Steve Bender

 

Photo: Steve Bender

Always on the lookout for great plants and ideas for YOU, Grumpy recently attended Ball Horticultural Company's plant trials in lovely Ventura, California. And out of all the wondrous visions my eagle eyes did hit upon, here is my favorite -- a tower of velvety red petunias. Now get this -- there are only three petunia plants in here.

That's because the petunias are Tidal Wave 'Red Velour' petunias. Planted in the ground, they spread vigorously, growing 6 to 12 inches high and more than 3 feet wide. But confine them in a pot and give them a support, like a tomato cage, and they climb -- not with tendrils like a true vine, but by growing up and around and through.

Wouldn't you like to have this planter on your porch, deck, or patio? You can. Here's all you have to do.

1. Go to your garden center this spring and buy three (yes, just three) 'Red Velour' Tidal Wave petunias.

2. Plant them in a cheapo, black plastic nursery pot that's filled with good potting soil, has a drainage hole, and is 10 to 12 inches wide.

3. Place a cheapo, metal tomato cage that's about 3 feet tall in your cheapo plastic pot. The cage should look like a cylinder, not like a cone, so it's just as wide at the bottom as it is on the top.

4. Now slip the entire cheapo pot inside a nice pot that's slightly wider, say, 1 to 4 inches. You can find really good-looking, glazed pots from Vietnam at your local home and garden centers. They'll cost roughly $20 to $30. Can you swing that?

Caring For Your Petunia Planter Petunias like sun, so give them plenty of it. But don't worry that these petunias will melt in the sun's glare like old petunias used to do. Wave petunias thrive in our hot, humid summers, bloom continuously, and don't need deadheading. But giving you all of those flowers works up a healthy appetite, so feed these petunias. Fertilize every 10 days with water-soluble, bloom-booster fertilizer. I'd also throw in a tablespoon of granular, slow-release fertilizer, like Dynamite Flower & Vegetable Plant Food 13-13-13, right after planting. Keep the soil moist, but avoid wetting the foliage when you water.

You can do this. Anybody can do this. So go do this!

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