The petunia is one of the most popular bedding plants. A reliable way to introduce long lasting color to your garden, these versatile plants flower throughout the summer months. Pleasingly easy to grow, the petunia’s colors are ideal for flower beds, containers and hanging baskets.
This guide to petunia colors is intended to highlight some of the most popular and vibrant varieties currently available. We will also explain the differences between each type of petunia, enabling you to make the right selection for your garden, and provide you with some useful growing tips.
The many petunia colors make for popular bedding plants.
Why Grow Petunia Plants in Your Garden?
Members of the Nightshade or Solanaceae alongside Tomatoes, Eggplants and Potatoes, petunia flowers are prized for their brilliant colors. A reliable bedding plant, these eye-catching plants are great companions to evergreens and flowering shrubs.
In pots and hanging baskets they work well with a range of other flowering plants including Geraniums, Calibrachoa, Snapdragons, Delphiniums and Alliums. The large blooms, particularly those of the Grandiflora series, are also good for dried flower arrangements.
There are over 35 recognized types of petunia plants. Most are native to South America. The different types can be divided by their growth habit, most types display either an upright, bushy growth habit or trailing and spreading habit.
Despite the many different petunia colors, there are just 4 main cultivars. These are:
Grandiflora, this is the most common and largest variety, Grandiflora flowers are typically 3 to 4 inches wide. Displaying a mounding growth habit, Grandifloras can reach a height of 12 to 15 conditions, making them a good choice for the front of a flower bed or container. Not all Grandifloras grow straight up, some have a cascading growth habit making them a good choice for hanging baskets and window boxes.
An old variety, Grandifloras tend to produce less flowers per plant than other varieties. Unlike new hybrids, these plants require regular deadheading in order to encourage repeat flowering throughout the summer months.
Multiflora flowers are smaller than Grandiflora blooms, usually 2 inches in diameter. Multifloras typically have a more compact growth habit. While they may be smaller than Grandifloras, Multiflora varieties display a more prolific growth habit. The plants are also more resilient to rain, humidity and heat. With just a little pruning or pinching out, Multiflora specimens continue to flower throughout the spring and summer months.
Varieties with a profuse flowering habit are particularly colorful.
Milliflora are one of the smallest varieties. Ideal for container gardens and window boxes, Miliflora plants rarely exceed 8 inches in height and spread. The Calibrachoa-like flowers are even smaller, typically 1 inch in diameter.
Floribunda is a hybrid, combining the best features of the Grandiflora and Multiflora varieties. Like Multifloras, Floribunda plants are tolerant of poor weather and require minimal deadheading. Floribunda plants also share the vigorous growth habit of the Multiflora variety whilst producing large, Grandiflora sized blooms.
In recent years, other varieties have been developed. One of the most popular is the Supertunia series. Supertunias are prized for their vigorous growth and flowering habit. They are also self cleaning, meaning that you do not need to pinch out or deadhead spent blooms. Both mounded and trailing types of Supertina are available.
Spreading types are also increasingly popular. Also known as the Wave series, these are quick growing, low maintenance flowers. Sometimes referred to as hedgifloras, they are pleasingly tolerant of tough weather conditions. Flowers develop along the length of the stem, creating an impressive spilling effect if planted in hanging baskets or allowed to spill over the edge of walls or planters. In favorable conditions, Wave types can achieve a spread of up to 4 ft.
Trailing varieties are ideal for baskets and windowsill boxes.
Whichever variety, or varieties you decide to grow, there are many different petunia colors to choose from. As well as a range of colors the flowers also vary in appearance. Some blooms have ruffled edged white others are bi-colored. Some types produce single flowers and others are double flowering.
The 25 Best Petunia Colors for Your Garden
The following varieties are amongst the most popular or interesting currently available.
1 Aladdin is popular for its large trumpet shaped petals. A vigorous growth habit, reaching 10 inches tall, the Aladdin cultivar is ideal for pots and borders. The flowers of Aladdin form in a range of colors including blue and pink.
Large flowering varieties are particularly attractive.
