Tips For Watering Petunias Properly, According To Experts

Are you watering your petunias correctly? Let our flower expert show you how it's done.

A red watering can watering purple petunias
(Image credit: Liudmila Chernetska / Getty Images)

Though traditionally used as annual bedding plants, petunias also are an attractive option for containers and hanging baskets. Their vibrant color, immense bloom, and general ease of care delight growers through the entire summer season. Like most plants, however, petunias need routine care to look their best. Consistent watering and attention to soil moisture is essential. But, do petunias need a lot of water?

How Much Water Do Petunias Need?

Petunia watering requirements depend upon several factors. While the plants are able to withstand brief periods without rain, supplemental irrigation is often needed to maintain the overall health of their foliage and the production of flower buds. Soil should remain consistently moist, drying only moderately between each watering. Growing conditions that are especially dry or warm often result in the need for an increased frequency in irrigation.

How Often Should I Water Petunias?

How often you water your petunias depends upon how they're growing.

How Often to Water Petunias in Pots

When it comes to watering petunias, those in pots and containers require water at a much greater frequency. Though weekly irrigation of potted petunias may be sufficient when the plants are small, more established containers will likely require water every few days. In warmer climates, daily watering may be needed to prevent the sudden wilt of plants.

How Often to Water Petunias in the Garden

Garden-grown petunias generally require irrigation with less frequency than those grown in containers. Still, the need for supplemental water will vary, depending upon both weather and the soil’s ability to hold moisture. Petunia plants benefit from weekly soaking, provided that their garden beds drain well and do not become waterlogged.

When to Water Petunias

Though plants can be watered at any time, experienced growers most often water them early in the morning or late in the evening. Watering before the day has warmed up will help ensure that petunia beds and containers are well hydrated and are able to withstand potential stressors related to weather. Though watering in the evening can help with uptake overnight, it’s best to allow for sufficient time for plant leaves and foliage to dry completely before sundown.

How to Water Petunias

Petunia plants are best watered deeply, so that the entire root zone is well saturated. To achieve this, irrigation should occur slowly. Drip or soaker hoses are ideal, as they are able to efficiently and effectively deliver water where it’s needed. Petunias can also be watered with cans or sprinklers, though gardeners should avoid wetting or splashing soil onto the plant’s leaves. Using proper watering techniques helps to prevent the development of disease and its spread.

Signs of Overwatered Petunias

Though petunias prefer soil to remain consistently moist throughout the season, overwatering the plants can be detrimental to their health. The sudden yellowing of petunia leaves is among the first signs that soils have become oversaturated. Soon, the petunia’s leaves will begin to wilt, and may even fall from the plant. Should the problem persist, issues with root and crown rot are likely, and can lead to the complete loss of plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Time of Day to Water Petunias?

Petunias are best watered early in the morning. This allows ample time for uptake and helps plants to remain hydrated throughout the day. Plants may also be watered late in the evening after the weather has started to cool. Though watering at this time will aid plants in their overnight recovery, take special care to avoid wetting the leaves and foliage.

How Often Do You Water Petunias in Hanging Baskets?

In hanging baskets, the frequency of watering petunias varies. Large, established plants will be especially thirsty. Though some gardeners may only need to water their hanging petunias once per week, many experienced growers find this to be a daily task. Monitoring your soil’s moisture is especially important in regions where summer temperatures are consistently warm or areas that experience prolonged periods of drought.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel