Where Did The Orange Petunia Disappear, And What Varieties Should I Replace It With? Photo

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Where Did The Orange Petunia Disappear, And What Varieties Should I Replace It With? Photo
Where Did The Orange Petunia Disappear, And What Varieties Should I Replace It With? Photo
Video: Where Did The Orange Petunia Disappear, And What Varieties Should I Replace It With? Photo
Video: webCAST Session 2 2023, February

In 2014, the Japanese company Takii seed introduced a petunia with an amazing petal color - salmon orange. Due to associations with the bright colors of the southern sunset sky, the unique hybrid was named African Sunset ("African sunset"). Needless to say, this petunia instantly won the hearts of gardeners and was in great demand. But in the past two years, the curiosity has unexpectedly disappeared from store windows, and now the African Sunset hybrid is almost impossible to buy. In this article, I would like to talk about the features of the legendary variety and reveal the secret of the disappearance of orange petunias. And also consider options for replacing the salmon beauty in the flower garden.

Where did the orange petunia disappear, and what varieties should I replace it with?
Where did the orange petunia disappear, and what varieties should I replace it with?


  • Petunia "African Sunset" - my cultivation experience
  • Why are orange petunias missing?
  • Replacement options - the best varieties of salmon colored petunias

Petunia "African Sunset" - my cultivation experience

The traditional colors of petunias are white and various shades of purple, which are due to the natural coloration of the wild ancestors of hybrid petunias. But companies engaged in the selection of ornamental crops are well aware of the fact that varieties with flowers of rare colors that are not typical for a particular species are in the greatest demand among florists.

As stated by the growers, the African Sunset petunia was the first orange petunia hybrid that could be self-grown from seed. Previously, petunias of the orange-salmon color range already existed, but these were cultivars that propagated exclusively vegetatively and were rarely found on the market.

Of course, as a curiosity lover, I immediately purchased orange petunia seeds as soon as they went on sale. According to the description of the producers, the hybrid "African Sunset" was a bush 35 centimeters high with large flowers 5 centimeters in diameter. Some sellers attributed this petunia to cascading or even ampelous, promising that its stems can fall from the edge of the pots and hang 60 centimeters.

In addition to other varieties of petunias, I have grown this cultivar for three years in a row, and in different conditions the variety showed itself approximately the same. First, a few words about the color: I would not call this petunia “orange”, because I personally associate this color with the color of the flowers of marigolds, marigolds or zinnias, and I would rather call the petals of African Sunset petals “pinkish salmon”.

Moreover, in photographs under different lighting, the same bush looks different: its flowers seem to be almost pink, or more close to a real orange color. In addition, I want to note that as the dissolution progresses, the petals also change color: the most intense color scheme, close to orange, have just blossomed flowers, but over time they gradually fade and become more pinkish.

The inflorescences of this petunia are large, 5-6 centimeters in diameter, the petals are delicate and mother-of-pearl, because of which they can suffer from heavy rain. As for the habit, I can say with confidence that this petunia is still exclusively bush, and, planted in different conditions, never behaved like ampelous. The African Sunset is quite strong and pointed upwards, so the bushes do not cascade even when planted at the edge of the container.

Unlike genetically ampelous petunias, this hybrid is not particularly prone to branching independently, and in the absence of formation, it can grow as a "stick" with flowers at the end. Therefore, in order to get dense branchy bushes, for better tillering, African Sunset petunia must be pinched several times as it grows.

I did not notice any significant features when growing this unusual petunia. The seeds are sold in granules, like most modern hybrids, seedlings appear in a standard time - from three days to a week. Seedlings are uneven, in one batch of seeds there are both rapidly developing and initially frail specimens (it is better to remove the latter immediately, since they are not promising in the future). When sown in March, flowering begins in June.

I really enjoyed using African Sunset petunias in container compositions in combination with annuals of yellow or purple colors. But once I could not find the seeds of this hybrid on sale in large flower shops.

Petunia African Sunset ("African Sunset")
Petunia African Sunset ("African Sunset")

Why are orange petunias missing?

As it turned out later, the disappearance of the unusual petunia was not an accident. The African Sunset hybrid has been at the center of an international scandal, which is why it has disappeared from all retail chains. The fact is that the orange color of this petunia was not the result of selection work.

A similar color in the African Sunset cultivar was the result of genetic engineering, and the hybrid acquired salmon flowers due to the implantation of the corn gene into the plant DNA. Thus, this petunia began to be classified as genetically modified products.

After the GMO origin of this hybrid became widely known, the US, EU and Australian Departments of Agriculture decided to withdraw African Sunset from the market, and all growers were urged to destroy the plants immediately after flowering “by composting or burning, or in any other way to prevent self-seeding."

In different countries of the European Union, the authorities motivated this decision in different ways. For example, the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs expressed the opinion that the consequences of growing transgenic petunias in the garden could be “unexpected”, and such plants could theoretically even harm Britain's wildlife.

In any case, most gardeners were outraged by such a categorical decision, citing the fact that the same decree stated that, according to scientists, GMO petunias still do not pose a serious danger, and in any case, the harm from such plants has not been proven … According to ordinary citizens, petunias cannot threaten wildlife or human health because they are cultivated in private gardens, do not give self-seeding (since they cannot tolerate freezing temperatures), and even more so they are not eaten, therefore such a ban looks superfluous.

Subsequently, information was leaked to the press that African Sunset petunia fell out of favor not so much because of its GMO origin, but because its distribution was not authorized. For the first time, genetically modified orange petunias were bred several decades ago for purely scientific purposes without relying on the commercialization of the hybrid. Nevertheless, many years later, the cultivar still goes on sale in secret from the scientists who created it, without any labeling about belonging to GMO goods.