2 Amore is a showy, multi-colored producing floral plant. Amore’s large trumpet shaped blooms are ideal for introducing vibrant colors to the front of borders or container gardens. The bi-colored blooms come in a range of colors and combinations including burgundy and gold and raspberry and white.
3 Bingo Perfectunia, part of the Bingo series, is a small plant which produces medium to large sized flowers. The plant’s mild creeping habit makes it ideal for pots and hanging baskets. As well as solid colors you can also find variegated flowering types in shades of pink, orange, red, yellow, peach and white.
4 Blanket is a hybrid variety which vigorously produces flowers with small petals. Reaching a height of 10 inches and a spread of 3 ft, Blanket is ideal for adding color to pots and hanging baskets. Colors include rose, deep purple, yellow as well as variegated cultivars.
Variegated varieties add further interest and color.
5 Bravo is another variety with a vigorous growth habit. A reliable way to add color to the garden throughout the flowering season, Bravo rarely exceeds 10 inches in height. This makes it ideal for planting in beds and borders. Bravo petunia colors include blue, purple and lavender. Adding further interest, the veins in the petals are also visible.
6 Carpet is a multiflora type of petunia, colors include lilac, pink, buttercream, red, white and blue. As the name suggests, Carpet is ideal for providing colorful groundcover. Carpet can also be used in pots and planters where it spills over the edges for dramatic effect. A velvet-like plant, this may be a low growing cultivar but it can spread up to 5 ft.
7 Cascadia flowers from late spring until the first frosts of the fall. Reaching 2 ft wide and 16 inches tall, Cascadia, like many other varieties listed here, is popular with pollinators. The green foliage compliments the typical petunia colors. Cascadia flowers in shades of magenta, lime green, pink, cherry red, blue and orange.
8 Celebrity is a multiflora type which is ideal for planting in hot and humid conditions. Reaching a height and spread of 10 inches, the trumpet shaped flowers of Celebrity come in a range of single colors such as blue, yellow, lilac, salmon and raspberry. For further interest there are also variegated types.
9 ColorWorks has a mounding, semi trailing habit. This means that it is ideal for growing in containers and hanging baskets. In favorable conditions ColorWorks can reach a height of 12 inches and a spread of 2 ft. The variegated, colorful flowers come in shades of pink with a dark pink or white center and blue with a white center.
10 Crazytunia is a robust cultivar which is resistant to most weather conditions. A small cultivar, rarely exceeding 10 inches tall and spreading around 12 inches, the petunia colors of Crazytunia include an eye-catching black with white center combination, cotton candy pink and bright blue.
11 Daddy is a grandiflora variety popular for its bright colors. Veins, visible on the open petals, add further interest and help to give Daddy its standout appearance. Flowers emerge in shades of red, pink, rose and lilac and develop throughout the spring and summer months.
Visible veins add further interest, complimenting the colors of the petals.
12 Double Madness has a dense appearance thanks to its double blooms in a range of colors, including red, burgundy, salmon, white and blue. Flowering from late spring until the first frost, Double Madness typically reaches in 15 inches in height. Tolerating rain well, Double Madness is a good choice for planting in pots, beds and borders.
13 Dream is another large flowering, grandiflora type, which achieves a mature height of 2 ft and spread of 14 inches. The trumpet shape of the flowers emerge throughout the growing season. Despite its large blooms, Dream is ideal for small gardens, pots and baskets. The flower colors can be solid or variegated and include shades of red, purple, yellow, rose and white.
14 Easy Wave has a spreading, vigorous growth habit making it ideal for baskets and pots as well as smaller gardens. Reaching a height of 1 ft and spread of 40 inches. The floral colors of Easy Wavy include coral, blue, white, salmon pink. Like many varieties, the flowers can be solid or variegated.
15 Frillytunia produces frilly blooms in a range of colors including burgundy, pink, red and white. Ideal for pots and borders, Frillytunia plants reach 12 inches in height and can spread over 2 ft. This means that the plants can also be used to provide colorful, temporary groundcover.
16 Happy is a double blooming type of petunia. Colors include shades of pink, lavender, orange, yellow and red. Despite the showy blooms these low growing flowers are easy to grow. Ideal for containers or ground cover they are both hardy and long lasting.
