Petunia with the romantic name "Starry Sky" is one of the hybrid species artificially bred by breeders. Often you can find other names for this enchanting beauty of an annual garden plant - "Night Sky" and "Starry Night". The flower received such names due to its color - on a violet-blue background, like small stars in the sky, small white specks are scattered. This variety of petunias is not difficult to grow, and it always looks very impressive, for which it received widespread recognition and love from gardeners.
The Starry Night petunia variety belongs to the Solanaceae family. In the wild, petunia is a perennial shrub that grows in the territories of South and North America, growing to a meter high. Today, biologists know more than 40 different types of petunias.
The hybrid starry sky variety was born relatively recently: it was bred by German breeders in 2015 and immediately won prizes among other varieties of petunia at the European Flower Exhibition.
Petunia "Starry Night" is quite compact, however, when planting it in hanging baskets, the shoots of a plant can reach a length of up to one meter. The flower grows well and grows quickly. The shoots of the plant are strong, they actively grow due to abundant branching. At the same time, on each shoot in the process of growth, flower buds in large quantities are constantly formed. The leaves of the petunia are velvety to the touch, have a bright green saturated color and there are a lot of them on the shoots, so visually the flower creates a sensation of a voluminous ball.
Flowering in this annual in the warm season is long and continuous, it lasts from three to five months - from early spring to autumn. Each flower has five petals, extended and rounded on the outside.
The shades of flower color at the petals of this plant may vary slightly in a slightly darker or lighter tone, depending on the conditions of detention: lighting, irrigation and mineral fertilizing.
The optimum temperature for the "Starry sky" is a range from +10 to +37 degrees. It is this temperature range that contributes to the appearance of white spots on the flowers. The variety “Night Sky”, due to its high decorative effect, looks very beautiful in any conditions: on a flower bed, in a hanging planter, when decorating a balcony.
Petunia "Starry Sky" is grown from seeds that are sown and germinated at the end of February and mid-March until viable seedlings are found, and then, with the onset of spring, they are planted in open ground in a permanent place.
The timing of sowing seeds depends on how much you have the opportunity to give the plant the maximum amount of light. So, for example, if your windows face the south side or there is the possibility of regular exposure to seedlings with a phytolamp, then you can plant a petunia in March. And if the plantings are located on the northern window, then you need to plant the seeds in early April, otherwise the seedlings will not have enough light and it will stretch out.
Untimely planted seeds will give seedlings weak and unstable to diseases, and the flowering period of the plant will be shifted to a later date. Usually correctly grown from seedlings, petunia can bloom on the 10th, maximum 12th week after sowing the seeds.
The seeds of this annual can be sown in the ground or use peat tablets. When planting seeds in the soil, it must be prepared - for this, the soil is calcined in an oven or spilled with hot boiling water. This is done in order to protect the seedlings from diseases and pests.
After the soil is prepared, petunia seeds are spread on moistened soil (or a soaked peat tablet). It is not necessary to bury or sprinkle the seeds with the ground. Next, the improvised greenhouse should be covered with plastic wrap or transparent glass and put in a warm place. It is important to remember that seeds are able to germinate only in the light.
Hatching seeds and the first seedlings do not need to be watered, because there is enough moisture in the greenhouse . After a few days, when the young shoots are a little stronger, the film or glass can be removed for a while and aerated seedlings. If necessary, you can water it, but only drip, without damaging the unformed roots.
Over time, the airing period is increased, the seedlings get used to the ambient temperature, and when the phase of the so-called third leaf appears, the film can be removed completely.
Diving and hardening seedlings
At that moment, when young petunias have 2-3 main leaves (not to be confused with two cotyledons), the seedlings can be dived - that is, divided into separate containers for further rearing. It is easier to do for those who sow seeds in peat tablets. The young plant is usually transferred to a small plastic cup half filled with pre-steamed earth. As the petunia grows, the earth is added to the container in small portions.
After the seedlings are distributed in separate pots, it must be accustomed to a lower temperature, equal to 10-15 degrees. To do this, over the seedlings, you can open the window for a few minutes or transfer it to a cool room.
Typically, the hardening time lasts no more than 15 minutes. Gradually, the time of such procedures is increased and the plant gets used to the real conditions of its future growth in the open ground.
