Tips For Caring For Your Petunias If Temperatures Dip

With their lively colors, petunias can turn your garden into a wonderland and keep the summer vibes going for longer. These annuals prefer warm weather but can withstand temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They thrive in sunlight and will continue to bloom at 70 to 80 degrees F. Sadly, cold weather and a lack of sunlight can shorten their lifespan.

If you're planting petunias, come up with a backup plan for the winter. For example, it's a good idea to grow them in pots so you can move them indoors when the temperature drops. Another option is to transplant them from the ground into pots, but they may not all survive. These flowers have delicate roots that can easily break during the move. Plus, they may not be able to withstand the stress of relocation. If you still want to go this route, move them on a cool morning and handle the roots carefully. Place the pot in a shady place in your home or garage before transferring it to a sunny area, such as next to the window.

How to protect petunias from cold weather

The best way to protect your petunias from cold weather is to bring them indoors before the outdoor temperature reaches 40 degrees F. You can use just about any type of pot as long as it has a drainage hole in the bottom. Ideally, the soil should have a pH of 5.5. Keep the pot in a bright room with a temperature of 41 to 50 degrees F, making sure the flowers receive about 10 hours of sunlight daily. 

Apart from that, it's recommended to cut the flowers down to around 2 inches from the soil, or one-third of their size. This way, the plant will focus on growing stronger roots rather than flowering. Root growth will allow it to better withstand winter conditions. Remember to check the flowers every three weeks or so to ensure they look healthy. If your petunias have wilted or brown leaves, consider changing their watering schedule. In some cases, you may need to prune and repot them. If, for some reason, you can't bring your petunias indoors, use shrub covers, frost fabric, or towels to protect them from the cold weather. Remove these coverings as soon as the temperature goes above 32 degrees F. Alternatively, place the pots in cold frames or grow tunnels. For example, a DIY wooden cold frame may be perfect for keeping the cold away from your plants.