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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

The Sun newspaper: New at Hampton Court ‘09

Posted by Graham Rice on 12 Jul 2009 at 07:48 AM

Petunia 'Littletunia Donna Louise'. Image: GardenPhotos.comThe world is bursting with petunias. Plant breeders all over the world are producing new varieties but an especially charming new series was launched this week at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on an exhibit sponsored by The Sun newspaper.

Many breeders just go for larger and larger flowers but the Littletunias feature unusually small flowers - in unusually large numbers. The tumbling mass of flowers is really appealing and ideal for hanging baskets and large containers.

Raised by one of the world's leading plant breeding companies, Danziger in Israel, there are ten colours in the series (with more to come) including some sparkling starry bicolours. Steve Bradley, garden writer on The Sun, told me that the Littletunias are hardier than other petunias, more resistant to disease and, when grown in baskets and other containers, develop more shoots from the base which arch over the crown to ensure that the base of the plant is covered in flowers. Some varieties just go bare at the base.

The plants are also self cleaning - no need for dead heading because as the old flowers fade new shoots extend beyond them and their flowers open in front of them to grab our attention.

Petunia 'Littletunia Julia'. Image: GardenPhotos.comFinally, as the Show opened, a tie-up was announced with the Greenfingers charity which creates gardens at childrens' hospices. A donation of 2.5p will be made to Greenfingers from the sale of every plant in the series, and they've all been named for children who've benefited from the Greenfingers charity over the years.

So the white variety in the series has been named ‘Littletunia Donna Louise' (top, click to enlarge) while the red variety has been named ‘Littletunia Julia'.

Look out for the Littletunia petunias in your local garden centre.



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