Regular readers may recall that I am a big fan of the Wave petunias. I’ve been growing petunias for as long as I can remember, and when the Wave varieties first appeared I couldn’t wait to try them. The Petunia ‘Wave Purple’ was a 1995 All-America Selections winner, and other colors were soon to be introduced. I loved the original Purple Wave, and for that matter all the Waves will brighten up any area with their colorful and seemingly never-ending display of blooms. They have certainly made growing petunias a lot easier with their productivity and easy going nature.
It’s been almost 20 years after the original Wave was introduced, there are now five different Wave series, and they come in more than a dozen different colors. There is truly a Wave petunia for every growing situation, with types for containers and planters (Easy Wave), hanging baskets (Shock Wave and Double Wave), and even some that will form a miniature hedge or climb a structure like a fence (Tidal Wave). Unlike older petunias, you don’t need to remove the spent flowers on the Wave petunias. They do however require an ample supply of water and periodic fertilizing throughout the growing season.
While petunias in general are not necessarily a great source for nectar or pollen, they do serve to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. I wish I could say they are deer-resistant, but our hungry deer herd seem to be quite fond of all the different Waves!
The only drawback to the Waves is that the plants can be expensive to buy if you want a lot of them. At least they are expensive around here. So, a few years ago I stopped buying transplants and began starting them myself from seed. I found that for the price of one plant at a nursery I could buy a packet of seeds that would grow ten or more plants. That was a deal I just couldn’t pass up!
The seeds themselves are tiny, and are almost always sold pelleted to make them easier to handle. Petunias do take a long time from seed to flower, so I usually start the seeds indoors in early February. I use a heating mat to give the seeds the heat they require for germination, and they are normally up in a week or less. You can read about the whole process I use here: Do The Wave. By late April or early May they are ready to plant outside.
Whether you buy transplants or start them yourself from seed, if you’re looking for an easy-to-grow annual flower, Wave petunias are hard to beat. With a variety to suit almost any use, and lots of colors to choose from, there is surely a Wave petunia you will adore!
To see my other Saturday Spotlights, visit the Variety Spotlights page.
I love petunias, but gave them up when I developed my solanum problem. Occasionally they even self seed around here a bit. Even last year I had one pop up on me though I hadn’t grown them in a couple of years. Sadly they weren’t reliable about it like the sweet alyssum are.
Great post Dave! I grew petunias for the first time this year from seed and they are just starting to bloom. I will have to get them in sooner like you, I don’t think I started mine until early April so next year I will give February a try. My wife will be excited to learn the name of Wave. She has asked me for several years for the trailing type petunias now I know what to look for!!
Beautiful Dave! Are the ‘waves’ all hybrids? Have you tried saving seeds from them? I’ve rooted a branch from a petunia plant and kept it as a house plant during the winter months once. Worked out pretty good!
As far as I know, all the Waves are hybrids. I have never tried to save seed from them. They do root pretty easily though, and I have also had some of the Waves make it through the winter when protected a bit.