Last year things went a little petunia crazy online when a new variety appeared on the market; the night sky petunia. A gloriously rich, quality-street purple strewn with white speckled variegation that resembled a night sky filled with stars. My plant from last year was definitely the show stopper of my balcony garden, here’s a photograph of it in all its glory:
As soon as this Spring rolled around I found myself hunting local garden centres for a new plant (they are annuals) as I very much missed having one to adorn my window sill outside. I found a small specimen and potted it in a long planter so that it could trail down in a similar way to last years’ offering. After around six weeks it has filled out beautifully and so far the variegation seems more stable than last year (see below for more on that). Here is my plant today:
If you had one of these last year, you might remember that there was much online discussion surrounding why peoples’ plants might be turning white. ff you want to read my original post you can do so here (sidenote: how bare my balcony looks in this blog post compared to this year! I will be sharing a balcony garden update on here soon) The article with detailed information about this issue can be read here
In short, the article highlights that day to night temperature fluctuations are the main culprit for this issue:
• Nights: 52 to 62°F (11 to 17°C)
• Days: 58 to 75°F (14 to 24°C)
• Higher than recommended temperatures will cause stretch, weak stems and reduced flower size. Higher temperatures can also affect flower colour pattern. A high DIF (hot day, cool night) can cause Night Sky flowers to turn white. High day and night temps can cause the flowers to become too purple.
It appears that the rumours last year were true that there was a pink plant in development and 2019 has welcomed a similar pink variety called ‘baby doll’. This also has white speckles but they seem ‘flatter’ than the deep night sky patterning; think more paint speckles than galactic twinkling stars. Personally I find the colour combination a bit sickly for my taste, but if you are a lover of pink flowers, keep a look out for this one!
I was quite taken aback last week whilst idly browsing an independent garden centre, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one lone pot with those signature speckles in a colour I hadn’t seen before! It was nestled next to the last remaining night sky petunia in stock. I was quite intrigued (and obviously bought it immediately!)
This one is called ‘lightning sky’ and is the other new, almost holographic, speckled variety alongside the night sky cultivar, which has the addition of buttery lemon stripes along each petal. Perhaps this colouration and patterning is where the name ‘lightning sky’ derives. It’s a magnificent merlot hue and I’m a little bit in love with how the rich trumpet blooms look in contrast to my white wall.
Above you can see the two plants together. I’ve not quite decided where to pot this one yet, to my delight, things are looking pretty full on the balcony this year! Time for a bit of repotting and rearranging I think…
Hope you liked seeing these new varieties of petunia, if you have some in your garden I’d love to see a photo, please send me a DM on Instagram
Thanks for reading,