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Supertunias are a super garden hit
As gardeners look forward to the spring planting season, many go in droves to the various garden shows and displays to see some of the newest and flashiest flowers on the market. This weekend at the Gulf Coast Garden & Patio Show was no exception.
Mississippi gardeners got the chance to see the new Mississippi Medallion-winning plants for 2012. This year’s flowering plant winner is Vista Bubblegum supertunia. The flowers are a clear, bright pink and have performed well in Mississippi gardens the past few years.
Vista Bubblegum is a vigorous plant with a 3-foot spread at maturity. It can grow up to 2 feet tall. When mass-planted in the landscape bed, it creates a pink groundcover. Vista Bubblegum is also a good choice for containers and hanging baskets where the flowering branches and shoots can cascade over the edge.
Vista Bubblegum is one in the group called supertunias. Several colors are available, and you should include these in your landscape bed planting as well. I especially like the stunning effect of the pink and silvery flowers when you combine Vista Bubblegum with Vista Silverberry.
A supertunia that has grown well in my garden is Pretty Much Picasso. This plant has unique pink petals with a purplish throat. The edges of the flowers are lime green and tend to blend into the foliage, making it difficult to see where the flowers end and the foliage begins.
Another benefit is that all of the supertunias are butterfly and hummingbird magnets.
Vista Bubblegum and the other supertunias are self-cleaning and do not need to be deadheaded. If the plants start to look a little tired, rejuvenate them by trimming them back about a third.
Petunias can be grown in the ground, in containers and in hanging baskets. In-ground spacing is generally best when planted on 18-inch centers. This allows most petunias to form a lush, full mat full of flowers. Always plant the transplants at the original cell-pack or pot depth.
Plant in the full sun for the best flowering and growth. Keep the soil or potting medium consistently moist. If you let the plants dry out and start to wilt, this shuts off the flowering for up to a couple weeks. Be especially careful when growing your supertunias in containers, as those in containers will dry out much faster than those in the ground.
Early morning watering will help keep the soil moist. During the hottest temperatures, you may need to water containers and hanging baskets a second time in the afternoon.
Supertunias are heavy feeders, so be sure to apply a controlled-release fertilizer at planting. For the best growth and flower production, feed these plants on a regular basis. I recommend using water-soluble fertilizer when you water the plants.
When you’re shopping this spring, also keep on the lookout for Mississippi Medallion winners from past years. These are great plants to plant and enjoy in your landscape and garden each year.