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Mar 11, 2013
Planting container gardens: the dos and don’ts
The Wave Crew  Wave Petunias | Cool Wave Pansies

One of the top reasons gardeners love planting Wave® Petunias and Cool Wave® Pansies is they create gorgeous cascades of color in hanging baskets and decorative pots. To get the most from your containers, and have your plants bloom and thrive all season, The Wave Team has a few guidelines to make your spring a success!
Don’t Over-Pack
A misconception is that more plants in a pot will make it more lush. But with Wave Petunias it’s important that these vigorous beauties get their space. We recommend only 3 Wave plants in a typical 10-12 inch (25-30 cm) container. This will keep the plants from “fighting” for root space and nutrition, and encourage them to trail over the sides. Just a few plants go a long way!
Do Keep Them Fed
Wave Petunias and Cool Wave Pansies will get “hungry” each week. Because of their vigor, a regular application of liquid fertilizer spray every 10-14 days will keep them well fed and blooming healthy all season. Follow the instructions on the label for correct dosage for your container size. Yellowing leaves on petunias, purple leaves on pansies, or stringy branches is a sure sign your plants need a boost.
Don’t Let Containers Dry Out
Because of the reduced soil volume, containers and baskets are the first to dry out when the heat of the season kicks in. In high temp areas, daily watering will be necessary. But most of the time, a long drink of water every few days will perk up your plants hydration. To check if your pot needs water, stick your finger in the soil. If it feels dry all the way down, it’s time to get the hose. Also, a light or easy-to-pick-up basket is definitely due for a drink. Water slowly, until there’s weight again to the container.

Don’t Drown Your Waves
Your containers need good drainage. Be sure there are enough holes in the bottom to let excess water and rain run out. Wet or saturated roots can rot and leave your plants open to disease.
Do Plant In Sunny Locations
Wave flowers need at least 6 hours of sunlight. It gives them the energy they need to keep pushing flowers and color. You’ll get your best results with adequate sunlight and avoiding shady overhangs.
What about you? What’s your secret to great-looking containers filled with flowers? Share some with your fellow Wave Fans below. Download our Wave hanging basket guidelines, or check out more care-tips and projects in the How-To section of

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Reader Comments (15)

When I bought my wave petunias it was later in the season and the plants were very leggy. Any hints on pruning?
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | Lyn

You can cut back leggy Wave Petunias a few inches to encourage fresh growth and more blooms. Removing any seed-pods from the stem is also a good way to put energy into producing flowers instead of seed. Continue a regiment of liquid fertilizer weekly; it will really help the plant fill out nicely. After cutting back, you'll see results in about 10 to 14 days

For more tips, be sure to check out our FAQ page:
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | The Wave Team

New forming buds are brown, hard and some have tiny black seed like things in them. What us wrong?
Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Mary

Hi Mary
The "buds" you're seeing are actually seed pods, and those black seeds are the petunia seeds. It sounds like your plant is in need of a bit of plant food. Usually Wave Petunias don't go to seed until it's experiencing a bit of stress. It takes a lot of energy to push new blooms, so if it has gone through a dry spell or extreme heat the plant goes into "survival mode" and goes to seed. A heavy dose of liquid plant food will feed the plant and push fresh new growth and flowers. You can help by pinching off those seed pods. Let us know if you have any other questions. Good luck!
Friday, July 11, 2014 | The Wave Team

Pesticides' are the products that are used to control insects, diseases and weeds. Pesticides include which we use in your home and garden such as slug pellets, weed killers and ant powders, as well as those used by farmers. Beside it we can easily found several pesticides available in market. Pesticides are sometimes broken down into chemical classes and modes of action and it more reactive and effective than others.
Monday, August 18, 2014 | Lillian

Should I pinch off the Wave Flowers before planting?
Monday, April 20, 2015 | Vickie

Hi Vickie
You don't have to pinch off Wave Flowers before planting, but that is one trick to push the plant into establishing strong roots when you transplant it into your garden or container. We highly recommend adding either a slow-release fertilizer to your soil, or dress with a liquid feed to help boost the plant's nutrition to minimize transplant shock and encourage new growth.
Monday, April 20, 2015 | The Wave Team

This is the first year we have grown easy wave petunias from seed an plan to use most of them in baskets, what is the best way to make the baskets look full and even? Is it ok to pinch them to keep even and producing more flowers and from them becoming leggy?
Thursday, January 21, 2016 | Stone Ridge Farm

Hi Stone Ridge Farm,
You could pinch the plant to encourage more growth in the center. The best way to achieve full baskets is to plant at least 4-5 "plugs" or transplants into a 10-inch basket. Add more if the container is larger. And make sure you're providing enough plant nutrition as it flowers. This might mean a dose of liquid fertilizer every week to 10 days. It feeds the the vigorous nature of Wave Petunias and helps it bloom and spread. If the basket is well-fed, legginess is usually not an issue. At anytime the plant does get stretched with blooms only on the ends of the branches, cut it back and it will bloom from the center once more. Waves are very receptive to a little maintenance and within two weeks you'll have a fresh-looking container. Happy Gardening!
Friday, January 22, 2016 | Katie, Wave Team Member

I have the Wave Petunia in a two tiered basket and find myself deadheading the plant. Could it have a negative affect on reblooming?
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | Kathy Simmons

Hi Kathy! Deadheading Wave Petunias shouldn't have any negative effect on more flowers. It's generally not needed to remove old blooms if the plant is getting 6+ hours of sunlight and being fed every 10-14 days with plant food. But if you prefer a cleaner, tidy look, it is fine to remove older blooms. Pinch off the full stem (not just removing the dead flower) to push more energy to the next set of blooms.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | The Wave Team

One of my Waves (all in different containers, fed regularly) is not cascading. The rest are beautiful but my favorite color acts like a regular petunia.
Thursday, August 10, 2017 | Polly

Hi Polly! Your message doesn't say if you started your petunias from seed or bought fresh plants in the store. But sometimes in the greenhouse when plants are being produced (before they're shipped to stores) a growth regulator might be applied to keep them manageable for shipping. It is possible this plant received that treatment and is holding it back more than the others. Another possibility is the plant may be one of our colors that has a more upright growth than a spreading growth. Easy Wave Violet sometimes likes to stand taller than our other Waves. The only other possibility is that a non-Wave petunia was placed in the pink pot by mistake and you have a typical grandiflora petunia which will not have the best trail and spread. Continue to water and feed it regularly like your other pots. A healthy petunia is still a beautiful thing to behold.
Friday, August 11, 2017 | The Wave Team

can wave petunia hanging basket sit on decorative stones in the original pots?
Thursday, February 7, 2019 | Gord

My sisters and I are raising Wave petunias this year, in hanging baskets. I was just curious what fertilizers you recommend. Is Miracle Gro a good choice or is there something else you prefer?
Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Rachel A