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May's plant of the month is the petunia

May's plant of the month is the petunia

May's plant of the month is the petunia, a much-loved regular in bedding displays, containers and hanging baskets across the country.

There can be few flowers with such a dazzling range of colours to choose from: everything from deepest purple to brilliant yellow, white, pink, striped and bicoloured. As well as single petunias you can find blowsy double-flowered types, and varieties with prettily ruffled petals.

Large-flowered grandiflora types and the robust, weather-resilient multifloras are the most commonly grown and have been popular for years for their lush growth and showy flowers. But modern breeding has now expanded the range of petunias available. A great choice to look out for in your favourite garden centre is the trailing Surfinia petunias, which tumble generously over the edge of containers and have the added benefit that they don't need deadheading.

Give petunias a sunny spot where you can show them off to full effect. They're not fussy about compost, but it's a good idea to mix in a handful of water-retaining gel and slow-release fertiliser when you plant to keep the display going for longer. Keep them well-watered and you can look forward to a dazzling display right through to the first frosts.