According to other sources, competitors are trying to drown Takii seed in a similar way, since there are other GMO petunias on the market, the sale of which does not bother anyone.

But despite the fact that in Russia and neighboring countries, a ban on genetically modified petunias was not introduced, at present, the orange African Sunset petunia cannot be purchased from us, since its seeds were imported from abroad.

Other varieties of orange petunias that are banned are mainly vegetative:

  • Bonnie Orange;
  • Crazytunia Citrus Twist;
  • Electric Orange;
  • Go! Tunia Orange;
  • Lipstick;
  • My Love Orange;
  • Orange Star (Pegasus Orange Star, Pegasus Orange, Pegasus Orange Morn);
  • Potunia Plus Papaya;
  • Trilogy Mango;
  • Viva Fire.

Testing of hybrids is still ongoing and this list can be increased.

Petunia Indian Summer ("Indian Summer")
Petunia Indian Summer ("Indian Summer")
Petunia Daddy red
Petunia Daddy red
Petunia Picobella Salmon
Petunia Picobella Salmon

Replacement options - the best varieties of salmon colored petunias

Life is changeable and, perhaps, after some time, the African Sunset hybrid will again become available to growers around the world. In the meantime, the scandal around genetically modified petunias has not subsided, I propose to take a closer look at other petunia hybrids that have a salmon color.

In many variety series of modern petunias, both spray and ampelous, you can find a color designated as Salmon, which translates from English as "salmon". Of course, in terms of the degree of "orange" this color is far from the coloration of the famous African Sunset hybrid, but still this color is quite pleasant and unusual for petunias. In some varieties, the salmon shade is more intense and closer to coral red, while in others it is lighter, like a variant of pink.

Petunia Picobella Salmon is one of my favorite salmon species. This hybrid belongs to semi-ample, it can hang a little from the pots. Petunia flowers are medium-sized, but very numerous and cover the plant until late autumn. The color of the petals is reddish with a white throat. The bushes are very fluffy and do not require pinching.

Petunia Eagle Salmon - refers to large-flowered hybrids. The Eagle series is notable for compact shrubs 15-25 centimeters high, covered with numerous very large flowers - up to 10-12 centimeters in diameter. You can also note the large-flowered petunia Ez Rider Deep Salmon, which looks very similar to the Eagle. It is better to pinch both petunias at seedling age.

Petunia Eagle Salmon
Petunia Eagle Salmon

Petunia Duvet Salmon is a popular large-flowered hybrid. The peculiarity of this series is that these plants bloom early, even if grown under short daylight conditions. Otherwise, this cultivar is similar to the petunias Eagle Salmon and Ez Rider Deep Salmon.

Petunia Daddy red is perhaps the closest shade to true salmon. A feature of this series is the bright veins coming from the center of the flower. In Daddy red petunia, a similar pattern has a bright salmon color, while the edge of the petals is pinkish. The diameter of the flower is 12 centimeters. The bushes are small (up to 20 centimeters) and it is advisable to pinch them at a young age. One of the main disadvantages of this luxurious variety is the tendency to rot flowers from rain.

In the group of ampelous ones, you can also find petunias with salmon-colored flowers.

The Ramblin Peach Glo petunia is distinguished by its large pinkish-salmon flowers with a characteristic red ring at the center. Despite the fact that the Ramblin series belongs to the ampelous variety series, different colors behave differently in relation to the shape of the bush. And if the purple Ramblin Blue forms a real ampel, then a plant with a salmon tint can rather be called a semi-ampel.

Petunia Easy Wave Coral Reef has a petal shade close to coral. In terms of the shape of the bush, this is a real ampelous plant, falling outside the container by 60 centimeters. The flowers are medium in size, do not suffer from rain and do not need to be removed after flowering.

Petunia Amore Mio Orange is a new product of 2016, awarded with the Gold Medal of the International Association of Flower Breeders, Producers and Sellers of Fleuroselect. In addition to unusual red-orange flowers, manufacturers promise that this petunia will delight flower growers with an unusual scent reminiscent of the smell of jasmine. Bushes "Amore Mio" are distinguished by a compact spherical shape and small height (20-25 centimeters). Bright flowers of medium size (5-6) centimeters, do not deteriorate under the influence of adverse weather conditions.

I would especially like to note the amazing Indian Summer petunia ("Indian Summer"). This hybrid belongs to vegetative petunias, which propagate exclusively by cuttings. By some miracle, this petunia has not come under the ban on orange petunias and can be easily found on sale in the form of seedlings.

I can't say for sure, but perhaps its secret is that the orange hue of the hybrid is not the result of genetic engineering, but an optical illusion. For the first time I saw this amazing petunia in urban landscaping, and from a distance it seemed to me really orange. But on closer inspection, I found that its petals have different shades of bright yellow, pink and salmon, combined in one flower, which produces an orange effect from a distance.

This petunia is a real chameleon. Freshly blossomed buds are distinguished by a solid yellow color with a slight greenish tint. And as they dissolve, the flowers seem to "tan", acquiring a salmon-pink blush of varying intensity. Thus, flowers of different colors can be observed on one plant, since some inflorescences remain yellow, while others have a "tan".

Hybrid "Indian Summer" refers to ampel, thin lashes easily fall outside the pot and can reach a length of more than 80 centimeters. Plants bush well on their own, flowering is continuous throughout the warm season, and the flowers are highly resistant to wind and rain.

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