and assist meal, however it additionally accommodates useful endomycorrhizal fungi, which is commonly missing in potting soil.

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

Right down to Earth Starter Combine

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

While you present the right situations on your flowers, all that’s left to do is deadhead the spent flowers.

Anytime you see a flower that has pale in coloration, seems to be a little bit 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 progress and flower buds, serving to to keep up the fuzzy behavior.

The best way to Repair Leggy Development

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 could be mounted proper up.

Simply reduce the stems again. Take away the tip 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’ll be able to reduce the branches again by two-thirds.

These crops can deal with loads 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 high of deadheading and be sure to’re offering the correct quantity of water, vitamins, and daylight.

Leg It From Legginess

I don’t suppose 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 should.

Rising these flowers doesn’t imply it’s important to cope with ugly, leggy progress.

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 how one can cope with leggy, scraggly crops. Should you nonetheless have questions, inform us all about it within the feedback part beneath.

And for extra details about rising petunias, take a look at these guides subsequent: