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‘Surfinia’ and ‘tidal wave’ petunia - what’s the difference?

what’s the difference between ‘surfinia’ and ‘tidal wave’ petunias? It seems both don’t need deadheading so I’m not sure what the difference is…


  • AthelasAthelas CambridgeshirePosts: 685
    edited May 2021

    Wave and Surfinia (and Supertunia) are brand names for different marketed groups of petunia.

    Wave petunias were introduced in the US in 1995 by Ball Horticultural (USA), and Surfinia petunias in 2006 by MNP/Suntory (Japan). Tidal Wave petunias have the largest flowers and are the most upright of the Wave series (image below from  lists sizes).

    Wave petunias are described as aggressive ground covering annuals that can be grown from seed, making them a more affordable option than Surfinias which are vegetatively propagated. Wave petunias were original developed as ground cover and they also work well as container flowers such as in hanging baskets with the online advice not to mix them, or to mix them with equally aggressive plants, as Wave will otherwise choke them out. Surfinias are said to have a more controlled draping and trailing habit, be more weather resistant, and can more happily mix with other plants in a hanging basket. Both don’t require deadheading.

    Some more discussion on the differences here:

  • Thanks! So basically main difference for end users is that surfinia’s have a more trailing habit.
  • AthelasAthelas CambridgeshirePosts: 685
    edited May 2021
    Yes, Tidal Wave is often sold as climbers or ground cover (e.g.  and ), but it will still trail and be great in a hanging basket if that is what you plan to do

    The site in the first link in my earlier post, which is about using petunias for hanging baskets, says:

    Waves were bred as groundcover petunias (although they perform well in containers), and they have longer internodes than the Supertunias, so the greater distance between growth points–and flowers–gives them a more open look. Waves also have more slender, flexible internodes than vegetatively propagated petunias, which translates to possibly greater wind resistance. My Wave petunias have endured some punishing winds with no stem breakage.

    Meanwhile in the second link in my earlier post, the Surfinia marketing-speak is:

    Because of the breeding of Surfinia petunias, and all the research we do, we feel quite certain that our petunias do not get leggy, or stretch, simply because the distance between the nodes in the branching remain short, or certainly much shorter than competitors like Wave petunias. 

    Surfinia petunias are bred to stay compact in habit, and that is what they do. even our trailing petunias that can grow as long as eight feet across, retain the short node habit, so there is more branching and more even flowering throughout the plant. 

    Most competing petunias do have a tendency to stretch and get leggy, particularly towards the dog days of Summer, while Surfinia petunias retain their compactness.

  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 2,285
    All you need to know is wave petunia are superior, well they in my opinion. They tend to flower around the whole plant unlike surfinias which tend to lean in baskets and then snap with a bit of wind. Both or nice but wave for me and my conditions everytime. 
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,356
    Hidden in all that info was an important snippet. Surfinias are sterile so you can't grow them from seed, they are propagated by cuttings, therefore are more expensive.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    Super useful @Athelas - thanks for that!
  • Thanks very useful info! @Athelas
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