Culture Tips for Petunia Double Wave

March 21, 2003 - 09:47

These double, cascading, vegetative petunias really put on a show.

The Double Wave series' spreading habit makes this petunia
great for basket production and for mass planting in outdoor beds. Cousin to
the popular Wave series, the Double Wave series shares many of the same
characteristics. Long-day plants are covered in medium-size flowers that
possess excellent weather tolerance, but these flowers are fully double.

Double Wave starters are offered as lighted 105-cell tray
liners in seven colors: Lavender, Misty Lilac, Pink, Purple, Rose, White and,
new for 2003, Blue Vein. They are available in two forms: as a rooted cutting
(RC) and a tissue culture liner (TC). Rooted cuttings are the cheaper of the
two options, but TC liners produce multiple shoots and grow rapidly to fill
baskets and large containers with fewer liners.

Scheduling

Total crop time.
Total crop time is 12-16 weeks in the spring and 9-13 weeks in the summer.

Transplant to flower.
During the spring, transplant to flower for Double Waves is 5-10 weeks under
long days. With one plant per 6-inch pot, finish time in the spring is 5-7
weeks. With four plants RC or two TC per 12-inch basket, finish time is 7-10
weeks. During the summer, time is sped up by one week at 4-9 weeks under long
days with high light and a minimum night temperature of 65° F. With one plant
per 6-inch pot, finish time in the summer is 4-6 weeks, while a 12-inch basket
with four RC plants or two TC plants finishes in 6-9 weeks in the summer.

Growing On

Double Waves work best in containers four inches or larger
with one plant per 4- to 6-inch pot. Twelve-inch baskets require 3-4 plants
using the RC form and two using the TC clump liners.

Use a well-drained, disease-free, soilless media with a pH
of 5.5-6.3 and an initial nutrient charge. Night temperatures should be
55-65° F, day temperatures 65-75° F.

Double Wave petunias are long-day plants, requiring days
longer than 12 hours to initiate flowering. The plugs will have been lighted
during their rooting stage, but they may require additional supplemental
lighting after transplanting if the days are less than 12 hours. Double Waves
will sometimes begin flowering with less than 12 hours in high light areas.

Both HID and incandescent lights are equally effective for
flower induction; however, plants grown under incandescent lights will stretch more
and need more PGRs to control plant size. Incandescent lights will also affect
plant habit by causing shoots to be more upright than they would be under short
days. Plants will resume their normal spreading habit under natural light
conditions in the garden. Keep light levels as high as possible while
maintaining moderate temperatures. High light levels or PGR applications may
cause pink splashes or stripes to appear on the blooms of 'Double Wave White'.

Fertilizers and Growth Regulators

Double Waves require more fertilizer than is usually
recommended for petunias. Apply a balanced fertilizer with every irrigation at
a rate of 200-250 ppm nitrogen. An optional top dressing with slow-release
fertilizer can be applied 10 days before shipping.

For 6-inch pots and hanging baskets, a B-Nine spray at
3,000-5,000 ppm 7-10 days after transplanting, followed by another application
seven days later, is recommended. For 6-inch pots, use a Bonzi drench one time
at 5 ppm, 3-4 weeks after transplanting or when shoots have reached the edge of
the pot. Follow with a Bonzi spray one time at 30 ppm after visible bud for
additional control. For hanging baskets, use a Bonzi spray one time at 30 ppm,
3-4 weeks after transplanting. If necessary, a second Bonzi spray can be applied.

Another option for 6-inch pots is to apply a Bonzi spray at
50-60 ppm or a tank mix of 30 ppm Bonzi and 2,500 ppm B-Nine 2-3 weeks after
transplant, with a possible repeat application 10 days later. For baskets, a
Bonzi drench at 3-5 ppm may be used as an alternate application. Repeat
drenches are not advised, as they are found to hold plants longer than desired.

The Double Wave Series is available from Twyford
International, Apopka, Fla.

About The Author

Carrie Burns is associate editor of GPN.

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