17 Headliner is popular for its large, colorful flowers. Ideal for pots and planters, Headliners can grow up to 16 inches tall and spread over 30 inches. Flowering in a range of colors including of white, pink, purple with white highlights and white with purple highlights.
Contrasting highlights help these flowers catch the eye.
18 Horizon is a multiflora type of petunia producing single, funnel shaped blooms. A compact plant that tolerates heat well, Horizon typically reaches 15 inches wide and tall. Colors include red, pink and blue. The flowers of Horizon can be solid or, more commonly, variegated.
19 Littletunia prolifically produces masses of small flowers throughout the flowering season. Unlike other cultivars it doesn’t require deadheading. Ideal for pots, baskets and window boxes you can get solid or variegated types in shades of purple, pink and lavender.
20 Madness is a two toned variety. Flowering from spring until the first frosts, in favorable conditions, Madness reaches a height of 15 inches and spread of 12 inches. A good choice for pots and borders, Madness is pleasingly tolerant of wet conditions. Colors include red, plum, white and blue. The flowers can be solid or variegated.
21 Merlin produces variegated flowers in combinations such as white with a raspberry trim or white with a purple trim. A dense and prolific growth habit means that Merlin flowers throughout the year. It is the ideal choice for pots or borders where the plant’s mounded growth habit can fully develop.
22 Potunia produces trumpet shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds and pollinators to the flower bed. The sturdy blooms flower throughout the season. Reaching a height and spread of 1 ft Potunia flowers in a range of colors including shades of blue, lavender, red and orange.
23 Shock Wave is one of the smallest types of petunia. The plant rarely exceeds 10 inches in height but can achieve a spread of up to 3 ft. An attractive container option, Shock Wave is an ideal choice for planting in small spaces. This variety flowers from late spring onwards in a myriad of colors, including pink, red and white.
24 Supercascade is a sun loving Grandiflora plant with a mounded upright habit. The large petals open in a range of colors including white with deep purple markings or solid reds, pinks and lavenders. Supercascade flowers from late spring and throughout the summer.
25 Supertunia is popular for its profuse flowering habit. Ideal for pots and baskets the plants can reach 10 inches tall and spread up to 18 inches across. The colors of Supertunia blooms can be peach, pink, yellow, red and lavender. The flowers can be solid or variegated.
A reliable source of color, prolific flowering varieties are particularly popular.
Petunia Care and Growing Advice
Growing petunia plants of all colors is surprisingly easy. A great way to add long lasting interest to the garden, they are also pleasingly easy to care for. With just a little regular water and lots of light they can be encouraged to flower throughout the spring and summer months.
While you can grow petunia plants from seed, they are more easily and commonly purchased from garden stores and plant nurseries. You can buy petunia plants of all colors either as small plug plants to grow on or as large plants ready for planting out.
If you are purchasing plants from a garden store try to select specimens that are healthy and compact. Avoid any that seem leggy. Your selected plants should also have lots of unopened buds. Flowers that are already open are best removed after planting to encourage more blooms to set.
All types of petunia are tender. This means that they are unable to survive even the lightest frost. Wait until late spring or early summer before planting out. Remember to harden off the plants before transplanting.
Harden off sensitive plants before transplanting outside.
Plant the flowers in a full sun position. While they also grow in partial sun positions, flowering may not be as prolific.
Before planting, work in lots of composted organic matter. This enriches the soil. If you are planting your flowers in a pot or planter, fill it with a peat-free multi-purpose compost.
Flowers growing in elevated containers such as window boxes or hanging baskets, as well as those in more sunny and exposed positions, will benefit from being planted in a compost that contains water holding granules. This prevents the soil from drying out too quickly, reducing the frequency with which you need to water and the danger of plants suffering from a lack of moisture.
When you are ready to plant, make a hole in the prepared soil that is large enough to hold the root ball. Add a layer of organic matter, such as compost, to the base of the hole and work it in. When placed in the hole, the petunia should sit at the same level as it was at when in the pot. The top of the root system should be level, or slightly below, soil level.
