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Annuals/prob with petunias


I simply cannot get my petunias to bloom 3 weeks after bringing them home. They are in large pots which I keep well-drained, and I have been deadheading them when I think of it. I do have a real problem with slugs on my front porch; I can see the slimy trails! When I bought them about a month ago they were gorgeous and lush, but little by little they have gone to nothing. I probably need to deadhead more but it really doesn't seem to help. Maybe its the slugs? They are supposed to be such an easy plant, but for me they're not, even in previous summers. Would appreciate your help. I live in zone 7B, NC.

Are these plants getting at least 5 hours of direct sun? If they are not, that's the problem.

Be sure too that the plants are getting watered only when dry and that you don't hit the foliage with water (if possible) when watering. Petunias can go downhill when kept too wet.

If slugs are the problem you'll see leaves disappearing - sprinkling with Diatomaecous Earth can help, or using Sluggo Plus in the containers and around the area can also work. I use Diatomaecous Earth and usually only have to sprinkle it once so the plants only look "powered sugared" for only a short time.

You might also try an application of fertilizer after the plant is watered and pinching some of the ends of the stems in addition to your deadheading. Most annuals bloom and grow best with "fast food" so use a liquid, synthetic fertilizer that is made for annuals.

You may notice that petunias bloom on the ends of the stems, so periodically pinching three or four of the stems, or even cutting them in half, will produce more new stems that will make more flowers.

I hope this helps,


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C.L. Fornari


Annuals suggested for specific situations (sun, shade, windowboxes etc) New or unusual annuals are a particular interest of mine, and I grow many of these from seed. I am happy to help problem solve, answer questions about maintenance, and guide you to sources of unusual plants.


I am a garden writer/speaker/consultant and host of a weekly gardening radio program in the Northeast. I have been gardening all my life for my own pleasure, and started as a professional gardener and garden communicator 15 years ago. I work part-time at a garden center, selling and tending shrubs/trees/annuals/perennials...and doing some propagation and design work. I often think that all these professional activities serve to put a somewhat legitimate framework around a serious case of plant-lust.

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