Newspaper Columns

Columns written by Greg Grant and a Smith Co. Master Gardener which have appeared in the Tyler Morning Telegraph, are posted here.

It’s time to plant that spring crop of green beans


Tidal Wave cherry and silver petunias make a super splash as Texas Superstar plants

mug_steve_farrell_2018If you want a bright cherry red plant that your neighbors will see from a quartertidal wave petunias mile away, then the Tidal Wave cherry petunia is just what you need. Or perhaps for a cascading plant that blends well with purple foliage in cool color schemes, the Tidal Wave silver petunia is an excellent choice.

Both Tidal Wave varieties were initially introduced by PanAmerican Seed, have been rigorously tested across Texas and were selected and certified as Texas Superstar plants. That means they can survive the heat and humidity of our East Texas summers, need minimal soil preparation, minimal water and no pesticides.

Tidal Wave petunias (Petunia x hybrida) provide gardeners a vibrant, colorful and prolific blooming flower that can fill a flower bed with eye-catching color or provide a waterfall of color cascading over walls and spilling out of hanging baskets. The plants will bloom lavishly from spring, well into fall, and have been known to survive the winters in parts of South Texas. They are a super choice for spring planting.

Unlike traditional petunias, the Tidal Wave series does not require deadheading, and can withstand the East Texas summer heat and humidity. They should be planted in full sun in moist, well-drained soil. Plants will grow up to 20 inches tall and can spread as much as 4 feet with masses of 3-inch flowers. Fertilize with a water soluble, all purpose fertilizer immediately after planting, then every two weeks throughout the growing season. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Petunias don’t like water on their flowers, and blooms will close up and appear wilted. Avoid watering them from above. Use drip irrigation or a water wand to apply water at the base of the plant at soil level.

Although Tidal Wave petunias bloom prolifically and do not require deadheading, periodic deadheading will promote greater flower production. Simply pinch back spent blooms along with the small stem that attaches it to the plant. This will prevent the plant from using its energy to produce seed, which encourages more blooms. If desired, plants can be lightly trimmed in mid to late summer; a string trimmer will do the trick. Tidal Wave petunias can be propagated from seed, but this could be a challenge for novice gardeners. They would be best purchased as flowering plants in containers that are 6 inches or larger.

East Texas Gardeners in search of an eye-catching, colorful, vibrant, dazzling, cascading flower that is low maintenance and will bloom from spring through fall should check out Tidal Wave cherry and silver petunias, available from local nurseries and box stores that offer Texas Superstar plants.

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