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A PROFUSION OF VIOLET IN THE SPRING, SUMMER, AND FALL

By Kerry Campbell and Dr. Steve George
Graduate Student University and Extension Horticulturist, respectively
Department of Horticultural Sciences
Texas A&M University and the Texas Agricultural Extension Service

 

Finally, a petunia that has more heat tolerance than modern hybrid petunias! The ‘VIP’ petunia, a selection of Petunia violacea, speaks for itself when it continuously bursts forth with dazzling violet-colored blooms from late April, right through the Texas summer heat, all the way to the first frost.

Characterized by graceful, trailing vegetative growth showered with a mass of small, fragrant, bell-shaped blooms, this amazing petunia grows to a height of one foot and reaches out four feet in width. Delicate in appearance, yet vigorous in growth, the ‘VIP’ is a "Very Important Petunia" for all Texans to have in their landscapes and on their patios. Once you plant the "Violet in Profusion" petunia, you’ll always remember it’s a ‘VIP.’

World-Class Attributes

Data from several years of field trials by Texas Agricultural Extension Service horticulturists all over the state show conclusively that ‘VIP’ is a truly outstanding petunia for Texas. In these trials, which included several other petunia cultivars, the ‘VIP’ consistently performed at a very high level in both acid and alkaline soils. According to Dr. Steven George of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in Dallas, "The ‘VIP’ is particularly well suited to the highly alkaline soils which plague many areas of Texas."

This dazzling new annual:

"EarthKind" Growing Tips

The goal of EarthKind is to help you achieve a beautiful, productive landscape, with a minimum of maintenance, and a maximum of protection for the environment. Selecting well adapted plants, such as ‘VIP,’ which also possess high levels of genetic resistance to pests is a cornerstone of the EarthKind approach.

Petunias don’t like "wet feet" (i.e. poorly drained soils). So provide plenty of internal drainage. To achieve this, incorporate 4-6 inches of organic material (compost, hay, straw, peat moss, etc.) and plant in raised beds.

  • Fertilizer requirements: While tilling in the organic material, also incorporate fertilizer based on the results of a soil test. If test results are not available, make a preplant application of 1-2 pounds (per 100 square feet of bed area) of a fertilizer rich in slow-release nitrogen.

  • Plant these petunias in mid to late spring in a location where they will receive full, direct sun for at least 8 hours per day.

  • Water in thoroughly at planting. After plants are established, water only when the top inch of soil in the root ball is dry to the touch (check with your finger every 5-7 days). Like many plants, petunias will be killed by watering too frequently. For example, every other day for established plants is too often!

  • After planting, mulch the entire bed to reduce water consumption and weed competition.

  • Pruning the plant back by 20% once a month encourages almost constant blooming as well as a neater plant. This pruning is easily and quickly accomplished with hedge shears or a power string trimmer. Pruning the plants back is vital to their continued good health!

  • Keep in mind that these are annuals and, as such, will be killed by the first hard freeze in the fall.
  • Landscape Uses

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