Has anyone started Tidal Wave Petunias??

ashley_minnigMarch 10, 2009

Hi Everyone,

Anyone want to offer me some advice of growing Petunias from seed indoors?

I just started two and a half flats of them and really don't know all they need?

How much Light, when to give fertilzer, when to transplant, Whats the best germination temp? Questions Questions! Thanks ahead of time to all who respond to this post!

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hi, i started some tidal wave petunias one month ago in my basement with standard issue shop lights. One bulb is cool light and one is warm light (I read that simulates the sun most closely). They took forever to germinate, and they are TINY! But they look pretty healthy. I havent fertilized yet, need to research that. My basement is about 65 degrees air temp. I am a newbie seed starter, hope this helps a little.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:30AM
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Thanks for the post! I am glad yours are germinating, I sure hope mine will too!
I do need to learn how to grow these, having started about 35 of these and the seeds are not cheap! ha ha. My lights are two fluorescent tubes over the trays with clear dome on top, I have two cool white type bulbs. Hope that is okay??

I sure could use some guidance by someone who's successsfully grown these before. I am afraid I will mess things up! I have started lots of vegetables before but this is the first time I ever started flowering annuals! If you'd like you can keep me posted on your success of yours in your basement. Any information would be helpful!
Thanks again and Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:47AM
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I haven't started mine yet but have grown tidal waves and other petunias from seed before. I have never used bottom heat but may try it this year. First use a good seed starting mix. I like miracle grow seed starting mix. Dampen the soil, drop one seed into each cell of your seed starting container. Do not cover the seeds with soil. Put a clear plastic cover on top to keep moisture in. Put under lights for about 12-14 hrs a day. Try to keep the soil as warm as possible. Once the seeds sprout take the clear cover off and keep under lights. Do not over water or your little tiny plants will die. My plants usually stay small for a long time since I have them in a cool room. Once the weather outside gets warm enough I harden the small plants off for about two weeks gradually giving them more wind and more sun. When I feel it's safe and the nightime air temp is above about 50 I will pot them up usually using miracle grow potting soil. My plants are usually only two to three inches when I transplant. Give the plants full sun and they will take off.By July the plants in the pots are big and full of bloom. Still can't believe these big strong plants came from a seed the size of a poppy seed. I've found petunias like good soil. I tried to plant some in decent soil directly in the garden bed and they did not do so hot. The ones in pots with potting soil mix do excellent. I may try heat under the seeds this year to see if speeds things up. I have two heat matts I just bought but I have other heat thriving plants I will grow such as begonia and peppers.
Experiment and have fun. I learn a little more each year. The first year I tried I lost a lot of petunia seeds because I over watered when the seedlings were small. They dampened off and died.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:57PM
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I bought 3 pkgs of tidal wave petunias approx a month ago, pelleted seeds with about 10 or 11 seeds in each pkg. I used vermiculite in 6pk plastic containers I saved from buying plants last spring. I put one seed in each of the cells, "borrowed" my wifes flour sifter to sift very fine vermiculite which I then covered the seeds with. I used a heated seed starter. I now have 27 tidal wave petunia which I just transplanted into 4" pots on the week end which are also filled with vermiculite. The roots were huge and some are sending out "runners" which are 2 to 3" long. I've switched from seed starter fertilizer to regular 20-20-20 fertilizer. I will be giving the petunias another week or so and then will pinch off the runners so that I can root these cuttings. I can't believe how fast they grow. Stan

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 1:16PM
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I planted my tidal wave seeds about 2 weeks ago. I just saved them from the tidal wave plants I bought last year. I am trying the dark pink, light pink and white petunias - but so far only the dark pink ones are sprouting. They are tiny. I just put the tray in front of my kitchen window which gets a lot of sun - no grow lights or heating mats etc. I had donethe same last year and they come out really good. I dont fertilise till I take them outdoors. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 2:04PM
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Thanks so much to all of you! The information you all provided was very good advice. I do hope mine will germinate, they are around 76f degrees inside the dome(soil temp). I planted them the eighth of march, I hope they will germinate and do well. Time will tell I guess. I never did Petunias before so this should be interesting.
I have some marigolds and impatiens and geranium I planted the same day. They all are already sprouting and most have completely germinated. So I am a little worried about the Petunias. I am trying to remain patient. Does anyone know how long it takes? And am I doing everything right?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:46PM
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I started a few Silver Tidal Waves (the seed packet only had 12 seeds in it!) on March 6th, and all but one have germinated as of today!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 8:19AM
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sarahbarah27 and everyone,
I sure hope mine will all sprout, I started mine march 8th.
I started around 16 Silvers and 12 Purple Tidal Waves.
So far, about half have germinated. I couldn't believe how tiny the little sprouts were! Tiny Tiny! I have been leaving the dome on but I am anxious to take it off soon because I am a little worried about getting the dreaded damping off.
I also have geraniums in half of the tray too. About half of them are germinated too.
I sure don't want to kill the Geraniums or the newly emerging Tidals under the dome while waitng for the rest of them to poke up! What to do, what to do?? Again thanks to you all! I need all the help and info you offer!


