Last summer, I noticed some beautiful Headliner (TM) Sky petunias at a client’s home when watering her plants. I had seen them in grower trade magazines and didn’t think much of them at that time, but her use of them in her pots and window boxes got me a bit more interested and excited about these galaxies of spotted white patterns on the sky petunia’s blooms. I remember thinking to myself as I watered her plants, “Wow, she has some of those sky petunias I read about…I wonder where she got them from?”
If you haven’t seen them before, they have speckled white patterns, spots or splashes of white areas reminiscent of a galaxy of stars or perhaps, a Star Wars themed look! A purple one caught my attention yesterday when browsing a nursery because my sister-in-law’s favorite color is purple. I know it is too early to put petunias outdoors right now in early May because they prefer warmer temperatures and are not frost tolerant, but since this nursery had some small sized pots of these, I grabbed 8 of them. Two of the purple, and then grabbed 2 reds, 2 pinks, and 2 off pinks.
I kind of felt I was taking a chance because I know I will have to maintain them indoors for a few weeks, but these plants looked very healthy with no signs of problems. I know petunias can be prone to issues from aphids or rot at stem bases, so I considered those plant care aspects, but I want to try some out this summer. I will watch them carefully for the next two to three weeks, water appropriately, and all that jazz until I plant them into a combination, hanger, or perhaps a dish garden.
So, this morning, I decided to read up on them via some google searches. Imagine my surprise, when I discovered the plant breeder/inventor is an Italian Plant Breeder, and a woman! I mean, I just got back from Rome, Italy. Life is funny like that sometimes! Seriously, a flower captures my attention enough to start researching it – and she is Italian! Bravo!
I believe this is she above in this Italian magazine I found on google this morning. Must be as she is holding those petunias. Ah, if only I was a scientist!! LOL! The article is written in Italian, and I didn’t learn enough Italian to read this but pretty cool to find this now as I was just in Italy two weeks ago. I’m also impressed by the list of patents she has at this website:
I located a list of her plant patents on the website listed in the above URL. Yes, plants have patents which means plant propagation is prohibited, and enforced by plant growers. When you look at plant labels, check out the patent number on the bottom of the plant tag. I’m sure propagating these on a large scale without obtaining the approriate approval is a no no in the bz, so that just FYI stuff.
I typically avoid petunias in my container gardens because they need cleaning a bit meaning removing dead blooms, they tire out late summer into fall (and I like long bloomers into the Autumn season), and I guess they are somewhat traditional, but these sky series are a bit more intriguing to me. And the tag indicates they bloom into autumn, so that will be remained to be seen as I use these new ones. I’ll be sure to take photos all season. Also, petunias are prone to insects in certain environments, so I tend to stay away from them. I prefer the smaller ones as noted below.
In researching them further, day and night temperatures will either increase or decrease the splashes of white patterns on the blooms. This website called ZME Science, noted below, explains this scenario pretty well:
The white pattern of these flowers isn’t constant — it only emerges when there’s a big temperature difference between day and night during the summer. Basically, you need hot days above 24°C (75°F) and colder nights of around 17°C (63°F). When it’s hot during both the day and the night, the coloring becomes almost solid purple, and when the opposite happens, it moves towards white.By ZME Science
I noticed the blooms have a delicate scent and I’m sure hummingbirds will notice these. My idea is to monitor how they grow, note how the color changes, and be mindful of the fact these need to be watched for insects before I plant them out into larger containers.
They are sun lovers blooming from spring to autumn per the plant tag. They like medium moisture and reach a height of 10-16 inches. Full sun means 6 or more hours a day. I will not put them outside till around Memorial Day or put them out on warm days until I feel it is safe from cold night temperatures. It is best to wait for consistent mid 50-60’s at night for warm loving annuals and/or tropical plants. Petunias are annuals here in our CT gardening plant zones.
In the past, I primarily prefer Calibrachoa and smaller petunias in my dish gardens or patio pots. I’ve paired them up with succulents many times. Here are a few photos of those. The add bloom power to the arrangements, but take note, often times the flowering petunia plants overtook the planters by the end of summer and covered the succulents.
As for a combination, hmmm, I really will be using my eye power to figure out the best combo’s with these. I think because of their unusual patterns, it may be somewhat tricky to decide. I find when I put plants next to each other and let my eyes do the talking is the best method. You could leave them solo in a hanger as well. If I find some combinations I really find striking with theses, I’ll be sure to post photos here later this year.
Have you tried these already? What are your thoughts and experiences?!
Thank you for visiting.
Located in Broad Brook, CT
http://www.ContainerCrazyCT.com (you are here, my blog)
See a couple Italy photos below!