Wave Petunias vs. Supertunias

bubblegum supertunia flowering in lancaster pa

To many people, the number of categories and varieties of petunias can be overwhelming. From Supertunias to wave petunias, there’s normally many types of petunias to choose from at a greenhouse or garden center.

At Homestead Gardens, we get asked this question a lot, so we put together a guide for understanding the big differences between wave petunias and Supertunias.

What’s the difference between wave petunias and Supertunias?

Wave petunias are aggressive ground covering annuals that can be grown from seed (making them often the more affordable option). Due to their spreading nature, wave petunias grow great in flower beds and gardens; however, they can also grow well in pots or hanging baskets.

Supertunias, on the other hand, are considered an “elite” version of wave petunias. Supertunias were bread to bloom profusely, self-deadhead and depending on the variety will mound and spread similar to a wave petunia.

Comparing the two

It can be difficult to compare wave petunias and Supertunias because in a lot of ways they are very similar: they both are annuals, easy-care, product beautiful blooms and very popular among growers.

One way to look at the differences is to think of Supertunias as the “Cadillac” of petunias. These plants were bred for size, beauty and the “wow” factor. 

Using the same analogy, wave petunias can be thought of as the “Chevy” of petunias. Many growers are familiar with them as they are reliable, easy-care and great for garden beds and container gardening. 

Both a Chevy and a Cadillac will (normally) get you where you want to go, but the Cadillac is certainly the more premium version of the two. The same is true for Supertunias — although often more expensive, Supertunias will add that extra flare for your garden.

A timeline of petunias

Before we get into the big differences between petunias vs Supertunias, here’s a bit of history.

Petunias have been around for hundreds of years, and have often been a favorite of growers for their scent which attracts butterflies and bees, their ease of care and their beautiful flowers. Some believe they can be sourced back to South American descent.

Then, in the mid-1990’s the wave petunia was introduced as a vigorous, spreading annual that produced larger blooms than traditional petunias. For years, the wave petunia became a popular choice for container gardening and landscape alike.

Finally, in 2006 the Supertunia was introduced by Proven Winner, a popular breeder of premier plant varieties. The catch was, unlike with wave petunias that could be grown from seed by anyone, Supertunias could only be purchased as plugs by licensed greenhouses and growing centers. While these small differences makes Supertunias a more expensive option, it also controls the quality and healthiness of the plant. 

5 differences between wave petunias and supertunias

Here are some other differences between Supertunias and wave petunias.

1. Colors available

Both wave petunias and Supertunias can be found in many different colors. Between the two types of plants, Supertunias may have more bold or unique flower color patterns. 

Most wave petunia varieties are common colors (red, white, blue, salmon, etc.), while Supertunias may come in a color like “raspberry blush” that has splashes of purple and red. 

Overall, both wave petunias and Supertunias offer great color options. Oftentimes, if you aren’t able to find a color in one type of petunia it can be found in another type.

2. Blooming

Both Supertunias and wave petunias will grow all summer long for you, if given the proper fertilizer and watering.

Supertunias will bloom slightly more aggressively, oftentimes blooming so much that the plant’s green foliage is hardly notable. Wave petunias can grow to produce many blooms as well, if given the proper care.

3. Size of flowers

Depending on the wave petunia variety, the blooms will be very close to the same size as Supertunias, if not the same. Shock Wave petunias will have smaller blooms, but Tidal Wave and Easy Wave petunias have larger blooms that are more comparable to Supertunias’ flowers.

4. Growing habits

Wave petunias are known to be vigorous spreaders. They are often used as a groundcover for this reason. Sometimes, if not trimmed back periodically, their long vines may get strangely.

Some Supertunias, such as Supertunia Vista, will spread close to the length of a wave petunia, stretching as far as 3-4 in some cases! Supertunias will also mound considerably, growing to as high as 2 feet tall. 

5. Fertilizer requirements

Both Supertunias and wave petunias will benefit greatly from being fertilized throughout the summer. Given Supertunias’ quality, they may be a little more forgiving of forgotten fertilization.

Wave petunia varieties vs Supertunia varieties

As a subcategory of these main petunia varieties, each has different types that grow differently. 

Here is a breakdown of the popular types of both wave petunias and Supertunias:

Wave petunia popular varieties

  • Tidal wave petunias
  • Shock wave petunias
  • Easy wave petunias

Supertunia popular varieties

  • Supertunia Vista
  • Supertunia Mini Vista
  • Supertunia Trailing
  • Supertunia Double

Benefits of wave petunias

Some of the main benefits of wave petunias are their value for their price, their spreading, and their ease of care.

If you are looking for an affordable way to fill your gardens, beds, and containers, wave petunias are your best bet. For a plant that spreads 3 to 4 feet and blooms abundantly, wave petunias are a great option. 

Homestead Gardens grows a variety of colors of wave petunias for just $1 a pot.

Benefits of Supertunias

Supertunias are more of an investment, but many growers prefer these flowers for their striking display and ease of growing.

It’s hard to go wrong with planting Supertunias — they’ll fill up whatever you grow them in with hundreds of beautiful blooms. You’ll just want to make sure that you aren’t planting Supertunias too close together, as too little space may hinder their health.

Homestead Gardens offers Supertunias for $2.59/pot.

Which is best for you?

Between wave petunias and Supertunias there really isn’t a wrong answer. Each type of plant grows great in part to full sun, is relatively easy-care, and blooms striking colors of flowers.
For more information on growing, feel free to browse our blog.

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