Petunias are the queen of the summer flower bed and princess of the hanging basket. They reign supreme in the hottest time of year, when many other more tender species wilt from the heat. For this — and for their flowers, which come in every color of the rainbow — they have won a permanent place in the hearts of gardeners and show no signs of giving up their throne.
Petunias are a simple form of gardening pleasure. Yes, there are double-flowered varieties, striped cultivars and other such novelties, but they are fundamentally plain — beautiful, but plain. The leaves fall short of begonias’ decadent foliage, individual petunia blossoms lack the pizzazz of salvias flowers and overall they pale in comparison to the soft texture of pansies, but they make up for it all with the sheer volume of color.
Dropping a few petunia seedlings in the ground is like setting off a color bomb in the yard. Turn your back on them for a few days and when you return there is likely to be a solid swath of flowers where before was just a few spindly seedlings. Petunias start their frenzy in spring and go full force until the first frost in fall. Their flowering is so profuse, it seems like they don’t even have leaves, just blossoms that capture the light of the sun and turn it into pure color.