    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 1:06AM
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I would take the plastic off the petunias if possible, if half have germinated then the rest should follow if kept misted. I use a horse spray bottle i got from my local farm store to mist the seedlings.

The seedlings are really tiny! It is amazing what they become eventually!!!

Keep us posted!!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 7:03AM
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so pelleted seeds are the ticket? Newbie here and I've tried petunias in the past... I think I sneezed or something becuase I couldn't see the crumbs enough to plant ;-) any suggestions on a good company to order pelleted petunia seeds from? thanks to everyone!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 4:57PM
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I got my Tidal Waves from Park Seed, and they came pelleted. I had good results from this company in all that I tried.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 6:43PM
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Thanks sarahbarah, I'll look there and try them again this yr. Our first thunderstorm is scheduled for today! I think spring may actually come to WI this year.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 9:52AM
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I started my hand-harvested wave petunia seed around the middle of April. It took a while, but they have germinated, and are well underway. I have some pics on my blog if you would like to look at them

Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden Blog

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 1:43PM
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I have been growing waves for some years (favorite is tidal wave silver). Avalanches don't have a good growth habit once outside. Mine germinate in @ 3 days under shop lites, covered & with heating pad @75 degrees. A soil thermometer is good to have so you get the right temp. I have learned that the cell packs in stores don't work with most seedlings, as they need to grow on for quite awhile & they become too big for the cells. I use styro cups with holes poked in the bottom & just toss/recycle after transplanting outside (no need to resterilize for next year or stunted root bound seedlings). I am about to start my waves today.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 12:27PM
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I have had great luck starting all of the wave series from seed. I typically start between 200 and 300 each year. Much of the advice you have gotten already is sound. I have started both with and without bottom heat. Averaged about 85% germination without, 90%+ with. I usually get my seeds from Parks. (internet mail order) I like to get my seeds started early so that I can have blooms and good plant size in May. I typically start my seeds either the last week in January or first week in Feb. I start in the 72 cell packs using standard potting mix for the first 3/4 of the soil volume with the rest of the volume filled in with seed starting mix. This really reduces the cost as the seed starting mixes are generally much more expensive. I transplant after approximately 4 weeks into 16 ounce plastic cups. Usually buy them from the dollar store. Make sure you cut a hole or two in the bottom. I gow them under lights until day temp allow them to be moved outside. The current crop looks great with several of them starting to get small blooms on them. I will be giving all of them "haircuts" this weekend to promote a fuller plant growth. Let me know if you have specific questions that have not been addressed.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 6:21PM
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I have grown petunias fro 3 yrs now. Really easy, just don't overwater. I have started as early as Late feb . and as late as early April, with good results both times. I transplant into newspaper pots. Cabinet maker- I will go for January next year!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 9:33PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Cabinet maker-

What are the benefits of pinching back TW petunias?

Do they bloom more, or is it mainly promoting a bushy shape?

And when and what do you decide to pinch?


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 9:45PM
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Just popped in 4-72 count flats of various petunia varieties. This is the first year I am starting seeds directly in our 10x12 greenhouse. It's freeing up a lot of space in the house just hope the results are there. The GH is heated to 50 degrees at night with heat mats for bottom heat set to 75 degrees. Using ProMix PGX seed starting soil, got to say it is alot finer and cleaner than some of the box store brands that cost quite a bit more by volume. Does anyone have any suggestions for raising the seedlings in a similar setup? I will tell you the house was much easier to tend to, our backyard is a swamp right now. I'll keep you posted with my results.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 11:32PM
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Cutting back the wave petunias makes for both a fuller plant and one with many more blooms. Simply cut back all of the stems and growth shoots to about 2-3 inches. As the plant grows back you will visable notice 2 new shoots out of each of the cut stems.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 1:45PM
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I have seeded my waves and have tiny little green leaves popping up all over the cup. Know I realize that I have placed too many seeds in each cup. What do I do i want to keep them. Is there away to remove the tiny sprouts and save them. Sorry this is the first time I have tried this and to my surprise its working. Now if I could just seed my rose bush.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 11:48PM
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soinspired(6 (Central IN))

