On Gardening: Petunias’ hearts paving the way for Blind Love

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The past couple of years there has been a lot of love in the world of petunias, thanks to one unique variety by the name of Supertunia Lovie Dovie. We have all seen petunias with stripes, some stars, others halos and blushes, but this is a special one with hearts.

It’s funny, Proven Winners doesn’t tout them as hearts, but rather white and pink. They let the name “Lovie Dovie” say it all. It is like you fall in love with a Supertunia and the hearts magically appear.

This year they have a special national recipe for you to buy or create yourself. It is called Blind Love. Oddly the phrase itself is a bit of an oxymoron, with this recipe suggesting you would love it even if you couldn’t see it. To me, petunias have a wonderful fragrance, but I seriously doubt that is what they are referring to.

Then you might possibly be thinking they are suggesting love is blind. In other words, you would love this recipe even with all its imperfections. But it has none. Maybe they were really thinking you would fall madly in love with this recipe and it would be the highlight of the 2022 growing season.

There is a high probability this is their answer because as you look at a Supertunia that has white hearts edged in hot rose pink, you get a smile and a wonderment of how such things were even created in the world of plants. The professionally created recipe includes Supertunia Royal Magenta, and Superbena Whiteout, which may just be the best verbena ever.

While this recipe is definitely simple, it has award winners written all over it. I guess you would think that, after all, the ingredients of the recipe are award winners. But here is what I have noticed over the last few years, and you will too: Whatever you use Supertunia Lovie Dovie with becomes a stunning combination.

James, my color design guru son, has been dazzling clients with his creations at shopping centers and office complexes the past few years thanks in large part to the inclusion of Supertunia Lovie Dovie into his designs. One of my favorites was like the flower world’s A-team.

He used Supertunia Lovie Dovie with Supertunia Vista Fuchsia, Luscious Royale Cosmo lantana and Truffula Pink gomphrena with a giant Alocasia elephant’s ear. This was like a tropical mix adorned with pollinators. In a similar container he added Hydrangea paniculata, Little Quick Fire.

A look at Supertunia Lovie Dovie’s resume will be like the flower versions of the Academy Awards: Top Performer Michigan State, University of Minnesota, Ohio State, University of Delaware, Cornell, Penn State and University of Florida. Toss in a couple of Perfect Score All Season Awards from Oregon State and Oklahoma State, and you begin to get the idea.

These petunias will give you their hearts, if you will, if you select a site in full sun. As good as these new petunias are, don’t expect wonderful success without proper bed preparation. Take the time to work in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

More than likely, you’ll be growing these in baskets or mixed planters. These will need to be fed regularly because as you apply water frequently, each dose leaches out nutrients. I like to use a diluted, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks.

You will really be amazed to see the new shoots that will initiate if you maintain your fertilization program. Don’t be afraid to cut your petunias back. You will often find that cutting back and adding a little fertilizer helps them survive August and look wonderful through the fall. Don’t forget those Perfect Score All Season awards.

I’m sure you will agree that in 2022, we could all use a little Blind Love — and Lovie Dovie will help you get there in your garden.

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(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)

©2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

This story was originally published March 17, 2022 4:00 AM.

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