Backfill the hole with a mixture of compost and excavated soil. Gently firm the soil down. Apply a granular feed and water well. A 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch helps to keep the soil moist and suppress weed growth.
If you have a greenhouse, you can plant up containers and hanging baskets in early spring and grow them on before moving outside once the last frost has passed.
Planting in pots undercover gives plants time to establish themselves before moving outside for summer flowering.
If you are planting more than one plant, you will need to space them out correctly. This helps to keep the plants healthy, enabling them to thrive without the danger of overcrowding. In general small, upright or compact cultivars should be spaced 5 to 8 inches or 15 to 20 cm apart. Bushy, mounding types require around 12 inches or 30 cm of space, while trailing types need up to 15 inches or 40 cm of space. If you are planting petunias in pots or containers you can plant them slightly closer together. This encourages a better floral show.
Once planted, water your flowers regularly. Do not allow the potting medium to dry out. Additionally, it is also important not to overwater the plants. Overwatering can cause plants to become leggy.
When watering, water the soil around the plants, not the plants themselves. Keeping the foliage dry helps to prevent sun scorch. Watering early in the day also helps to prevent this issue. A soil moisture sensor is a great investment if you struggle to know when to water your plants.
Petunias also benefit from a regular dose of balanced fertilizer. Thanks to their prolific growth and flowering habits, these are heavy feeding plants. They may require a dose of fertilizer as frequently as once a week to once every 14 days. A liquid soluble fertilizer is easily incorporated into your watering routine. In the fall switch to a fertilizer high in nitrogen. This is particularly beneficial to tired looking specimens, helping to boost growth and encouraging flowering to continue until the first frosts.
While some petunia varieties are self cleaning others may require deadheading. This encourages more flowers to form. Regularly removing spent blooms also prevents the plants from going to seed. Plants that are allowed to go to seed cease flowering. Trailing varieties may become straggly later in the growing season. A light trim with a garden scissors helps to rejuvenate the plants.
Pruning encourages more flowers to form.
Healthy petunia plants are largely problem free. Aphid infestations can sometimes occur. Regularly inspect the plants for signs of infestations. Single aphids can be picked off the plants. Larger infestations can be treated with an application of homemade insecticidal soap. Like many other bedding plants, you will also need to protect them from slugs and snails.
How to Propagate Petunia Flowers
To grow petunias from seed, sow fresh seeds in late winter. Light is vital to the germination process. Fill a pot or tray with fresh potting soil, moisten and scatter the seeds on the surface. Do not cover the seeds.
Place the seeds in a propagator. A propagator with humidity vents, such as the Tabor Tools Propagator Tray enables you to better control the ambient temperature around your seedlings. When germinating petunia seeds the temperature should average between 65 and 75 ℉. It should not be allowed to drop below 50 ℉.
Place the propagator in a light position, away from direct sunlight. Use a Plant Mister Spray Bottle to regularly mist the soil. It should not be allowed to dry out.
Following germination, the seedlings on undercover. When they are large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into small pots and overwinter on an indoor windowsill. In late summer or early spring, once the last danger of frost has passed, harden the seedlings off before transplanting into their growing position.
For more information on how to successfully sow petunia seeds, check out our in depth guide.
Trailing petunia varieties can be cut back in the fall, before the first frosts and rooted into ZOUTOG Plant Starter Pots filled with fresh potting soil. Overwinter the cuttings on a light, indoor windowsill before hardening off and transplanting outside the following spring.
When taking petunia cuttings try to select strong, healthy stems that aren’t in flower. Cuttings should be 3 to 4 inches in length. Make the cutting just below a leaf node or joint. Remove any leaves from the lower two thirds of the cutting and plant in a pot filled with gritty potting compost. Plant the cuttings down to the lowest leaves and place in a propagator in a light position. Keep the soil moist.
Roots should form in 3 to 4 weeks. Once roots have formed the cuttings can be potted on. Continue to care for the cuttings undercover until the following spring when they can be planted outside.
Petunias of all colors are amongst the most popular bedding plants, and it is easy to see why. A vibrant addition to the summer garden, these versatile low maintenance plants add color to a range of planting schemes. Why not add some petunia colors to your summer garden?
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.