My Tidal Wave seeds from Parks have germinated quite well. And, I transplanted them once they had their first set of true leaves. They are very slow growing though. I gathered seed from the tidal waves I purchased last year and they are doing very well. I'm so excited! In fact, I have pots that have set outside all winter that have hundreds of petunia seedlings coming up. Isn't Mother Nature just amazing?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 9:22AM
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cbfindlay(z6 OH)

Two questions...
Does watering with 10% hydrogen peroxide really help damping off?
When you winter sow petunias, do you cover the seeds with any soil, or just set them on top of the soil as you're supposed to in the spring?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 2:13PM
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I have seeded my waves and have tiny little green leaves popping up all over the cup. Know I realize that I have placed too many seeds in each cup. What do I do i want to keep them. Is there away to remove the tiny sprouts and save them. Sorry this is the first time I have tried this and to my surprise its working. Now if I could just seed my rose bush.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 5:31PM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)


Have you really started them in April?????? I was sure I was too late for this year. When did they begin blooming? (What zone are you in?) Now I'm all hopeful again!!! Hoping I can do it!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 7:46PM
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I have a greenhouse here in Washington and start varieties of "Waves" and others in my basement in February. Some germinate easier than others. Tidal Wave & Shock Wave are very similar, Tidal Wave Hot Pink has a pretty good germination rate. I use plug trays & for "Waves" I like the 200ct tray, one month from seeding to transplant. Seed shouldn't be covered & unless your using pelleted seeds, soil should only be moderate moisture but NEVER allowed to dry out. I like to bottom soak to water to avoid disturbing the surface. Germination is 5 to 15 days. DO NOT use fertilizer until you see the second set of leaves. DO keep the temperature from going under 65 or over 85 until visible, then keep around 65. I also use plug grade peat based potting mix and rub it through a fine screen for my trays, if your having problems with damping off, something is wrong with soil, temp, or amount of water I have never had that problem. I also never pinch. If they look "leggy" then either too much water, too much heat, not enough light, or a combination. It is also interesting to note that high Phosphate, not nitrogen causes stretching in Waves. I attached an image of a Baby Duck Yellow 12in basket, 5 plugs per basket. No pinching, half strength Plant Marvel Cal/Mag every time I water once established. Good Luck!


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 11:44AM
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Steve, I spent quite some time going through all of your pictures and they are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I started some baby duck this year and have about a dozen and have started to take some cuttings from them as well. I transplanted my seedlings into 21/2" cell pack and now have put them into 6" pots so they will grow. I see that you are recommending 5 plugs per 12" basket and based on your pictures, that is what I will do. I think if I also do 3 yellow and 2 Blue Wave in a 12" hanging basket that would look great as well. What do you recommend for Tidal Wave Cherry per 12" container. I have some Silver Tidal Wave and I usually put only 1 in a half barrel and it fills the whole barrel. Thanks again for the pictures. Stan

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 1:04AM
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soinspired(6 (Central IN))

Steve: I also took the time to look thru your photos. They are amazing. This has got to be such a satisfying business you have. I wish you lived closer to Indiana, I'd be a good customer! Thanks for sharing your expertise. I love my wave petunias and this is only the second year I have started from seed. They are definitely slow growing but they are encouraged several times a day.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:07AM
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Hi, yes- last year I started in April, they were pretty puny but caught up VERY quickly one they were put outside in June (This year I just put them outside- looking good and they don't mind a little frost). I am zone 5b. I could not fork over $5 per plant when I had the option of starting them myself. (Though I always seem to buy SOME....lol)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 2:56PM
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Can pelleted Tidal Wave petunias be started by wrapping in a wet paper towel in a Ziploc, then moved to cups? I haven't had much success with my Waves (first try) in a flat - It's been over two weeks & only one germinated. My flat of Silver Tidal Waves almost 90% germinated, so I don't know what's up with that - handled both flats the same. So I thought I'd try a second pack of purples in paper towels to see what actually germinates. Any thoughts? I bought the Ferris Morse brand of pelleted Tidal Wave purple & silver from Lowes.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 11:17PM
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Hi, I decided to start my wave petunias from seed this year. This is the first time doing this and I have a question for ya'll. I planted my seeds on the 18th of February and my plants are very small. How big should they be by now and when can I start propagating from them? Here is a pic of what they look like now.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 5:40PM
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I started mine about a month before you. The Silver and the Blue. About a week ago I potted them up to 9 oz cups and cut off all of the runners that were starting and began rooting those up. I checked the cuttings today and a few had already started to root.

So..............give them another three weeks or so, they will triple in size. They are looking good so far!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:41PM
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Thanks mandolls, I guess I will have to take a lesson in patience. lol

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 9:18PM
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