Horticulture Magazine

Surfinia Petunia Plant Care & Growing Tips

large hot pink surfinia flower

Surfinia Overview

Official Plant NamePetunias ‘Surfinia’ (TM)
Common Name(s)Trailing Petunias
Plant TypeAnnual
Native AreaCultivated
Hardiness RatingH2
ToxicityNone
FoliageDeciduous
FlowersVarious hues
When To SowMay, June, July, August
Flowering MonthsJune, July, August, September, October
Sunlight

Preferred
Full Sun

Exposure
Sheltered

Size

Height
0.1 – 0.5M

Spread
0.5 – 1M

Bloom Time
June – October

Soil

Preferred
Loam, sand

Moisture
Well-drained

pH
Any

If you are looking for trailing bedding petunias then Surfinia can be a great option to choose.

For environmental reasons, it is typically more eco-friendly and sustainable to grow flowers and other plants from seed yourself where possible.

If you sow from seed, you can save money and avoid doing any harm through the use of single-use plastics and peat-based growing media.

However, if you want instant impact and a garden which reliably looks good all summer long, then this brand of trailing petunias could be an excellent choice.

What is Surfinia?

Surfinia is sometimes a name mistakenly applied to all trailing petunias. But this is like calling all vacuum cleaners ‘hoovers’.

wall mounted hanging basket underneath a window with white and pink surfinia petunias

Surfinia is a registered brand name for a particular range of trailing petunias which make very popular bedding plants, frequently used in containers, window boxes and hanging baskets.

They were specifically and carefully bred for their trailing habit, long blooming period, and weather tolerance.

Surfinia’s story began in 1987 when Japanese breeders discovered a new petunia variety with fantastic flowering and growing characteristics.

A Dutch company called MNP built up the brand, worked with Suntory on breeding, and introduced the plant to the European market.

The name comes from the word petunia and the word ‘Surfin’ as the flowers were thought to grow like waves on the flower fields.

The plant was introduced to the public in 1990 and by 1992, a million Surfinia had been sold.

Since then it has gone on to dominate in this arena, and can be seen gracing the streets of many European towns and cities, and well as in gardens across the continent and the UK.

This was the first trailing petunia brand on the market, and still dominates the market today.

Why Grow Surfinia Petunias?

Surfinia petunias are so popular because they:

  • Have a pleasing trailing habit.
  • Bloom from spring right through to the first frosts.
  • Are tolerant of a wide range of conditions and weather and should be reliable wherever you live.
  • Come in a huge range of hues.
  • Don’t need deadheading because the flowers shed on their own.

Choosing Surfinia Petunias

Surfinias are purchased as plug plants or bedding plants throughout the spring and summer months.

cascading flowers of Surfinia Purple Vein
Surfinia Purple Vein

There is a classic range to choose from, with many different colours, and also a newer range of earlier flowering Surfinia petunias.

Some popular options within the classic range include:

  • Velvet Blue
  • Blue
  • Heavenly Blue
  • Sky Blue
  • Deep Red
  • Burgundy
  • Purple
  • Hot Pink
  • Rose Vein
  • Purple Vein
  • Yellow
  • White

And in the early flowering range, you might consider, for example:

  • Trailing light yellow
  • Trailing red
  • Trailing blue ocean

Planting Surfinia

Surfinia is best purchased and planted in spring or early summer, and planted out any time after the risk of frost has passed in your area. If there is still a risk of frost it is important not to plant out too early.

black, purple, pink and white surfinia petunias in various sized plant pots

When choosing where to plant Surfinia, remember that these plants require a sunny spot, and will look at their best when they are hanging, or allowed to trail freely over the sides of a container.

They can also cope with partially shaded conditions but will not flower as well as they will when grown in full sun.

The container that you choose should be free-draining, with drainage holes to allow water to escape. These petunias do not like having wet feet and root rot and other issues can creep in if drainage is not sufficient.

The container should be filled with multi-purpose compost. Adding coconut coir can also provide optimal conditions.

Try a mix of 45% good quality multipurpose compost and 45% coconut coir, with 10% optional perlite, vermiculite or horticultural grit for improved drainage.

Since they are vigorous plants, it is best to grow these in containers on their own. Though of course you can group containers and grow a range of other plants in pots or hanging baskets close by.

One interesting thing to note is that Surfinia petunias (and other petunias too) would not be out of place in an edible container garden. Petunias are not just ornamental, they are edible too.

The flowers are sweet and slightly spicy and can be added to salads or used in a number of other ways. They should attract plenty of pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden.

Caring For Surfinia

Surfinia petunias are generally very easy to care for. But as always when growing in hanging baskets or other containers, it is important to think about watering and fertility.

Watering

Petunias do need moist conditions, but are relatively drought-tolerant, which does make them a good choice for hanging baskets and containers, where water will deplete more quickly.

Water regularly in dry conditions, and try to make sure when watering that you water the roots – while trying to avoid wetting the flowers and foliage as much as possible. Also make sure that water is able to drain away freely.

Feeding

There are fertilisers specifically formulated for Surfinia. However, in an organic garden, you will avoid the use of synthetic fertilisers.

These are hugely damaging to the environment and contribute to our climate crisis.

Still, Surfinia and other petunias will need nutrition, and when growing in containers, will usually need more than the growing medium can provide.

So water with an organic liquid plant feed for flowering plants regularly over the summer months.

Choose a balanced feed early on, and one high in phosphorus for good blooms later on.

Pruning

You do not need to prune petunias like these. However, you may wish to prevent the top of a display from becoming too flat by pruning the stems at the centre of a basket to encourage bushier growth at the heart of the space.

Remember, there are plenty of beautiful flowers that you can grow yourself from seed, and many perennial options that will return year after year.

But for an easy and high impact, low effort option, Surfinia could be a good choice for your annual garden display.

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