Wave Petunias: A look behind the scenes

Friday, December 21, 2012

Claire Watson
What’s your favorite Wave Petunia?
Are you a Tidal Wave fan? Do you enjoy the latest colors, like Easy Wave Burgundy Star or Shock Wave Denim? Or do you love a classic, like Wave Purple?
In our casual survey of Wave Fans last month, 46% of you said you can’t resist the original! Wave Purple Petunia – our very first spreading Wave petunia – remains the No. 1 selling color among our Wave Fans.

Did you know next year Wave Purple will celebrate her 18th birthday. That’s a long time at the top! So as the year comes to a close, we thought it’d be fun to reminisce on how it all began. Below are some interesting facts about Wave Petunias. A quick peek inside the greenhouse, if you will…
For instance, did you know the first Wave Petunia was bred by a Japanese beer company? It’s true! Beer and wine companies often employ horticulturists who grow plants for the many flavors and components that go into making their products. Back in the 1990s, this particular company was exploring opportunities for wine-grape breeding when it uncovered a vigorous spreading petunia growing wild like a weed.
After many seasons of tackling and taming that plant, the breeder was able to produce a seed-raised spreading petunia – resulting in the first Wave Purple!
Wave Purple Petunia was introduced to American home gardeners when it won an All-America Selections award in 1995. It passed its trials with flying colors and wowed judges across the U.S. One of those judges was Anna Ball, president of Ball Horticultural Company (headquartered in West Chicago, Illinois). She and Ball Garden Manager Jim Nau recognized Wave Purple’s potential and rushed their team to Japan to meet the breeder.
The rest, as they say, is history! Soon more colors were introduced to the Wave Petunia series, like Blue and Misty Lilac. Then in 2001, Tidal Wave Petunia emerged on the scene with award-winning Tidal Wave Silver. Next was frilly Double Wave Petunia in 2002. Basket-friendly Easy Wave Petunia was introduced to gardeners in 2003, and further breeding advancements brought Shock Wave Petunia to market in 2009.

Today the Wave Petunia Family has grown to include five beloved series of spreading petunias, each filled with the dramatic garden color you’ve come to know and love.
And as you may know, we didn’t stop there! This year in stores you’ll find new Cool Wave Pansies. Though it’s not a petunia, Cool Wave Pansies fill baskets and flowerbeds with easy spreading color, just like its sister Wave Petunias.
You can meet the whole Wave Family by clicking here. See how far we’ve come – Wave Fans have been a big part of it all! – and just imagine where we’re headed next.

Article originally appeared on wave-rave.com
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