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‘papaya’ petunia plus: updated annual slideshow

papaya petunia
ME? I STICK TO MY STORY: CONSISTENCY! So here it is, time once again for planting up pots, but I’m stuck on my same color theme–hot, hot, hot. I’m working with an expanded palette of sunny-colored annuals gathered at the garden centers, including a very sexy new-ish petunia called ‘Potunia Papaya,’ from German breeder Dummen-Red Fox, above. Forgive its rain-splattered blossoms, and other still-in-their-flats snapshots that I added to the show in these “before” shots. Bring on the heat and some sunshine, and they will grow.

I blame my orange house trim for my obsession with vivid colors, but what about you–how do you choose what you’ll bring home to pot up? What’s your container-garden color palette this year? Any new plants to recommend?

Click on the first thumbnail to start the show, and toggle from slide to slide with the arrows on your keyboard, or the ones beside each caption. The newest photos are in the bottom row, the 2011 update, but I’m growing a lot of the ones from 2010 again, too.

  1. Melissa Morrison says:

    I absolutely love the hot summer colors and use them every year. After our cold, gray, rainy northwest winters, you just cannot beat the shock of orange, yellow, red, fuchsia, etc, that ~shouts~ SPRING IS HERE! I even painted my house white with gray and black trim so the wonderful, bold, blasts of colors of the reds, oranges, fuchsias, yellows, lime greens, etc, just POP out against the house! And I just love blue against them, it just makes them pop out that much more, plus the blues hold their own against the white house! My neighbors thought I was crazy to paint my house white, but now they drive by and have commented many times how beautiful my yard is with all the vibrant summer colors. The bolder, the better, I say! Oh, and the hummingbirds and butterflies seem to find the brighter colors better, too.

  2. Dennis R says:

    Tulip Dilemma…i planted tulip bulbs in my fenced in veggie garden
    (like someone else i know). now the tulips are gone, but the
    leaves aren’t brown enough to cut down. do i try & dig the bulbs out &
    store them for next year? would that surely doom them? or should i just
    cut my losses, toss ’em & buy new bulbs next fall? i need the tulip
    space for my tomatoes…..
    suggestions, anyone?

    1. Margaret says:

      I just suffer along with them; the foliage should start to brown off in another few weeks. What I have done where I put “cutting tulips” in my vegetable raised beds is use that bed for things that go in late, or work around them — e.g., tomatoes (from pretty small plants) can tuck in between this week or next or so, and in another week or two after that the tulips will probably wither. I dont’ dig up the whole bed when I plant, just tuck things in, so maybe you can, too?

  3. Amy says:

    I’ve only got a little container garden in the city, and my little garden is mostly filled with veggies, but I do have a hankering for striped petunias – I love the purple and white striped ones, which remind me of childhood.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Shady Hill Joe says:

    Could not agree with you more about Papaya! We grew it for the first time this year and beyond a great color, it is a great plant too. So often there is a really cool flower on a really crummy plant and that is simply not the case with this one. One gardener had it in a big pot with a Red Banana plant and Yellow Lantana and it was a real stand up and take notice container. The other one that I like this year is another petunia called Sanguna Rose Vein that is the strongest, brightest rosey deep pink with almost red veining in the throat of each flower. Practically jumps out of combinations. Keep up the good info Margaret.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Joe — so nice to see you! I have been fretting about my impulse buy of ‘Potunia Papaya’ because I have no evidence of how it will behave (so little info available, even from the breeder) so I am totally reassured to hear that someone as expert as you at Shady Hill gives it a thumb’s up. Great news! I may copy your fiend’s combo!!!!!

      Hi, Amy. I see some really high-drama striped ones this year — dark, dark purples with narrow stripes and so on, like ‘Pinstripe’ and ‘Phantom'(narrow blackish purple and wider golden stripes, yikes!). Wow!

  5. kristi says:

    I normally tend toward pinks, but last fall we painted our front door blue and now I’m drawn to yellows and oranges. I love the Calibrachoa, too. This year I couldn’t find any locally in my color scheme.

  6. Dee says:

    When the foliage of my daffodils starts getting in my way and on my nerves, I roll the leaves up and put a rubber band or hair tie around them to get them out of the way. I’d imagine digging up your tulips might make them unhappy….

    The garden budget is very tight this year, but I’m going out to buy orange flowers to offset the purple wall of the garage — and blaming you, Margaret. (Honey, I looked at this garden blog, and I just couldn’t help myself…)

  7. Nolie Freeman says:

    Love the hot, hot, hot colors too. After a long Winter it’s time to load up on bright colors that attract birds and butterflies. My “experiment” this year will be sunflowers in large terra cotta pots. Also love combining orange and purples. Agastaches in pots work great for attracting hummingsbirds and they smell great too.

  8. Anne says:

    I’m with you on the hot colors. Since moving to a new house my whole palette has changed because of the house colors. I’m desperate to find anagallis wildcat mandarin and fusion impatiens since Loomis closed. In anticipation of this issue I overwintered a fusion impatien but it alone isn’t going to cut it. I’ve covered Dutchess and Putnam counties to no avail. Any suggestions? I’m willing to go for a nice weekend drive to MA or CT to procure.

