Fall is here, and the time is now to start adding flowers for the fall months ahead. The new fall Louisiana Super Plant from the LSU AgCenter is the Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunia.

This is one of the most talked about petunias over the past 3 to 5 years, and one of the best petunias in landscape trials at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station, where it has proven to be one of Louisiana's most durable petunia varieties.

The flowers are a clear, bright pink, and the plant is vigorous, with a 3-foot spread at maturity. It can grow 16-24 inches tall.

Plant this petunia in well-drained soil in full sun. Petunias prefer an acid soil in the pH range of 5.5-6.5. A mulch of pine straw improves the appearance of the landscape bed and minimizes upward splashing of water from irrigation while helping with weed control.

When mass-planting, place the petunias on 18-inch centers. But these petunias aren't just for flower beds. They work equally well in containers and hanging baskets where the flowering branches and shoots can cascade over the edge — a truly spectacular “spiller” plant.

You will mostly see supertunia vista bubblegum for sale in 6-inch pots at garden centers. Always plant the transplants at the original cell-pack or pot depth.

There is always confusion about the best time to plant petunias in the landscape. In Louisiana, petunias do well when planted in the fall from September through early November and in the late winter/early spring from early February through mid-March. A fall planting of petunias will normally winter well and provide blooms until late May. Those planted in the late winter and early spring normally last only until early June. But, if the weather cooperates, supertunia vista bubblegum can last successfully over the summer.

Another great thing about supertunia vista bubblegum petunias is that there's no need to deadhead (remove old flowers), but a light pruning after each bloom flush is recommended. 

Early morning watering is best for petunias and other bedding plants. With the vigorous growth habit of these petunias, you may need to pay more attention to water demands of container-grown plants.

All varieties of supertunias are heavy feeders. Apply a 2- to 3-month controlled-release fertilizer at planting. For the best growth and flower production, fertilize these plants regularly. Water soluble fertilizers are good for this purpose.

You can consider using other cool-season Louisiana Super Plants along with your new winning petunias this fall. Try swan columbine, Amazon dianthus, sorbet violas, redbor ornamental kale, mesa gaillardia and diamonds blue delphinium as companion plants.

To learn more about the LSU AgCenter's Louisiana Super Plants, visit lsuagcenter.com/superplants.

Got a question?

Email gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu.