About 15 years ago, Purple Wave petunia came on the scene and turned my concept of petunias on its head. Petunias – wimpy plants that turn their toes up at the heat. Purple Wave changed everything – here was a gaudy, wide spreading, laugh-at-the-Texas-heat petunia that thrived in East Texas. My horticulture buddies in other parts of the State were not as impressed, since apparently it didn’t look so hot growing in their high pH soil, getting iron chlorosis and wimping out.
But the breeding has only gotten better over the years, and many more spreading, heat-tolerant petunias have been introduced,. Several years ago, two petunia varieties were designated as Texas Superstars – Tidal Wave™ Silver and Tidal Wave™ Cherry. The names aptly describe both their spreading habit and colors. And, since they are Texas Superstars, they’ve been proven to thrive in just about every condition Texas has to offer. Give them full sun and plenty of room to spread, and you have a great show on your hands.
So, it is always fun to look at the petunia entries at the Horticulture Field Day at Overton every June. The 100+ degree days leading up to the Field Day are a real test for any plant! There were lots of great ones, and some that look like grandiflora petunias used to look in a Texas summer (wimpy). Tidal Wave Silver and Tidal Wave Cherry were again represented, and looked as great as ever. A few others that caught my eye were Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, Supertunia Lavender Skies, and Supertunia Sangria Charm by Proven Winners, and Soleil Purple by Ball.