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'LAURA BUSH' PETUNIA is a reseeding annual, old-fashioned petunia. It is more cold tolerant, disease resistant and heat tolerant than most modern hybrids. The plant has a spreading growth habit with deep violet, medium size flowers. 'Laura Bush' Petunia is the offspring of the 'V.I.P.' petunia (Very Important Petunia or Petunia violacea (Violet In Profusion) This 'V.I.P.' petunia is native to South America. The 'V.I.P.' flower is violet colored and the plant is heat tolerant and low spreading. The 'V.I.P.' plant is known for its profusion of small bell-shaped violet colored flowers. Both dainty and durable, it's one of the parents of all modern petunias. It is a great plant for beds, baskets or barrels. The 'V.I.P.' offspring, 'Laura Bush' petunia, offers just as many colorful blooms but the blooms are twice as large and the plant has larger, darker green foliage which serves as a background to showcase the spectacular floral display.
uncharacteristic of that plant type. For instance, we want citrus trees which produce good tasting fruit and tolerate minus 20 degree F. temperatures; we want tomatoes which will store for months after harvesting, produced on cold tolerant plants; we want flowers to grow in stone and bloom all year; we want petunias to tolerate the hot temperatures of summer and the cold temperatures of winter yet have a multitude of blooms. Why can't these characteristics be incorporated into the plant of our choice? For such wondrous characteristics to be utilized in a plant variety, the desired traits must be genetically inherent in some plant line(s) of that particular species so that, via plant breeding, these traits can be transferred to the ultimate, hybridized super-plant. Many times we want too much, i.e., you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. But in the case of petunias, especially in the case of creating a petunia which tolerates the hot summer temperatures and the cold temperatures of most Texas' winters yet has a multitude of blooms, the Mother ('V.I.P.') of all petunias which fulfills the heat and bloom requirements has been brought from Germany by Greg Grant, former Extension horticulturist, Director of product development for Color Spot Growers, and lecturer at Stephen F. Austin University. This tough little V.I.P. petunia was observed at a horticulture exposition in Stuttgart, Germany in July, 1993.There are basically five types of petunias: the double Grandiflora, double Multiflora, single Grandiflora which includes the large flowering cascades, single Multiflora, and California giants. The size of the flowers vary anywhere from the smallest of one inch in diameter to five to six inches. In the case of petunias, big IS NOT best! The big blooms of the Grandiflora petunias are showy and look nice in catalogs but they are not durable or practical.
The lightest rain or watering will droop and discolor the large Grandiflora blooms. Since the bloom is the focal point of a flower bed, the gardener wants as many beautiful blooms as possible.champs -- small, but durable and prolific. Multiflora petunias have medium-sized blooms and lots of them. Multiflora types are more disease tolerant and withstand South Central Texas winters better than other bloom types mentioned. Because 'Laura Bush' is a Multiflora petunia type, it inherits these characteristics which make it durable and beautiful. 'Laura Bush' petunia is the offspring of a chance cross of a single clone of 'V.I.P.' selected from a few seed from Germany and a mixed strain of old-fashion petunia in 1994. The 'V.I.P.' was the female parent and old-fashioned petunia was the male or pollen parent. The seedlings were planted at the San Antonio Botanical Center and on a hot day in June, 1996, 20 selections were made by Greg Grant and propagated by cuttings at Peterson Brothers Nursery. The rooted cuttings were transplanted into a field at the Henry Verstuyft farm in July, 1996, by Bexar County Master Gardeners. The heat of July eliminated over one-half of the selections but some selections were not at all affected by the hot summer temperature. The cold weather (22 degrees F.) of January, 1997, killed the rest -- except for the selection eventually named 'Laura Bush' by Greg Grant at Stephen F. Austin University in April, 1998. It is the most prolific reseeding hybrid petunia ever grown. The development of this petunia was made possible by seed extraction and cleaning technology developed by John Thomas of Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas. Wildseed Farms is the exclusive distributor of 'Laura Bush' petunia seed. Selections have been made which are violet, pink and purple. (Source: www.plantanswers.com)