Pinching and planting seedlings
The pinching procedure is necessary in order to begin to form a bush already in the early phase of development. The fact is that the petunia sprout has one directed shoot and for its branching it is necessary to pinch off its growth point. This is done on the phase of the 4th or 5th sheet. After this procedure, new shoots will begin to appear from the sinuses of the remaining young leaves. Over time, they will also need to be pinched so that the plant bush grows voluminous and there are a lot of new shoots on it, and hence flower buds.
With the arrival of heat, in late May and early June, petunias are planted in the place where it will grow all summer. The main thing is to make sure that the plant will not be exposed to night frosts. In the new spacious conditions, petunia will begin its rapid growth, followed by abundant flowering.
Propagation by cuttings
The adult beauty-petunia "Starry Sky" can be propagated by cuttings. To do this, we need to cut off a stalk about 10 centimeters long from the shoot. The main thing is that it has two internodes, that is, two leaves. Everything else (leaves, flowers) needs to be removed. Ready-made stalk for enhancing regenerative processes can be treated with a growth stimulator, for example, Kornevin solution. Then 2/3 of the stalk should be immersed in a glass of water and wait a couple of weeks until the roots form.
After the roots appear, the stalks of “Starry Night” are rooted in the soil. This can be done immediately at the place of constant growth of the plant - in a pot or in a flower bed. To land in the ground, you need to make a small hole - it will be enough to dig it 10x10 centimeters in size and place a stalk in it.
If you have a lot of such cuttings, plant them at a distance of 30 centimeters from each other.
After you have planted petunia cuttings, do not forget to water them. Planting petunias with cuttings is best done in cool weather, since in the heat and under the scorching sun, it will be difficult for cuttings to adapt to a new place, and they may die.
So that the Starry Night petunia will take root well and grow rapidly, delighting you with its flowering, pay attention to the soil composition, which is necessary for this plant. Planting soil is prepared from equal parts of peat, turf, humus and a moderate amount of river sand is added to it. Such a soil will be light and nutritious, providing an annual good air exchange and an influx of moisture.
Care and maintenance rules
For the active growth of the Starry Sky petunia, the landing site is chosen with bright but diffused light. Illumination of the plant should be at least 13 hours daily. In the case when this norm cannot be observed, your beauty will need artificial illumination with a phytolamp.
Pay attention to the temperature regime - the plant is thermophilic, in the daytime it can withstand temperatures up to +35 degrees, and at night, to preserve the decorative properties of petunia, it needs coolness, up to 10-15 degrees. Only when observing this temperature corridor, "Starry Night" will be with white dots.
Watering the plant is necessary as the top layer of the earthen coma dries up. This is usually done once every 3 days. However, in the heat, at high temperatures, it is best to water the flower as necessary, observing its condition. Water is needed soft, without chlorine impurities. Pouring should be gently under the root, avoiding moisture on buds and already opened flowers.
Phosphate fertilizers are used as the first top dressing - they improve root development and stimulate plant growth. After you have planted the plant, after about 20-30 days, they are given a second top dressing and use nitrogen compounds or complex fertilizers for this. In the future, petunia needs to be fed every 10 days. With the advent of buds, the plant needs to make potassium compounds. Feeding with potassium is carried out only twice during the entire period of flowering of petunias.
When caring for the Starry Sky petunia, do not forget about regular pruning of shoots and the formation of a bush . If the shoots of a plant are greatly extended, then the number of flower buds on them is significantly reduced, and the plant itself loses its decorative attractiveness.
Disease and Pest Prevention
The main pests for petunia are spider mites (infects buds), aphids (eats buds and even flowers), thrips (infects leaves), and the plant can be affected by gray rot or powdery mildew. In order to prevent diseases, it is necessary to observe the temperature regime and the quality of irrigation. Try to create conditions for the petunias under which it will not have waterlogging and acidification of the soil, and water yourself properly, without touching the buds and flowers.
With the appearance of the first signs of damage, the flower must be treated with a soap solution (20 ml of soap in 5 l of water), and then with an insecticide solution , according to the instructions. Affected shoots of the plant will have to be cut.
See the secrets of growing petunias in the next video.