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Petunias in Pots - The Ultimate Growing Guide from Proven Winners

Use these popular flowering plants in pots to brighten up your yard with summer long color

Contributors: Janet Loughrey

petunias in pots

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Flowering annuals are a powerhouse in the summer garden, brightening up the landscape with months of continuous color. Petunias are one of the most popular warm-season annuals for their wide range of vibrant hues, long bloom time and mounding or trailing growth habit that makes them well suited for containers, hanging baskets and window boxes. 

Petunias are highly versatile in pots, whether grown by themselves or in combination with other plants. Potted petunias can be used to adorn a patio, deck, apartment balcony, entryway, along pathways, or as a focal point in the landscape. For even greater versatility, pots can be moved around or replanted for a fresh look. Here are some growing and design tips on how to create your own beautiful pots planted with petunias.


Petunia care in pots is somewhat different than for plants in the ground. Here’s how to care for petunias in pots.  

When to plant

Petunias are warm-season annuals that thrive during hotter summer months. Wait until all danger of frost is past in your area before planting. 


Petunias perform best in full sun. Place your petunia planters in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. 


Petunias thrive in rich, well-draining soil. Plant in fresh all-purpose potting soil or potting mix. Proven Winners® Premium Potting Soil will give your petunia plants all the ingredients they need to thrive. 


Petunias are heavy feeders that need regular fertilizing to promote lush foliage and lots of flowers. At the time of planting, mix Proven Winners® Premium Continuous Plant Food into the potting soil according to the package instructions. To promote lush growth and flowering throughout the summer, we recommend feeding with Proven Winners® Premium Water Soluble Plant Food every third time you water or once per week. 


Petunias are vigorous growers and may need occasional pruning to keep plants from getting too leggy. Lightly trim back and shape plants as needed, taking care not to remove more than 25% of the plant at one time. This will stimulate stimulate new foliage and flowers to form. Unlike many other types of petunias, self-cleaning Supertunia petunias don’t require deadheading for continuous bloom all season.  

How to choose the right pot

Select pots based on your outdoor decor, personal taste, budget and size. Pots are made from different materials, including terra cotta, concrete, ceramic, plastic, fiberglass, composite or resin. Concrete is heavy and hard to move, while resin or fiberglass pots are lightweight. Terra cotta dries out more quickly, while ceramic pots retain more moisture. Darker colored pots absorb more heat, while lighter colors reflect the sun. Make sure non-self-watering pots have a drainage hole in the bottom to allow water to drain out freely. Supertunia petunias thrive when grown in continually moist soil in our self-watering AquaPots®. Use petunia plant varieties that complement the color of your pots and outdoor color scheme. 

Find more on Supertunia care.


Late spring after the weather has warmed up is the best time to plant petunias. Wait until all danger of frost is past in your area. Follow these steps for planting petunias in pots. 

  1. Fill your pots with fresh potting soil.
  2. Remove petunia plants from their nursery pots and tease out roots.
  3. Scoop out a hole in the soil that is slightly bigger than the root ball.
  4. Place the plant in the hole with the base level with the surrounding soil.
  5. Fill in soil around the plant and gently tamp down soil to remove air pockets.
  6. Water plants until moisture comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. 

Find more tips on container planting.


Petunias come in a range of colors, sizes and growth habits to suit any style or color scheme. Use ground cover or trailing petunias as spillers in a pot, or mounding varieties as fillers. Here are some of the best petunias for containers.



How long do petunias last in pots?

When petunias in pots receive proper care, they will continue to flower from planting until the first hard frost.

How often to water petunias in pots?

Petunias need regular watering to look their best. Plants in pots need more frequent watering than those in the ground. During extreme hot spells, this may be as often as once or twice a day. Smaller containers will need to be watered more often than larger pots. To see if your petunia plants need watering, stick your finger into the soil 1 to 2 inches deep. If the soil is dry, it’s time to water. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Self-watering AquaPots make watering petunias easy - simply refill the water reservoir once per week and the pots will do the watering for you. 

What to plant with petunias in pots?

Many warm-season annuals go well with petunias. Choose plants with similar growing needs of full sun, regular water and fertilizing. Here's a list of 22 petunia companion plants to get you started. 

How many petunias per pot?

The amount of plants per pot depends on the types of petunias and size of the container. A general rule for 4-inch sized plants is three or four plants per 10- to 12-inch-wide pot, four to six plants in 14- to 16-inch planters, or six to eight plants in a 16- to 20-inch pot. Larger, more vigorous petunia varieties such as Supertunia Vista® will perform best with only three plants in a 14-inch container so they don’t become overcrowded. Allow several weeks after planting for plants to fill in for a lush look.


There are unlimited possibilities for combining petunias in pots with other plants. Here are some recipe combinations to try:

petunia container combo

Warm-hued flowers are toned down with clean white to evoke a sunny Mexican beach. 

petunia container recipe

Misty Seas with Graceful Grasses® Blue Mohawk®

Purple, white and bicolor flowers combine for a coordinated look.

petunia planter ideas

Rockin' Rush with Graceful Grasses® ‘Sky Rocket’

Grasses and flowering annuals are planted together for a full, lush look.

what to plant with petunias in pots

Blind Love with Thriller

This flamboyant combination features sizzling color and dynamic structure.

Find more petunia pot combinations.

Buy Proven Winners plants: 

Find a local garden center

Order petunias online

Want to learn more?

How to Care for Petunia Hanging Baskets

8 Purple Petunias to Add to Your Landscape

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