Sunday, June 23, 2013

Laura Bush Petunias Persist

Laura Bush Petunias started out in the ruins beds in front of the carport, reseeding every year. When I got a notion to mulch more heavily and plant Daturas and Brugmansias there with some Byzantine Emperor Daylilies, petunias were kind of squeezed out.

Wait, this about the Petunias that used to be in the beds above.
Seeds of Petunias are fine, like dust. Apparently seeds shed onto the driveway were scatterered by wind from the northwest during fall and winter and settled into some scant ryegrass from the previous year that volunteererd along the driveway. When Spring came, they sprouted into a bed of their own in a semishaded area that was unplanted in previous years, with scant grass.
Laura Bush is a hardy, reseeding annual variety native to South America. This rugged old-fashioned Petunia variety was bred for its heat and cold tolerance and disease resistance, promoted by TAMU.
Some of my best plants originated at Texas A&M, where much research goes into rugged plants that can stand harsh climates including this hot, humid place. The humidity here this morning was 88%, now down to 80%.
When plants get leggy, I cut back tops by about a third.
Tended, they will last until frost. They started blooming in
March, one of the few cool season annuals that will
continue during hot and humid summer days here.
Rose Campion
Two Rose Campion plants came up in the back of the bed, perfect color coordination. I cut stems of ripe seeds and scatterered back there the other day, hopeful of a fuller bed.
 This is not a maintenance-free bed. I've been pulling weeds and grass since I noticed an abundance of plants that were not weeds. When I walk by, I pull a few more. Weeds are pernicious and rarely give up. Squirrels planted pecans there that have to be grubbed out. Dogwood seedlings have sprouted. I figure such a pretty bed is worth a little work.
I would have left this area for the mower and never planted here. It was a happy self-seeded event.
Do you let self-seeded areas grow?


  1. Your petunias look great. I planted some last a really horrible spot. My mom said they would dry up in the heat...and they did. Mexican petunias did so much better. I am rethinking petunias after seeing yours. I really love the way.

  2. My gardens consist largely of self seeded plants!

    I am so thrilled I have a clay pot of Laura Bush out under a tomato plant for shade. When it is acclimated to the sun, I will plant it in tiny clumps next to my self-seeded rose campion and around in the 'new bed' area. I have admired that petunia for years and finally did something about it.

    I have self-seeded salvias, rose campion, poppies, feverfew, nicotiana sylvestris, and hesperis matronalis and I just spotted a little nest of verbena bonariensis.

  3. Petunias love attention. They like water when they're dry and they like haircuts when they're leggy. They move over for weeds and expect you to get the weeds out. Peturnias bought at a garden center are not as hardy as those started from seeds at home, in my experience. The bought ones are usually hybrids bred for color and size. I did have a pretty bed of 'Daddy' hybrid petunias from seed one year. I never think to repeat my successes.

    Glenda, my poppies and nicotiana have finished for the year -- well, maybe the nicotiana could bloom again if it had a haircut. Salvias are picky about reseeding here, but I have some great S. farinacea from gathered seed.

    I'm saving seeds of several kinds of poppy, larkspur, nicotiana, echinacea, coreopsis and silene to scatter in the fall. I might extend my horizons again.

  4. Petunias attract both hummingbirds and moths. A change in growing conditions can cause the white edges on some petunia flowers to change in size. A white border getting wider points to recent hot weather and low soil nutrients. A white border that gets smaller indicated cooler weather and nutrient rich soil.

  5. Your self seeded Petunias are looking very good indeed. We leave quite a lot of the yellow poppies which have self seeded although they don't hold a candle to the petunias.

  6. My most abundant self seeders are my larkspur, which I love, and my Dames' rocket.

    I'm also constantly on the lookout for self seeders throughout the beds - if it's a good spot for that species, I let it stay; if not, then I either transplant it or pull it out, depending on what it is. Brown-eyed Susans, sand lovegrass, purple poppy mallow, aromatic aster, and rose verbena are some of the plants I've "moved around" this way. I've even let a couple hackberry and redbuds remain when they're in decent locations. I love plants that self seed!


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

Google+ Followers