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'Wave' rave celebrates popular spreading petunia

'Wave' rave celebrates popular spreading petunia

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It’s a “Wave” rave this summer for gardeners.

Twenty-five years ago, the “Wave Purple Classic” made its debut, bowling over gardeners with its amazing spread – up to 4 feet and sprouting blooms all along its stems — and its vigorous garden performance and versatility in garden beds, containers and hanging baskets.

In 1995, the “Wave” grown from seed also was won All America Selections honors. You might think it was developed specifically by hybridizers, but a breeder for Japanese beer company Kirin Ichiban saw a colorful wild petunia spreading in the field. The petunia was fine-tuned and submitted to AAS trials. PanAmerican Seed then partnered with Kirin to produce and distribute the “Wave Purple Classic” across North America, the story goes.

By 1999, the “Wave” brand had rooted itself into the top spot as the No. 1 best-selling petunia. It also succeeded in transforming this charming bedding plant into a fashionable statement-maker, pushing petunias into the top 10 list of bedding plants. These petunias are wonderful for spilling over pots and planters, cascading out of hanging baskets, spreading to fill blanks in borders and beds, adding lush color to landscapes and even creating flowering hedges on fences.“Wave” petunias need full sun and well-drained, moist soil. Work all-purpose fertilizer into the potting soil at planting and add water-soluble fertilizer when watering every two weeks or so. Don’t let plants get soggy. They are self-cleaning, so no deadheading is needed.

In addition to the original “Wave,” known for its ability to create a carpet of color

spreading up to 4 feet, reaching 5 to 7 inches high by 36 to 48 inches across, there are four other types of “Wave”

petunias.

“Shock Wave” produces lots of colorful petite flowers for small spaces, such as hanging baskets and as spillers and thrillers in containers. Plants reach to 6 to 8 inches high by 24 to 30 inches across.

“Tidal Wave” offers mountains of color for big gardens and containers and can be used to create flower-filled hedges on a fence or to screen unsightly areas. They reach 16 to 22 inches high by 30 to 60 inches

across.

“Easy Wave” is a mounding petunia that flowers freely all season and is tolerant of hot and cool weather.

Plant reach 6 to 12 inches high aby 30 to 39 inches across, and a range of color mixes are available.

“Double Wave” is one of my favorites for its frilly and lush double flowers. The plants can grow from 6 to 8 inches high and 18 to 24 inches across.

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