Meaning of the Petunia Flower

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A striped petunia.
A striped petunia. (Image: petunia image by Earl Robbins from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

While many flowers have certain meanings associated with them, some flowers can represent several emotions, which can lead to some contradictions. The petunia is one such contradictory flower, and it can have several different meanings depending on the spirit with which it is given.

Description

Petunias are hardy annuals that bloom from spring to fall in a wide variety of colors, including pink, white, red, purple and yellow. Some are even striped or have colored veins that offer interesting combinations and contrasts. The flowers are trumpet-shaped and attractive and can range from smaller varieties to larger, wider blooms. Leaves are small and mid-tone green and the stems can often become long and trailing with blooms on the ends.

Origins

Petunias originate from South America and are related to tobacco, tomatoes and chili peppers. The flowers were first discovered in the mid-1700s. Those petunias had much smaller flowers and were found only in white and purple colors, but they were eventually cultivated to produce larger flowers in the wide variety of colors available today. Petunias were also developed with certain traits, such as double blooming and spreading growth habits.

Meaning

While petunias are attractive flowers, their meaning can differ depending on a person’s intentions. Petunias can represent haughtiness, resentment and anger over something the recipient has done. In contrast, when petunias are given to a loved one, their pleasant appearance means the recipient’s presence is soothing to the other person.

Growth Habits

Petunias are fairly easy to grow and low maintenance, which has made them one of the most popular annuals in the world. They enjoy full sun exposure but need some shelter from rough weather or the delicate blooms can be damaged. Petunias thrive in well-drained soil, which means they make excellent container plants and do well in good a quality potting soil. However, petunias also make excellent bed plantings. Extreme heat can cause the plants to get straggly and have fewer blooms. Petunias are also sensitive to frost and will die off in the winter months in most climates.

Fun Fact

Dixon, Illinois, is known as the Petunia Capital of the world. Every year thousands of people visit the town to celebrate the flower at the Petunia Festival. The festival includes a parade with Pinky Petunia as the parade mascot.

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