Petunia reversion

Some gardeners have been experiencing problems with Petunia Bumblee not doing what it says on the packet – a yellow stripe on each petal – and instead having partially striped flowers or all black flowers.

Partially striped and black flowers on Petunia Bumblebee.

Zealandia Horticulture in Christchurch is the New Zealand agent for the plant and the company’s national sales co-ordinator, Aaron Blackmore, sent this email about the problem:

We have been experiencing some reversion with the flowers on the new Bumblebee petunia – this has meant that the initial flowers are coming out pure black. Under certain growing conditions a lack of yellow pigment can occur in the Bumblebee flowers especially in spring.

Reasons for this occurrence:

  • These plants have been propagated outside their normal growing season when temperatures and light levels are lower, meaning their can be a period of adjustment for the plants
  • Climatic variations which can be quite prevalent in early spring, i.e., warm weather one day, pouring with rain and 10 degrees cooler the next.

What can you do if this occurs?

  • Remove all black flowers and you should find the next flush of flowers will have the yellow stripe in them. If they come through pure black again repeat this process.
  • The plant can be cut back, removing all flower buds in the process and let to grow and revegetate forming new buds that will come through with the stunning yellow stripe in them.

These plants were first released in the international marketplace last year with similar reversion occurring. The advice given by the retailers and breeders in these markets is as above.

We are finding that people who have removed the initial flowers are now getting the distinct yellow stripe coming through, and I have found my ones at home are now performing the way they should when early on they were pure black also.

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2 thoughts on “Petunia reversion

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