The Ultras are an exciting hybrid Grandiflora series that feature characteristics that growers can depend on: a compact and spreading habit, early flowering, and increased weather and disease tolerance. They are early flowering with a base branching habit and, unlike many Grandifloras are very weather-resistant and bounce back quickly after rain.
Unsurpassed in terms of garden performance, the Ultras feature large, colourful 10cm (4in) blooms, each with slightly ruffled margins. Some are veined and some bi-coloured, either striped -‘Star’, or edged in contrasting colours - ‘Picotee’.
A favourite for garden centres, growers rely on their performance not only in plugs but also for early colour sales in packs and containers. With uniform flowering time between the colours, the constantly improved colours make this a very dependable series. These lovely petunias are easy to keep uniform and gorgeous all season long, as they perform well in large containers and mass plantings.
These compact plants spread to around 25 to 30cm (10 to 15in). They rapidly fill in large areas, cover the plants in a multitude of showy colour, yet are so low on maintenance; they are perfect for our busy lifestyles and are quite remarkable in the garden and in baskets and window-boxes.
The Ultra series of eighteen separate colours are:
Blue, Blue Star, Blue Vein, Burgundy, Crimson Star, Light Pink Vein, Lilac, Pink, Plum, Red, Red Star, Rose, Rose Star, Salmon, Salmon Morn, Scarlet, Sky Blue, White.
Sowing: Sow indoors from February, 8 to 10 weeks before last frost.
Petunias flower early and are covered with stunning blooms. They like the sun and often bloom within two months from seed and continue throughout the season until killed by the frost. They are easily cultivated, requiring rich soil and full sun. They grow best in high-moisture areas with well-drained soils, but can adapt to most soil types. Established plants are drought resistant, requiring less dry-weather maintenance than other plants.
Plant seeds 6mm (¼in) inch apart, in rows 7cm (3in) apart and gently firm (especially the corners), so you don't get erosion when watering. Do not cover the seed, as the seeds need light to germinate.
Provide light and constant warmth of 21 to 27°C (70 to 80°F). Use a bottom heat source for best results. F1 hybrids tend to germinate better at the higher end, at around 27C (80F). The soil temp should not fluctuate and must not drop below 21°C (70°F). Finely mist and cover seed tray with plastic or paper to conserve moisture.
Check the compost for dryness regularly. If this is the case, add a little warm clean water from below, being careful not to over water. Too much water can kill seedlings, as it can spread "damping off fungi", and encourage other moulds and diseases.
Germination usually takes 10 to 21 days depending on soil and temperature conditions. Remove cover as soon as seeds sprout. Keep moist and do not use cold water as it lowers the soil temp and weakens tender seedlings.
When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow on in cooler conditions, around 13 to 16°C (55 to 60°F) for stocky plants.
Gradually acclimatize to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 30cm (12in) apart in a sunny spot on light well drained soil. For pot plants, transplant the seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots, grow cool, well ventilated and give plenty of light, but shade from direct sun.
When plants are 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) tall, and ground is warm, transplant to their final positions in pots or into the garden, spacing 20 to 30cm (8 to12in) apart. Plant in a full sun location. They will tolerate light shade but blooming will be reduced. Use a low-nitrogen/high-phosphorus fertilizer sparingly. Do not over-water or over fertilise, Overwatering will yellow and kill the plants.
After planting into baskets, when established give them a good spray from a watering can. The weight of the water flow will produce a perfect cascading habit.
For denser plants and more flowers, pinch or shear when 15cm (6in) tall and keep faded flowers picked.
Petunias are sticky and will attract greenfly so keep an eye on them. Don't over water in the winter and keep them well ventilated.
Petunias are generally sold and grown as half hardy annuals (they will tolerate slight frost and flower in the first year from seed) but in their native countries of Brazil and Argentina they are a perennial.
The plants can be over wintered by lifting in the autumn, trimmed back to about 15cm (6in), then potted up into a well drained potting compost. The plants can then be placed on a cool 13°C (55°F) well lit window sill and planted out in the early summer.
Window boxes, containers, tubs, hanging baskets and pot plants.
This popular flower derived its name from French, which took the word petun 'tobacco' from a Tupi-Guarani language. Trailing petunias were once listed as forms of P. pendula.
Botanically speaking it is in the family Solanaceae, together with tobacco, tomato, potatoes and chili peppers.
The species was first sent from South America to Paris in 1823. It was discovered in South America by the explorer James Tweedie, (after whom the genus Tweedia is named), who sent specimens to the Glasgow Botanical Garden in 1831.
Most of the varieties seen in gardens are hybrids (Petunia x hybrida), they were among the first ornamentals to be bred for the bedding plant market in the 1950s.
The origin of P. x hybrida is thought to be by hybridisation between P. axillaris (the large white or night-scented petunia) and P. integrifolia (the violet-flowered petunia). P. axillaris bears night-fragrant, buff-white blossoms with long, thin tubes and somewhat flattened openings. P. integrifolia has spreading stems with upright tips, and small lavender to purple flowers.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 100 Pelleted Seeds Seed Form Easy-to-sow pelleted seed packed in a plastic phial. Family Solanaceae Genus Petunia Species x hybrida Cultivar Ultra Series Common Name Grandiflora Petunia. Pelleted Seeds Hardiness Tender Perennial often used as an Annual Flowers Very large blooms, 9 to 10cm (3½ to 4in) wide. Natural Flower Time Summer through to first frosts Height Pot 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in). Garden 23 to 30cm (9 to 12in). Spread 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in) Position Full sun for best performance Soil Well-drained/light Time to Sow Sow indoors from February. Growing Period 65 to 75 days to first flower. Germination 10 to 21 days at 21 to 27°C (70 to 80°F).