10 Great Landscape Plants - Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum
This article covers plants that are great in the landscape.
- Artist® Blue Ageratum
- Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia
- Senorita Rosalita® Cleome
- Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus
- Diamond Frost® Euphorbia
- Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera
- Illusion® Midnight Lace Ipomoea
- Luscious® Citrus Blend™ Lantana
- Snow Princess® Lobularia
- Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia
I really wanted to call this series of articles "10 Plants Every Gardener Should Try in the Landscape," but this seemed a bit long for a title. Whatever you call them, these 10 plants should be great in landscapes in almost any climate. They were chosen to be heat tolerant, to need little to no supplemental water and to be easy to care for with no deadheading needed. I've grown them all (most of them repeatedly) and love them!
I have to admit, for many years petunias functioned more or less like wallpaper in my garden, when they were included at all. I don't like to deadhead, so until I learned about Supertunia® petunias I pretty much avoided the whole genus. Even after I was introduced to the joys of Supertunia® petunias, I still used them only in combination planters, not by themselves and not planted in the ground. Then along came the plant that I am convinced is the best garden plant in the world, Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum - the variety that made me fall in love with petunias again.
All of the Supertunia® varieties are excellent plants. They are vigorous, self-cleaning - so no deadheading is needed, covered in colorful blooms, very well branched, surprisingly drought resistant when planted in the ground and are super easy to care for. They are tough plants that come in a wide range of colors and I would recommend any of them to a friend. However, the Supertunia® Vista varieties - Bubblegum, Silverberry and Fuchsia - kick all of that up a notch.
Non-Vista Supertunia® petunias are 6 to 10 inches tall and strongly trailing. They are great in containers of all kinds and are a wonderful annual, flowering, groundcover. The Vistas, however, will mound up to 24 inches tall. On more than one occasion, I've actually seem them appear to climb a wall or lattice work or even nearby tall plants. Now, Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum isn't truly a climbing plant. She has no tendrils that will grasp an arbor and hold on. However, she is super vigorous and when she encounters a vertical surface she will continue to push growth, which makes her appear to be climbing whatever structure happens to be conveniently close.
I have had a single Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum planted in my garden, grow over two feet tall, three feet wide and five feet long (photo at top left, the mass of pink in the foreground is one plant). I planted her out in May from a 4.5 inch plant, added some compost to the bed and then pretty much left her to her own devices. I do water my landscape beds with a soaker hose once a week in the summer, if it gets too dry. I also pull weeds as needed, but that is pretty much the extent of my maintenance, once the plants have been established in spring.
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum spends every summer buried in an abundance of hot pink flowers. I've used her pretty much every way possible. I've had her by herself in a bed 40 feet long by 3 feet deep. It took her a few weeks to fill in, but then all summer long I had a blaze of hot pink. It was the kind of bed I call "a 60-mile an hour bed." You know if you drove past and caught sight of the color, you'd whip your head around and ask "What's that?" Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum alone is an amazing statement. I've seen many public gardens use her in just this way (photo, top right, Cincinnati Zoo).
However, Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum is also great as part of a mixed planting in the landscape. I've used her as an accent plant in my landscape beds every year since we introduced her. She is great with other pinks, purples and yellows. She can also hold her own when mixed with red and bright yellow.
Don't think landscapes are her only talent. Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum is just as great in containers, both upright containers and hanging baskets (photo middle right). I've used her by herself in pots, putting 3 plants each in 20 inch diameter planters. The next thing you know, I had huge pink mounds of color in front of the garage. When I use her by herself in a container I will usually trim her back once in mid to late summer, something I never feel the need to do when she is planted in the landscape. With containers, as time goes on, the plant may start to look a bit open. When that happens simply trim her back. The year I used her this way, at lunch one day I trimmed a good 6 inches off all over each planter. This made the planters look fuller and more groomed. There's wasn't a flower left. It was bad enough my husband even noticed and asked what happened! The planters were back in full bloom three days later.
I have also used Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum in combination planters (photo bottom left). She does well in combinations too, just be sure you are pairing her with other vigorous plants. If you use plants that aren't fast growers before long your combination will appear to consist of only Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum, the rest of the plants will be buried under an avalanche of bubblegum pink blooms. Some plants that can keep up with her include Snow Princess® Lobularia, Sweet Caroline and Illusion® sweet potato vines and Superbena® Verbena.
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum is a great plant and she, as well as the rest of the Supertunia® petunias, really only needs a couple of things from you to be happy. First, Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum is a full sun plant, make sure she gets at least six hours of direct sun a day. Second, while not a lot of water is needed when she is planted in the landscape, regular watering will be necessary in containers. Third, Supertunia® petunias are "heavy feeders" which means they need a lot of fertilizer to maximize their potential. In the landscape a good application of compost or controlled release fertilizer is usually enough to keep her happy. In containers, I use a controlled release fertilizer when I plant and then about a month later start using a weekly application of water soluble fertilizer to really give her a boost. Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum will look fine without this much fertilizer, but to get her absolute best treat her like a teenage boy and feed, feed, feed.
If your petunias have a tendency to look light green or yellow despite fertilizing, you could have a problem with the pH of your soil. pH will change over time, especially in container plantings. When pH gets too high or low, iron cannot be taken up by the plants which results in yellowing plants. Either switch to the Proven Winners® Water Soluble Fertilizer, which has an EDDHA form of chelated iron or ask your local garden center for an EDDHA form of chelated iron. The EDDHA form of chelated iron is available at a wider pH range than the standard iron used in fertilizers and will have your plants green and healthy in no time.
One last note, because Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum is so vigorous, the plant can often look a bit spindly in 4.5 inch pots at retail garden centers. Don't worry too much about that. When you get ready to plant, simply take a sharp pair of scissors or shears and give the plants a good trim. This will encourage additional branching and stimulate new growth. If you combine the trim with a fertilizer application she will be off and growing in no time!
While Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia and Supertunia® Vista Silverberry (photo bottom right) are every bit as good as Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum, they don't hold the same place in my heart as Bubblegum. I guess you never really get over your first love.
Sun/Shade: Prefers full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun a day).
Height: Medium, 16-24 inches
Spacing: 18-24 inches
Habit: Mounded, used as a filler for combination planters
Bloom Time: Planting to Hard Frost
Artist® Blue Ageratum hybrid 'Agsantis' USPP15,289, Can. 2050; Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia hybrid USPP19,991, CPBRAF; Senorita Rosalita® Cleome hybrid 'Inncleosr' USPP19,733, Can. 3290; Diamond Frost® Euphorbia 'Inneuphdia' USPP17,567, Can. 2830; Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera hybrid 'PWHeu0109' USPP19,574, Can. 3774; Illusion™ Midnight Lace Ipomoea batatas 'NCORNSP-011MDNTLC' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Luscious® Citrus Blend™ Lantana camara '2003.301' USPP19,706; Snow Princess™ Lobularia hybrid 'Inlbusnopr' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI6001' USPP17,730, Can. 2871; Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI8902' USPP17,895, Can. 2875; Supertunia® Vista Silverberry Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI60-01M' USPP20,903, Can. 3866