Petunia Companion Plants – What Are They?
The genus of petunias (Prunus) includes over 1,000 species, with many subspecies. There are several varieties of each variety. Some varieties have flowers only once or twice a year; others bloom all year round. Most varieties grow well in most climates, but some require special care when grown indoors because they prefer cool temperatures.
There are two main types of petunias: those that produce edible fruits and those that do not. The fruit is a small greenish-yellow seed pod containing seeds.
When ripe, it contains a sweet pulp which tastes like honey. Petunias are used primarily in cooking, but they make excellent additions to salads and soups. They add color and flavor to dishes without overpowering them.
Many varieties of petunias are used for their leaves. These include:
Amaranth (Amaranthus caryophyllus) – A very popular ornamental plant that produces large clusters of yellow flowers in spring and summer. It grows best in full sun and prefers moist soil.
It is a good choice for containers. Amaranth is a fast growing plant, so it needs regular watering during hot weather months, especially if it’s planted near other plants or fences.
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans massangeana) – Also called cornstalk plant or ribbon plant, this herbaceous perennial grows up to 15 feet tall and is topped with a cluster of yellow flowers. It prefers temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and should be planted in fertile, well-drained soil.
Like other Dracaena plants, it needs moist soil to thrive. It tolerates a wide range of pH.
Flamingo plant (Anthurium spp.) – This flowering perennial grows best in warm temperatures and bright indirect light.
It requires evenly moist soil and should be watered regularly. To prevent rotting, the base of the plant should not sit in water. Flamingo plants grow best in well-drained soil. The plant will not tolerate temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Freesia (Freesia spp.) – A popular cut flower, freesia produces single or double flowers that are white, yellow, orange, pink or red in color.
The flowers of this herbaceous perennial are available in several shapes including simple bells and pompons. They bloom in mid to late spring and prefer dry soil. They grow best in full sun, but require some protection from afternoon sun because they can burn easily.
Gloriosa (Gloriosa superba) – Also known as elephant ears or crab’s eye plants, gloriaosas are flowering plants that produce large, colorful flowers. There are several varieties, some species and hybrids.
They grow well in fertile, well-drained soil and prefer full sun but can also grow in partial shade. They are susceptible to a wide range of diseases and pests, including mealy bugs, thrips, mites, nematodes, root-knot nematodes, scale insects and whitefly.
Impatien (Impatiens spp.) – Also known as bobsleigh vine or impatience, this flowering perennial grows in USDA zones 5 through 11.
It is commonly grown as an annual in colder climates. It grows best in moist soil and requires regular watering. The plant should be fertilized every two weeks during the growing season. The flowers are available in a wide range of colors including white, yellow, orange, pink, green, red and purple.
Petunia (Petunia spp.) – This popular annual produces clusters of flowers that are red, pink or white.
It grows best in full sun and prefers evenly moist soil. It grows well in a container and tolerates mild frost.
If you are planting petunias in anticipation of using their flowers in a craft project, you can plant them when the temperature is mild and the soil is warm. They can also be planted in the fall for bloom the next spring.
With proper care and the right varieties, your flowers can grow and bloom for many years.
Planting and growing flowers is only one part of the process. Once they begin to bloom, you need to harvest the flowers and this may vary based on what you intend to do with them.
If you’re making a bouquet for a loved one, you may wish to keep all the leaves and stems so that they are well-balanced in the final product. If you’re making a corsage or boutonniere, you may want to trim any extra foliage and leaves.
Never remove more than a third of the plant when harvesting flowers. This weakens the plant and could kill it.
If working with pesticide-treated plants, be sure that all chemicals have been washed off before handling your flowers or working on your floral design. Chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and cause allergic reactions in some people.
Flowers that grow near heavy traffic or are constantly brushed against can become a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Certain types of pollen can also trigger allergic reactions in susceptible people.
Be aware that certain flowers should not be brought into the house and kept where there are small children or people with respiratory problems.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Complete Guide to Companion Planting: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Garden Successful by D Mayer – 2011 – books.google.com
Roses Love Garlic: Companion Planting and Other Secrets of Flowers by L Riotte – 2012 – books.google.com
Carolinas getting started garden guide: Grow the best flowers, shrubs, trees, vines & groundcovers by T Bost – 2014 – books.google.com