Love’em or or loeathe’em, you can’t ignore petunias and they have changed a lot since I first grew them, four decades ago! Then there was the simple choice of ‘Grandifloras’ with large flowers that were usually ruined by UK weather conditions and ‘Multifloras’ that had small flowers that were more likely to look half decent if it rained but that lacked the ‘Wow’ factor. Now there are seed-raised varieties that feature weather-resistant flowers and in colours and combinations to suit every taste and the big news is, of course, cuttings-raised plants that are often sterile so do not need deadheading and keep on flowering all summer with minimal care.
New for next year is ‘NightSky’ a cuttings-raised variety (you can’t buy seeds, just plants) that is distributed by Selecta Klemm and bred by Antonella Capo at Selecta Italia.
I hardly need to say what the story here is – the midnight blue flowers are spotted and I hardly need to repeat all the PR blurb – the pics will say more than I can.
I am a little sceptical of these new petunias because I have found that the colours can be very unstable – just look at those black petunias. But this is supposed to be very stable and will not change as the season progresses.
For 2016 it has won the FleuroStar contest which is organised by Fleuroselect, the pan-European testing scheme and a panel of 30 judges chose the winner for its ‘wow effect at point of sale’. This means it will look great when you buy it and we will have to see how it does in the garden or, more appropriately, in pots where I think it will probably be used.
I like novelty and I think I like this though a nasty niggle at the back of my mind makes me think it looks like it is covered in mildew. Still, I will give it a go if I see it next year.