Question About Petunias

I bought a lovely hanging basket a couple weeks ago. Flowers have been shriveling. Read somewhere that I should not water until the soil dries out. How can I bring this plant back to life?
Thanks,
Dan
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pilk00 feverishly wrote:

I posted here before thinking this group dealt with plants, but it is some company or business community group. Therefore no help will be found here. I advise you to go to rec.gardens. I have cross posted for your benefit.
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You sure are one confused dude, Chrissihizzle.
Petunias in hanging baskets dry out quickly. You should water them thoroughly every other day. But if they are dead, even a sιance won't bring them back.

I
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Thanks to both of you -- I'm going to try CPR!

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here.
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Yeah right.
Go ahead and blow on the plants and see what that does.

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He said "flowers are shriveled". One reason for that is simply that the flowers are spent, but the rest of the plant could be fine. He did NOT say the leaves were shriveled up, brown and dead.
1) Pinch off the dead flowers along with the buds beneath them.
2) Water the bejeezus out of the plant. If the pot has a bottom tray attached, leave the residual water in the tray until it is absorbed. Don't spill it out, especially if the soil was extremely dry before watering.
Most nurseries use a soilless mix for potted plants. Often, it's nothing but peat moss, vermiculite and/or perlite, and some lime to get the pH right. The main purpose of this mix to that it's disease-free. The disadvantage is that when the mix (especially the peat moss) dries out completely, it's tough to get it to absorb water again. It's sort of like a totally dry sponge. Like the sponge, the soil actually shrinks. You'll notice that it's actually pulled in from the sides of the pot. You have to re-wet the soil just to make it ready to behave like soil should. It never will behave exactly like natural soil, but it's not worth going into the reasons why.
Also: Hanging pots force plants to survive in weird conditions. Put a sun-loving plant like a petunia or marigold in a sunny garden bed and it'll thrive. Put the same plant in a pot and it's another story. The temperature of the pot & soil are at LEAST as hot as the surrounding air, and usually higher if the pot's in the sun all day. These plants are not designed for their roots to be that hot. You have to make up for it with extra water. If you can't provide it, you must either move the pots to a shadier place and accept somewhat less "performance", or find a way to keep the plants in the sun, but shade the pots. Finally, you can switch to enormous pots. That's one of the better solutions, since the typical store-bought hanging pot can dry out in a few hours while you're at work.
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Thanks, Doug, for all the info! I'm going to do the pinching & try to recondition the "soil".
Dan

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A few more things:
When you pinch off spent petunia flowers, don't just remove them as far back as the little green "funnel" from which they grow. The funnel will have a very short green stem behind it - get rid of that, too, unless there are new buds in that area. And, the stems of healthy petunias can be sticky and somewhat fibrous, so scissors help. The best tool for trimming in tight spots: Joyce Chen kitchen scissors from a cooking store. They'll cut through chicken bones, so very few plant stems present a problem. The same tool is sold in garden stores for two or three times the price, as "florist's snippers" or some such name.
-Doug

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I'd like to add that due to all the stress of being in a hanging pot, petunias will attract a fair amount of aphids. If you notice these suckers around stems and under leaves then hose them off with a gentle spray every day or two. After a week of spraying, they should be under control.
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Pen wrote:

I grow MANY Petunias in hanging planters (see my web site) and I have never had a problem with aphids on Petunias. In fact, I don't believe that I have seen an aphid on a Petunia. I wish I could say that about other flowers.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Digital Camera: HP PhotoSmart 850
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Thanks, Doug & Pen!
Bill R, I'm in Ohio Valley too!

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pilk00 wrote:

Hi neighbor.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Digital Camera: HP PhotoSmart 850
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