Petunia

PetuniaPetunia — Petunia is a, trumpet shaped, widely-cultivated genus of flowering plants of South American origin, in the family Solanaceae. The popular flower got its name from French, which took the word petun ‘tobacco’ from a Tupi-Guarani language. Most of the varieties seen in gardens are hybrids (Petunia x hybrida). The origin of P. x hybrida is thought the be a hybridaization between P. axillaris and P. integrifolia. Many open-pollinated species are also gaining popularity in the home garden. A wide range of flower colors, sizes, and plant architectures are available in both the hybrid and open-pollinated species.

Some botanists place the plants of the genus Calibrachoa in the genus Petunia. Botanically speaking, tobacco, tomato, potato, and petunia are all in the family Solanaceae.

Petunias are generally insect pollinated with the exception of P. exserta, which is a rare, bird pollinated species. Most petunias are diploid with 14 chromosomes and are interfertile with other petunia species.

The foliage of Petunias are sometimes eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Dot Moth and Hummingbird hawk moth.

If growing petunias, it’s best to leave them in full sunlight and only water them when their soil is dry to the touch. Although generally grown as annuals (at least in temperate areas), they are perennial in warm climates (roughly zone 9 or warmer).

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