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On Gardening: Flash Mobs in your garden

February 23, 2015

The Flash Mob Bluerific petunia offers rare color and a dazzling performance all summer.

You may associate flash mobs with dazzling music performances in the least-expected public places, but now you had better get used to sizzling displays of Flash Mobs in the gardens.

Itís been a couple of years since the stunning Flash Mob Bluerific petunia made its debut in the gardening world, and its rare color coupled with its dynamite performance over a long hot summer has everyone clamoring for more.

This spreading petunia offers a morn-type pattern paired with the coolest of blues offered in the horticultural world. It is a vegetatively propagated selection that will reach from 10 to 16 inches tall with a spread of 20 to 30 inches. Not only does I -offer an incredible show in containers and baskets, but it is also superb as a pocket plant or clustered as an informal sweep in the flower border.

That was just the first of several Flash Mob petunias. This year you will find Flash Mob Magentacular, Flash Mob Redtastic and Flash Mob Pinkceptional ĖĖ all with the same habit and vigor, and deep saturated colors giving way to the light morn center.

No matter which Flash Mob you choose, select a site in full sun. This is a location with at least six hours of sun daily if you want to have beds that will stop traffic. They will grow adequately in part shade, but they will not bloom as well.

As wonderful as these new petunias are, donít expect green-thumb success without proper bed preparation. Take the time to work in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till to a depth of about 8 inches. As you do this, add about 2 pounds of a slow-release fertilizer per 100 square feet. I prefer a 12-6-6 formula with minor nutrients, but thatís just me. The petunias will never know the difference if itís something close or balanced, but do use a slow-release form of nitrogen. Itís a good idea to give them a light application of fertilizer about once a month during the growing season.

After planting, water deeply and apply a good layer of mulch. In trials, these petunias have yielded superior bloom production from June until September from the north to the hot humid south. So finishing the job with mulch will pay dividends by keeping out weeds, moderating soil temperatures and preventing moisture loss through evaporation.

Space your Flash Mob petunias about 20 inches apart to allow for the showiest display. You will be surprised how quickly you will achieve a solid mass.  Plant them boldly in informal drifts or sweeps to make a landscape impact. Combine them with other tough summer survivors like lantanas, verbenas and salvias. Use them in large mixed designer containers, and let them tumble gently over the rims.

The petunia market is tough with a lot of choices but hopefully your progressive garden center will give you the opportunity to try this new generation of petunias with the trendy catchy name, Flash Mob, and a dazzling garden performance.

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