On Gardening: This Little Indigo petunia will steal your heart


New at the garden center this year is one of those petunias that is a rare jewel of a color. It’s one that catches your eye and stops you in your tracks; it is Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo. By all means don’t let the mini throw you for even a second. This is the little indigo that could, or should I say does, deliver riveting beauty and maximum performance in the landscape or mixed containers.

You have to love indigo. If you asked me, is it a little blue or a little violet, I would answer yes. Throughout the day you’ll see both; it will dumfound and confuse you all while you are falling passionately in love with it. A word of caution goes with this plant. When you see it for sale at the garden center, make that the instant you put it in your cart. Don’t ponder or go to the next aisle as you think about it, or it will be gone.

So, you may be thinking what is a Supertunia Mini Vista? It is a petunia that will typically reach 12 inches tall and spread 24 inches versus the Supertunia Vista that can reach 2 feet tall and spread 48 inches. The Mini Vista flowers are also slightly smaller. The Supertunia Mini however packs great vigor and perseverance allowing it to excel in the landscape or containers.

Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo, though new to the garden center this year, has racked up an impressive two dozen awards in University Trials across the country. A few of the most noteworthy are Best Petunia Penn State, Top Performer Texas Tech, Perfect Score All Season Oklahoma State.

Just like the rainbow needs indigo, your garden needs it too. If you ask your favorite search engine what is the opposite color of indigo, you most likely will find answers like orange, yellow and even chartreuse. These all sound good to “The Garden Guy”; I’m not sure there is a color of flower that will clash with this little indigo.

This year I watched my color guru son, James, combine it with Rockin Golden Delicious pineapple sage, and in another area, he paired it with Snow Princess sweet alyssum and Calliope red geraniums for a red white and blue theme. The one that surprised me and looked as celebratory as Carnival in Rio was his partnership with Calliope red geraniums and Luscious Royale Cosmo lantana that itself, is a kaleidoscope of ever-changing color. I keep shooting photos of this one trying to do it justice.

All of the plantings are in fertile organic rich soil, and if they are in containers, I assure you they are the best James can get his hands on. It will be a long hot summer and the key to the green thumb is how brown it first gets in soil preparation.

Feeding these workhorse flowers will be important if you want them lasting until pansy planting time. Since containers get watered daily it stands to reason that fertilization is regular regimen. This most often is accomplished as part of the water process using water-soluble fertilizer.

One of the most critical horticultural techniques over a long hot summer is cutting them back. This may be right after the July 4 celebration and even again in mid-August. Don’t be afraid to remove up to 20 percent and to keep the food coming. They can survive the dog days and look good going into fall.

While “The Garden Guy” has fallen madly in love with Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo know there are seven colors in the Mini Vista group. So, your passion may be Supertunia Mini Vista Sangria, Morning Glory or others. The season is young so make this the weekend you get out and do some flower planting!

(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.)

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