  9. Gayla says:

    I chose the same ‘Potunia Papaya’ petunias this year! Which is especially crazy since I rarely reach for petunias. This is my orange year. It started with the new eyeglasses I bought in the fall and has extended into everything, especially the garden. You have some nice orangey picks there that I’m going to look for at my local.

  10. terryk says:

    Any scent? Must admit I was never into Orange and red but my color palette seems to be changing. These are pretty, will look for them this weekend.

  11. Sharon says:

    We own a contemporary house now, and I have skipped petunias and geraniums as ‘too cottagey’ since we’ve been gardening here. But if the orange Papayas smell good, I don’t think I can hold out any longer.

    Our house is sort of taupey with white trim, with mostly prairie, native midwestern plants, but I try different color combos in large pots on the broad walk to the house. I love orange in front of the huge buddleia that grows in the sheltered spot by the front door – it contrasts beautifully with the purple-y blue and draws out that orange in the throats of the buddleia florets.

    The fragrance of petunias in the hot summer sun – that is, IF we ever get any here in Chicago-land this year – reminds me of my grandmother’s house. She was no gardener, but she did keep pots of petunias flanking her front door, and I love being reminded of “helping” her to water them when I was little.

    Ordinarily, I’m a huge fan of quieter colors, lemon yellows, variegated foliage used with discretion, dark foliage with light blue-violet flowers [Espresso geranium], but orange or less-often bright pink to spark it up.

    Maybe because I grew up in Texas heat, which I never enjoyed, hot colors where I live [I love yours!] make me vaguely uneasy or uncomfortable. Go figure.

    Margaret, the nurseries owe you big time. I searched and searched for cornus Silver & Gold, till I finally found wonderful Avant Gardens. Kathy Tracey was kind enough and generous enough at her busiest season to advise me on the number of plants to buy for instant show in containers in time for our daughter’s July wedding. I am indebted to both of you. They are already beginning to fill in.

    Thank you SO much for your wise editorial eye on beautiful varieties well-deployed, and for the heads-up on growth habits, etc., often more info than is available in catalogs. Keep it up!

  12. Allison says:

    With all the rain we’ve had lately, some of my potted plants are rotting! Do you have any advice on how to save them? I’ve been deadheading and picking out the rotting foliage, but I’m still worried that they’ve been damaged. The geraniums seem to be in the worst shape. Thanks!

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Allison. Here, too — and last year during a very wet period as well. I moved some under cover, believe it or not, to let them dry (on the porch, etc.). They perked up after drying out a bit, and the last 2 days we got some sun, so they are looking pretty good again.

  13. Kali says:

    Hi Margaret and Anne,

    I too have an orange/coral obsession and cannot find the Anagalis. I’ve looked and asked everywhere. Wards said they may get it. I did find the Fusion Impatiens in hot pinky coral at Adams in Kingston, NY. Also, a very interesting “spreading” impatiens hybrida I’ve never seen before that is hot coral/orange with a beautiful shape flower. It’s called “Fanfare Orange” and can take full sun. Found it at Little Country Nursery in Middletown, Ct where I spent the weekend at my son’s college graduation. Had to sneak out to the local nursery, of course!!! It’s a strange and insidious addiction we all have! I so bemoan the loss of Loomis Creek!

  14. Jayne says:

    I grew Datura ‘Double Golden Queen’ from seed so my palette will be softer this year, in the pots. I am also objecting to the prices for a 3″ pot – yikes! There is one nursery near me asking 8.00! per pot. That will break the bank pretty fast! So I am growing more from seed, using cuttings from last year’s coleus to fill in, and generally buying less.

  15. Terryk says:

    I listened to Monday’s podcast (sorry I missed the event) and you mentioned Farfad52. Of course I am having a hard time finding that one. Any suggestions for alternatives in their line? Also you mentioned a 90 day release organic fertilizer. Would Epsom products be good?

  16. Christina says:

    I couldn’t find Callibrachoa ‘Terra Cotta’ either so I went to mostly purple in my sunny pots: Percallis, Petunias ‘Pinstripe’, ‘Blue and Purple Wave’, Sweet Pea Dwarfs “Violet and Mahogany Cupid’ and pink Centradena (not sure of spelling, traveling without garden journal). Shadier pots have Fuschia ‘Gartenmeister’, Begonias ‘Dragon Wing Red'( both wintered over), and mixed tuberous begonias in shades of peach, yellow, rose, white, one called Begonia t. ‘Million Kisses’- salmon pink and Heucheras ‘Stormy Seas and H. ‘Berry_______’ can’t remember. Also have lots of hostas near the shady pots. I usually keep it quiet in the shady area but decided to brighten up the shades of green.

  17. Elizabeth Diane says:

    I have just found your wonderful site….and ordered your new book. What a joy! I look forward to enjoying, learning and sharing. Thank you!

  18. ann says:

    Ultimately, the proof is in the reading, book is wonderful. Seems that it is impossible to drop out for any period of time and flourish. Peace is where we find it.. These hot colors change in many different lights and I never spend much on annual plants as seed is cheap and often does better.

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