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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Caring for Your Flower Tower

Lynn Coulter
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Wave Ball Horticultural Co.


Once you’ve created our easy-to-make Flower Tower, you’ll find many ways to use it. Fill it with sun-loving petunias, and it will bloom from spring until frost on a patio, deck, or around a pool. Tuck in trailing lantana, verbena, or vinca, and lure Swallowtails and other butterflies to an island garden. Place it in a bed of shrubs around a decorative mailbox to boost your home’s curb appeal. Petunias are low-maintenance and fun to grow, and your tower can hold other beautiful plants, too. (Image: Wave Ball Horticultural Co.)

In Southern Gardens:

  • Avoid placing your flower tower too close to walls or other surfaces that reflect a lot of heat, especially if air circulation is limited. Although petunias like full sun, excessive heat can take a toll on plants.
  • For convenience, put your flower tower near a water source, or keep it close to the door if you use a watering can. Consider using a small irrigation system to make watering easier.
  • To help prevent diseases in the hot, humid summer, avoid splashing water on foliage.
  • Depending on what kind of flowers you’re growing, you may be able to overwinter your tower in a greenhouse or heated garage or on a covered porch. Petunias don’t grow well indoors, however, so replace them with fresh plants when the weather warms up again.

In Southern Florida, Texas, or coastal Southern California:

  • Wave Petunias will bloom in your tower through the summer and winter. (That is, they perform as perennials in zones 10 and 11.)

In Southwestern Gardens:

  • For hot, dry climates, plant a tower with succulents.

In Northern Gardens:

  • Although your growing season is shorter than in the South, you can do a few things to keep your Wave Petunias or other, frost-tender flowers blooming as long as possible. When temperatures drop, move the tower to a sheltered spot like a covered porch or south-facing wall. Grouping your tower with other garden containers may also help block chilling winds.
  • If your tower is on a rooftop, or on a deck or porch where the air can circulate underneath and chill the roots, move it to lower ground when cooler weather arrives.
  • If you grow tender perennials in your tower, root some cuttings in late summer, and treat them as small houseplants during the winter. After all danger of frost has passed next spring, transplant them back into the tower.

Caring for a Petunia Flower Tower in any region:

  • Water regularly. Towers dry out faster than flowers planted in the ground, especially on hot, sunny, or windy days. If you’re growing Wave petunias, don’t let them go completely dry between waterings.
  • Give Wave petunias full sun for at least 5 to 6 hours a day. (They can tolerate a couple of hours of shade.) Other plants may need the same or less sun, so read the plant tag for growing requirements.
  • Faded blossoms on Wave Petunias will drop off, so you don’t have to cut the plants back or pick off the dead flowers. If you grow Waves as recommended, you shouldn’t need to pinch them, either. (Pinching refers to removing a main stem to encourage more stems to grow, resulting in a fuller, bushier plant.)
  • Feed your petunias with diluted liquid fertilizer every 10 to 14 days, or use a slow release fertilizer. Follow the directions on the label for your product.

Need more ideas for plants to grow in a flower tower? Try these: Calibrachoa – hardiness zones 9 – 11 Lobelia – hardiness zones depend on the species you’re growing. Hybrid purple lobelia does best in zones 5-7. Euphorbia – hardiness zones 10 – 11 Sweet potato vine – hardiness zones 9 – 11 Bacopa – hardiness zones 9 – 11 Herbs – hardiness varies Small vegetables such as cherry tomatoes Strawberries like ‘Quinalt,’ hardy in zones 4a to 8b.

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