Some of my earliest memories of Petunias, eons ago (Abe was in office) was that they were common & over-used, and as the summer wore on, they stretched and got straggly. When considering which looked worse after a heavy rain, soaked petunias or our old, long-tangled-haired alley cat, both appeared repugnant and at best, trampy. Over the years, breeders would develop the species, and years later when I worked in theme parks, Petunias were one of our best go-to annual bedding plants. Color availability was much better and stretching and thin/stringy foliage had decreased. When we needed plants to endure and perform from spring through long hot summers, Petunias delivered.

Fast forward to today and Petunias are all that and more and to some extent, are outstanding. I was considering a blog entry on just Petunias and their wonderfulness, but there’s not nearly enough room. I’ll commit to sharing details on various Petunias as the season develops. 

Headliner Petunias - crystal sky
Headliner Petunias Crystal Sky

Wise words from Weesies

In a previous posting, I shared insights from Mast Young Plants General Manager, Brian Weesies. He said they have Petunias that are selling like hot-cakes: the Headliner series. This sparked my interest, and after exploring images and details from their catalog, one quickly realizes why this flower generates excitement. Considered a compact mounding habit, 10-16” height and 20-30” spread, it goes nicely in a container, a basket, and as a bedding plant. Many of the Headliner varieties have a distinctive, unique color pattern on the petals, unlike any I’ve ever seen. I place them in the category of Torenia and the multicolored Coleus highlighted in previous postings. We best gain an appreciation of their beauty by close-up viewing. This is enabled by planting Headliners in close proximity to paths and walkways, patios, and door entrances.

Look Upward for The Best Varieties

The Headliners I find the most remarkable are Sky varieties. Small, randomly patterned white and creamy specks appear on the bloom like distant stars in a night sky. Take a closer look at Night Sky, Starry Sky Burgundy, and (my favorite) Electric Purple Sky, and see why they deserve celebrity or more accurately, Headliner status.

Finally, two more Headliners that we find refined and most tasteful: Headliner Raspberry Swirl and Blueberry Swirl Petunias. Like dessert, we saved those two for the end.

-Rob McCartney, Horticulturist

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