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Old 05-04-2003, 10:35 PM   #1
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Question leggy petunias

We just bought our hanging baskets and flats today. Although I'm not ready to put them in yet (a bit to chilly still ) I'm second guessing what I'm getting into. I bought baskets of white/purple petunias and flats of deep purple, yellow and white petunias to put in the containers underneath the baskets.

Here's my hesitation....any time I've planted petunias, they have gotten very leggy -- minimum flowers and long arms with few leaves on them. I know I'm not doing something right but I don't know what it is (not enough fertilizer?? not enough water?? too much water??). I think the exposure is correct -- full sun. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to keep them looking nice throughout the season? I know this can be done because it seems like there are a lot of lovely flower beds that I admire -- mine just isn't usually one of them. And, my flowers are the ones I spend the most time looking at.

TIA for any help.

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Old 05-05-2003, 06:36 AM   #2

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Petunias are one of those plants that love a good pinching back, especially when planted in pots. The more you pinch it back the fuller it will get. They also seem to need regular fertilizing. I usually pinch it when I first get it. Yes I remove all the flowers, fertilize it and in no time it fuller and flowering like crazy. As the flowers become less and less it gets a good pruning again, more fertilizer, it's returns to a beautiful plant. Not leggy.

I actually practice this with a lot of annuals when planted. My first thing before planting is to remove all the flowers, pinching some back so the plant doubles and fertilize after it in the ground. This makes a much healthier, fuller and a plant thats loaded with blooms.
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Old 05-13-2003, 10:17 PM   #3
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Yep, what Mamu said!

While I always pinched back my annuals at time of planting and the petunias in the baskets, I never pinched the petunias right at the very beginning and also the fertilizing info you gave is new to me too. I mean, I would fertilize but not with any master plan; ie., pinch back and then fertilize. I would just do it when the mood struck. Thanks!
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Old 05-15-2003, 10:24 AM   #4
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I agree. Pinch 'em back. Also I have good luck with the Wave petunias getting really bushy and not needing to be pinched. I give them Miracle Gro (liquid) about once a month in the summer.
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Old 05-22-2003, 12:22 PM   #5
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I have a dumb question. When pinching back petunias, do you remove just the actual bloom or do you take some of the green and stem area? I have a lot of pots with petunias this year and I want to keep them from getting leggy but I'm not sure how to "pinch" them.

Thanks for any help you can give me.:D

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Old 05-22-2003, 08:35 PM   #6
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I found this information on Miraclegrow.com and it's worded better than I could have worded it myself. What I do is pinch back behind where the bloom was not just the dried up flower. If that's not right, I know someone who has better luck with petunias will reply. Hope the following helps --

Most people don’t like being pinched, but many plants do! Pinching off the tips of a few stems will encourage plants to branch out and produce more blooms.

Pinch back leggy annuals like petunias every month or so and they’ll grow back bushier and bloom anew for months. Don’t cut back the whole plant at once—shorten a third of the stems by 1/3 to 2/3 of their length each week. By the time you’ve trimmed the last batch, the first ones will be renewed.

Pinch back at an area on the stem that is above a pair of mature leaves. Use your thumb and forefinger to grasp the tip of the stem and pinch it off. Plants that benefit from pinching include petunias, zinnias, salvias, snapdragons, geraniums and impatiens.
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Old 05-23-2003, 07:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the help. I really want to keep the petunias looking full for the season.

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Old 05-24-2003, 03:50 PM   #8
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Mamu is right! Pinch the petunia!

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Old 05-11-2012, 02:02 PM   #9
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This is an OLD, old thread, but I was doing a little googling about caring for leggy petunias and found it. I was surprised to see the DisBoards come up! This post helped me figure out how to pinch back my petunias. Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2012, 02:37 AM   #10
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Several years ago, I had some nice petunias going when we were hit by a hard freeze (yes, it happens in N. Central FL). Woke up to dead flowers and sad, limp greenery. Took a chance, gave them a good haircut & watering, and they amazingly bounced back.

Didn't hesitate the other day to pick up some 1/2 dead named petunias at Lowes ("Pretty Much Picasso" and "White Russian") for 1/2 price. I was pretty ruthless in cutting them back and soaking, but they're already showing new blooms & growth.
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