Petunias are summer staples in annual beds or in containers, appreciated for their ability to cascade and overflow with flowers. These beauties add stunning pops of colour wherever they are needed, in shades ranging from classic white to dramatic black and almost every hue in between. 

These showstoppers require some attention to look their best. Once the heat of midsummer sets in, they can begin to appear a bit more tired and sparse than a tidy gardener may like. Luckily, there are a few maintenance tasks you can consider that will revitalize your petunias throughout the summer season. 

Firstly, it’s vital to keep up with watering, especially for petunias planted in pots. South African heat is intense and can dry out containers quickly, causing leaves to wilt and blooms to fade. They don’t need constantly moist soil (this can quickly cause rotting), but should be drenched every few days when temperatures are high to keep them cool. 

Petunias appreciate full sun positions, allowing them to deliver the best possible blooms. However, in the peak heat of summer, midday and afternoon sun can become much stronger than they prefer. On very hot days, give your petunias some reprieve in the afternoons by moving them to a lightly shady spot. As long as they still receive a full morning of direct sun, you should still see an abundance of blooms. 

Once the stems of your petunias start looking sparse, typically around January, give them a light trim by cutting back the branches a few centimeters. This pruning session will encourage new growth with denser leaves that give new petunias a new lease on life. 



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