Help for those scraggly petunias

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Petunias are a popular choice in the backyard garden or as hanging plants because of their array of bright colors and ability to bloom throughout the season.

But they also come with a unique problem: they tend to get leggy. The stems seem to grow and grow until they reach an unwieldy length and turn brown…at which point you appear to be growing long brown and green stems that crawl across the ground and showcase a smattering of flowers as afterthought.

What to do?

Two key tenets of petunia care are to water them regularly and to cut them back diligently. Petunias should stay moist, according to gardeningknowhow.com, which recommends checking them daily when in a pot and watering every three to five days when outside.

And while you may be a diehard deadheader, petunias need more. It’s not enough to remove petals, but to remove the seed as well.

“The seed pod looks like a little green (or tan if it is mature) chocolate chip nestled at the base of what looks like five skinny green leaves in a star-shaped pattern,” says the website. “Snip or pick off the flower below this section.”

You should also cut branches back regularly, trimming them by 1/4 to 1/2 throughout; the plants will regenerate and rebloom, the article says, and you’ll have lush, blooming petunias minus the legginess. An article by gardenlady.com points out that you should learn which variety you have, as the Wave and Super Petunias don’t make seeds you need to deadhead.