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Mixed Sun and Petunia Hanging Basket Care

Mixed Sun and Petunia hanging baskets come in a large variety of colors and are simple to care for. They thrive in warm sunny locations.  The label ‘mixed’ means that different combinations of petunias have been paired with basket stuffers and vines that love the sun too.  They need a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine, but prefer at least 8.  If they are grown in the shade, they tend to stretch because they are searching for more light and they bloom less profusely.

Mixed Sun and Petunia Hanging Basket Care

Let’s do a quick review of general hanging basket care using the acronym C-A-R-E and then we will look at Mixed Sun and Petunia hanging baskets specifically.

Check daily
  • This is about keeping a watchful eye on your hanging basket.
  • Each day, do a general top to bottom overall check of your hanging basket – inspect leaf & flower health:  any curling, wilting, spotted or yellowing leaves, and old or deformed flowers. Turn the leaves over to look underneath for bugs, they love hiding there.
Mixed Sun and Petunia Hanging Baskets
  • Mixed Sun and Petunia baskets are very hardy when they are in the right location.  When they are grown in areas that stress them, like in the shade, problems arise.  
  • Keep an eye on these baskets and check them regularly.  They have the potential to be a host for aphids. Aphids like petunias, that’s just a fact.  If that happens, regular applications of safer soap can help keep them at bay.  You may also make homemade aphid spray from recipes found on the internet. As a last resort you may need to use insecticides specifically for aphids such as Dr. Doom.

Related:  Fuchsia Hanging Basket Care

Adequate Hydration
  • This is all about watering.
  • A good way to check hanging baskets for adequate hydration is to feel how heavy they are, lift them by pushing up the bottom of the pot as they are hanging and check the weight.  As you get more familiar with how heavy a fully watered hanging basket is, you will be able to tell when it’s time to water. If you happened to put your basket in an upright container, you can dip your index finger deeply into the soil.  If the soil is dry at about 1.5 inches, it’s time for a drink of water.  Water thoroughly so that water runs out of the bottom of the pot. If you don’t let water flow out, salts from the fertilizer will accumulate causing the leaves and flowers to burn.
Mixed Sun and Petunia Hanging Baskets
  • Because Mixed Sun and Petunia baskets like the sun and heat, they need to be watched carefully for water requirements.  On average summer days, mixed sun baskets need to be watered every 2-4 days but during very hot spells, they may need to be watered daily.  Be sure to check the soil moisture or basket weight before you water.
  • Water thoroughly so the water drains out the bottom as described above.
Replenish Nutrients
  • This step is about fertilizing.  
  • Replenishing nutrients is important for containers and hanging baskets because there is a finite amount of nutrients held within the container soil and when the water drips out of the pots, some of those nutrients are lost.  We recommend fertilizing weekly for most hanging basket types.  Pick a regular day of the week, and make that your fertilizing day – make it an alarm on your phone.  Our favorite fertilizer is called ‘Nature’s Best’.  It is a natural fertilizer and we have found it to be easy to use, gentle on plants with no burning and we think it makes flowers brighter.  ‘Miracle Grow’ is another good choice and other balanced fertilizers (20-20-20) work well.
  • Mixed Sun and Petunia Hanging Baskets
  • Mixed Sun and Petunia baskets have a high rate of metabolism and they are heavy feeders.
  • Our recommendation for this category of baskets is different from general guidelines above.  We suggest that they are fertilized each time you water.

Related:  How To Care For Hanging Baskets

Encourage Growth
  • This is a maintenance step.  
  • Plant growth is encouraged by taking off old flowers, known as deadheading, removing dead leaves, and pinching straggly, leggy plants back.  Taking off old flowers is important because the ultimate purpose of flowers to produce seeds for reproduction. By taking off those dead flowers, the plant continues to flower.  Old wilted and curled leaves actually take energy from the plant in an attempt to repair itself but if they are removed, the plant can continue to focus its efforts on flowering.  Plants can also get long and straggly looking – it’s ok to literally give them a haircut with scissors – it will make them branch, become bushy and thrive.

Mixed Sun  and Petunia Hanging Baskets
  • Depending on what is in the mixed sun basket combo, you may or may not need to deadhead.  Most petunias really don’t need to be deadheaded, but if you prefer a tidier look, clip off the old petunia blossoms with scissors.
  • In these baskets, some of the trailing flowers or vines may need to be deadheaded as well.  Trailing verbena always does best if it is deadheaded.
  • If the petunias or trailers get too long for your liking, you may cut them back– it won’t hurt them.  In fact, it will keep them stocky and strong and stimulate compact fresh new growth. 

Enjoy these baskets, they have tremendous color power and perform wonderfully with a little routine care.

- Sharon Wallish Murphy