How do I choose amongst the different types of petunias?
Petunia varieties can be divided into four main categories or types based on flower and growth characteristics. The four types are grandiflora, multiflora, milliflora, and spreading or groundcover. Choose the type that best meets your needs.
Grandifloras have large single or double flowers. Single grandifloras produce blooms that are up to 5 inches across. Some single varieties have ruffled or fringed petals. Double grandifloras produce double, fringed flowers. Generally, grandifloras (single and double) don’t flower as heavily as the other types. Also, the flowers don’t hold up as well during rainy weather. Plants may become unkempt and straggly by late summer. Popular grandiflora petunias include varieties in the Dreams, Ultra, and Storm Series. (A series is a group of closely related varieties with uniform characteristics, such as height, spread, and flowering habit. Generally, the only characteristic that varies within a series is flower color.)
Multiflora petunias produce smaller flowers than the grandifloras, but in greater quantity. Both single and double flowering varieties are available. Multifloras are generally more compact and resistant to wet weather than the grandifloras. Single multifloras are excellent in mass plantings in flower beds. Multiflora petunias include varieties in the Celebrity, Carpet, and Hurrah Series.
Milliflora petunias are compact, miniature plants that produce large numbers of 1- to 1½-inch-diameter flowers. The compact size and abundant flowers of the millifloras make them good choices for edging flower beds and containers. Milliflora petunias include varieties in the Fantasy and Picobella Series.
Spreading or groundcover petunias are vigorous, low-growing plants that spread like groundcovers. By the end of summer, a single plant may cover an area 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Spreading petunias possess excellent heat and drought tolerance and require little maintenance. They are excellent choices for containers (hanging baskets, window boxes, etc.) and as annual groundcovers. Spreading petunias include those in the Wave, Shock Wave, Easy Wave, and Avalanche Series.