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Members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family—along with tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco, eggplant and peppers—Petunias (a.k.a. 'Super Petunias', 'Wave' Petunias) and Calibrachoas (a.k.a. 'Million Bells' and 'Super Bells') are increasingly popular garden and container plants. With improved breeding these two types of plants now provide what every gardener has longed for: season-long color with no need to prune, train or deadhead (remove spent blossoms).

Sunlight: Petunias and Calibrachoas will grow and bloom well with anything from half a day of sun to a full day. Avoid full shade.

Feeding: To get the most from these plants it is absolutely essential to provide a continuous stream of fertilizer to the root system. The simplest way to do this by feeding once a week with a soluble fertilizer solution mixed in a watering can at a rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon. Miracle Grow or its equivalent is usually a suitable fertilizer for Petunias and Calibrachoas. However, if you notice that the new leaves are turning a very light green or yellow, switch to Miracid, which will help maintain the proper pH in the soil. Whatever fertilizer you use, it's a good idea to apply enough fertilizer solution so that some of it runs out of the bottom of the pot. This will prevent buildup of soluble salts in the soil. If weekly feeding is not possible, try a timed release fertilizer at a high rate, as recommended on the product label. Organic gardeners will want to use fish emulsion or other soluble organic fertilize on a regular basis.

Watering: If you grow Petunias or Calibrachoas in hanging baskets or other containers, then you must be prepared to keep the soil as evenly moist as possible, but not wet or soggy. These plants will tolerate a certain amount of drying between waterings, but should not be allowed to wilt completely. If they do wilt, you may have to do several waterings or soaking to fully rehydrate the soil and root system. You'll soon learn how much to water your baskets and pots each day, based on weather conditions. If you're going away for the weekend, you might want to water the pots heavily and then place them in a shady location.

Fragrance: If you like fragrance, try any of the dark blue cultivars of Petunia. This color generally gives the strongest fragrance, a delicious sort of vanilla milkshake aroma that is strongest in the afternoon, evening and nighttime.

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