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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - May 12, 2013

From: Hodgenville, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with non-native petunias from Hodgeville, KY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Planting petunias again in a house border bed.. It has been a tradition for 30+ years to plant the small upright petunias in this particular bed. It started as a Mothers Day gift to my Grandmother, now it's my Mom's gift. Last year, about a month after planting, they wilted and died. I have concerns about planting them there this year. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Petunia is a flowering plant of South American origin,  in the family Solanaceae. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, therefore has no information on this plant in our Native Plant Database, but we found a reference that might help you.

From the University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program on Petunias. The sudden death of the plants last year indicates to us that there was some other factor involved; either the plants (if you bought bedding plants) came from the nursery already suffering from some disease or possibly the plant was accidentally sprayed with a "weed killer," perhaps for broad-leaf weeds in the lawn.

 

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