Petunia ‘Supertunia Flamingo’

PET Supertunia-Flamingo-00Petunias are fashion forward, with new varieties appearing almost weekly it seems. Yet, as it is in other fashion-driven businesses, the real money to be made is in supplying good quality basics: the classic blue suit, the little black dress, the white collared shirt or blouse. For many garden centers and landscapers the standard moneymaker is the pink petunia and this year we offer a new one—‘Supertunia Flamingo’. Why would we need a new version of this classic? It turns out there are several good reasons.

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While there is a wealth of pink petunia cultivars to choose from, the quality is very uneven in flower power, habit, and shelf life. We’d have to say the best genetics for the basic petunia comes from Proven Winners—they deliver quality material consistently year after year. Even more important, they have steadily improved their breeding stock and genetics so their pink petunia has advanced over time as well.

Proven Winners released ‘Supertunia Flamingo’ this year to replace the now discontinued ‘Cotton Candy’. What appears to be simply another pretty pink face in the crowd is actually part of a larger strategy to keep ahead of the masses. We’re on board with this approach because we believe it is important for breeders to improve their core products by re-investing in them. Too many times we’ve seen innovative genetics become tired because the patent holder just milked the line while the rest of the market incorporated better qualities and surpassed them.

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‘Flamingo’ has smaller flowers but this also means that it’s a heavier bloomer. Flowers appear from the top of the plant down to the tips, resulting in thicker color coverage and a more impressive presentation. Subtle rose veining leads away from the throat on each bloom and we would classify the base color as salmon-pink. The petals are a little stiffer and thicker than usual so they stand up better in the rain and perk up sooner after a storm passes.

‘Flamingo’ is a fast-growing petunia with a slightly mounded habit, capable of quickly filling and spilling in containers such as baskets, patio pots and window boxes. This is a versatile plant, working well both in containers and in the ground. The center of the plant grows about 8–16 inches and the edges trail to 36 inches.

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An especially valuable feature of ‘Flamingo’ is its tolerance of urban pollution. Municipal plantings sometimes mean containers and beds endure heavy concentrations of cars (and their exhaust fumes) nearby. ‘Flamingo’ will actually thrive when placed in this environment.

In the landscape, plants should be placed toward the front of beds or as a general mass planting throughout a bed. Space pots about a foot or so apart. Like all petunias, ‘Flamingo’ needs to be planted in full sun to thrive. Since it won’t tolerate standing water, drainage is important also.

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Petunias are heavy feeders so they have a tendency to exhaust the soil by the time summer kicks in for real. They can bloom up a storm in July and August as long as you incorporate a slow-release fertilizer into the soil mix. Without food available they’ll run out of energy and slowly decline. Once plants head south they won’t turn around quickly, so it is better to prep the soil well up front.

After the 4th of July, petunias usually benefit from trimming. Cut away about 20% of the plant volume, starting from the bottom. This will keep the growth even, encourage more blooms and make the plants bush out without becoming lanky.

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Even with a slow-release fertilizer, petunias will benefit from feeding applications every couple of weeks. The hot weather encourages growth, which only heightens the plants’ appetite for soil nutrients. Once they get over the hump of the high summer, petunias will keep on blooming until the first hard frost.