You may associate flash mobs with dazzling music performances in the least-expected public places, but get used to sizzling displays of Flash Mobs in the garden.
It’s been a couple of years since the stunning Flash Mob Bluerific petunia made its debut, and its rare color and dynamite performance over a long, hot summer has petunia-lovers clamoring for more.
This spreading petunia offers a pattern that fades from a deep, dark blue to almost white in the center. It is a vegetatively propagated selection that will reach from 10 to 16 inches tall with a spread of 20 to 30 inches. It offers an incredible show in containers and baskets, and is superb as a pocket plant or clustered as an informal sweep in the flower border.
Bluerific is just the first of several Flash Mob petunias. This year you will find Flash Mob Magentacular, Flash Mob Redtastic and Flash Mob Pinkceptional – all with the same habit and vigor, and deep saturated colors giving way to the light morn center.
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No matter which Flash Mob you choose, select a site in full sun. This is a location with at least six hours of sun daily if you want displays that will stop traffic. They will grow adequately in part shade, but they will not bloom as well.
As wonderful as these new petunias are, don’t expect green-thumb success without proper bed preparation. Take the time to work in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till to a depth of about 8 inches. As you do this, add about 2 pounds of a slow-release fertilizer per 100 square feet. I prefer a 12-6-6 formula with minor nutrients. It’s a good idea to give them a light application of fertilizer about once a month during the growing season.
After planting, water deeply and apply a good layer of mulch. In trials, these petunias have yielded superior bloom production from June until September from the North to the hot, humid South. So finishing the job with mulch will pay dividends by keeping out weeds, moderating soil temperatures and preventing moisture loss through evaporation.
Space your Flash Mob petunias about 20 inches apart to allow for the showiest display. You will be surprised how quickly they will become a solid mass. Plant them boldly in informal drifts or sweeps to make a landscape impact. Combine them with other tough summer survivors like lantanas, verbenas and salvias.
Use them in large mixed designer containers, and let them tumble gently over the rims.
Birdhouses or nest boxes should be constructed, purchased or, in the case of existing boxes, repaired and cleaned out in advance of spring nesting season. Wrens and chickadees are among species drawn to birdhouses that are correctly sized and positioned.