How to revive potted petunias that are looking done in. Struggling to survive and not blooming in mid Summer. They needed help and this is what I did to get fresh new blooms on a failing plant.
Reviving potted petunias for more beautiful blooms all summer long!
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I bought these large hanging potted petunias at a wholesale nursery in May. They were big and luscious, full of purple and white petunias. Diligently I watered and fed with an organic liquid plant food over the next weeks, enjoying the gorgeousness they added to my side porch eave.
But after awhile I noticed they seemed to be suffering, looking wilted and pathetic. I watered some more, thinking that maybe I just wasn’t keeping up with their needs. After all we were having an early heat wave and it was dang hot! (which I love)
Reviving Potted Petunias
No matter how much I watered they did not bounce back. I checked for spider mites (nasty little critters) and other infestations but they were clean. Just ugly.
I felt the soil and noticed it was like a brick. The petunias were not only root bound but the soil used for the hanging basket had turned into a rock. This can happen very easily and is just as easy to fix.
To avoid this situation when I pot up my own hanging baskets I make sure there is plenty of substance added to my potting soil to keep it loose and free draining. Additives like perlite (the little white pebble looking things in good potting soil) works wonders. For my complete DIY Potting soil recipe, visit this post.
Give the plants a good soak. Take a Garden knife shove the blade down into the moistened brick of soil in the pot. I wiggle it to make holes throughout now solid chunk of soil.
I add some fresh good quality potting soil then water it in so it filters down into the spaces I created with the knife.
I cut back this petunia plants severely. All the way to the rim of the pot.
If you are just doing a refurbishing prune up that many annual potted plants may need about mid-summer and they don’t look as sorry as these specimens, you can prune up to about the bottom of the pot and it is enough.
But reviving potted petunias that have gotten this sorry need a more drastic haircut. So I whacked them off to the rim of the pot. I figured it was do or die. As awful as they were looking it could only go up from here.
I hung them back up and kept up with watering and feeding. My roses climbing the porch posts were in full bloom and stealing the show anyways so the petunia baskets just showing a bit of green was not a huge loss for the time being.
What do you think happened? Did they kick up their toes and call it quits?
Well you be the judge.
This transformation from pathetic stubby stems to gorgeous blooms took about 3 weeks and they are still going strong.
So the moral of the story…. don’t be afraid to prune up if you need to revive your potted petunias (or other annuals).
I wish you all bounteous blooms and floriferous flowers in your gardens.
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