In 2014, the Japanese company "Takii seed" introduced a petunia with a striking color of petals - salmon-orange. By associations with the bright colors of the southern sunset sky, a unique hybrid is called 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 suddenly disappeared from storefronts, and now the African Sunset hybrid is almost impossible to purchase. 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 salmon beauty in the flower garden.Where did the orange petunia disappear, and what varieties should it be replaced?
Petunia "African Sunset" - my growing experience
The traditional colors of petunias are white and various shades of purple, due to the natural color of the wild ancestors of hybrid petunias. But companies engaged in the selection of ornamental crops are well aware of the fact that the greatest demand among flower growers is in varieties with flowers of rare colors that are not typical for a particular species.
According to producers, African Sunset petunia was the first hybrid of orange petunia that can be grown independently from seeds. Earlier, petunias of the orange-salmon color scheme already existed, but these were cultivars that propagated exclusively by the vegetative way, and they were rarely found on sale.
Of course, as a fan of wonders, I immediately acquired the seeds of orange petunias as soon as they went on sale. According to the manufacturers' description, the African Sunset hybrid 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 could fall from the edge of the cache-pot and hang down by 60 centimeters.
In addition to other varieties of petunia, I grew this cultivar for three years in a row, and under different conditions the variety showed itself in about the same way. 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 pink-salmon petals of African Sunset petunias.
Moreover, in photographs under different lighting, the same bush looks different: its flowers seem to be almost pink, then closer to the real orange color. In addition, I want to note that as the petals dissolve, the petals also change color: the most saturated colors, close to orange, have fresh flowers, but over time they gradually fade and become more pinkish.
If you are interested in understanding the full variety of hybrids and varieties of petunias, read our material How not to get confused in the varieties of petunias and choose the right one.
The inflorescences of this petunia are large, 5-6 centimeters in diameter, the petals are tender and mother-of-pearl, because of which they can suffer from heavy rain. As for habitus, I can say with confidence that this petunia is nevertheless exclusively bushy, and, planted under different conditions, never behaved like an ampelous one. The shoots of the African Sunset hybrid are quite strong and are directed upwards, so the bushes do not form a cascade, even if they are planted at the edge of the container.
Unlike genetically ampelous petunias, this hybrid is not particularly prone to independent branching, and in the absence of formation it can grow a “stick” with flowers at the end. Therefore, in order to get thick branchy bushes, for better tillering, African Sunset petunia must be nipped several times as it grows.
I did not notice any significant features when growing this unusual petunia. Seeds are sold in granules, like most modern hybrids, seedlings appear in a standard period - from three days to a week. Seedlings are uneven, in one seed batch there are both rapidly developing and initially frail specimens (the latter are best removed immediately, since in the future they are not promising). When sown in March, flowering begins in June.
I really liked to use 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 for sale in large flower shops.Petunia African Sunset ("African sunset").
Why did the orange petunias disappear?
As it later turned out, the disappearance of an unusual petunia was not an accident. The African Sunset Hybrid is 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 breeding work.
A similar color in the African Sunset cultivar was the result of genetic engineering, and the hybrid acquired salmon flowers through the implantation of a corn gene in the DNA of a plant. Thus, this petunia began to relate to genetically modified foods.
After the GMO origin of this hybrid became widely known, the Ministries of Agriculture of the USA, EU and Australia decided to withdraw the African Sunset cultivar from sale, and all gardeners were urged to destroy the plants immediately after flowering "by composting or burning, or any other way to prevent self-seeding. "
In different countries of the European Union, the authorities motivated this decision in different ways. Thus, the "Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture of Great Britain" expressed the opinion that the consequences of growing transgenic petunias in the garden can be "unexpected", and such plants could theoretically even damage the wildlife of Britain.
In any case, most gardeners were outraged by such a categorical decision, referring to the fact that the same decision stated that according to scientists, GMO petunias still do not pose a serious danger, and in any case, the damage from such plants is not 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 do not tolerate negative temperatures), and even more so are not eaten, so such a ban seems unnecessary.
Subsequently, information leaked to the press that the 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, after many years, the cultivar still goes on sale in secret from the scientists who created it, without any marking of belonging to GMO products.
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.
Note: By the way, many carnations of unusual colors (for example, blue) are also genetically modified colors. Nevertheless, their import into the EU countries as cut material is not prohibited. Also in the EU countries, genetically modified soy, rape and corn are allowed for sale. And the latter is even grown in the fields on the territory of the European Union.
But despite the fact that no ban on genetically modified petunias was introduced in Russia and neighboring countries, at present African Sunset orange petunia cannot be purchased from us either, since its seeds were imported from abroad.
Note: In some online stores, African Sunset petunia seeds are still preserved, but all these are the remains of old supplies of two, three years ago, so you should not hope for their good germination.
Other varieties of orange petunias that are banned belong mainly to vegetative ones:
- Bonnie Orange;
- Crazytunia Citrus Twist;
- Electric Orange
- Go! Tunia Orange;
- My love orange;
- Orange Star (Pegasus Orange Star, Pegasus Orange, Pegasus Orange Morn);
- Potunia Plus Papaya;
- Trilogy Mango;
- Viva Fire.
Hybrid testing is still ongoing and this list may be increased.Petunia Indian Summer ("Indian Summer"). Petunia Daddy red. Petunia Picobella Salmon.
Replacement Options - Best Salmon Petunias
Life is changeable and, perhaps, after some time, the African Sunset hybrid will again become available to flower growers around the world. In the meantime, the scandal surrounding genetically modified petunias has not abated, I suggest that you look at other hybrids of petunias that have a salmon color.
In many varietal series of modern petunias, both bush and ampelous, you can find a coloring, denoted as Salmon, which translates from English - "salmon". Of course, by the degree of "orangeness" this color is far from the color 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 saturated and close to coral red, while in others it is lighter, like a pink version.
Petunia Picobella salmon - one of my favorite salmon varieties. This hybrid is semi-amp; it can hang a little from the cache-pot. 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 bushes with a height of 15-25 centimeters, covered with numerous flowers of a very large size - up to 10-12 centimeters in diameter. You can also note the large-flowered petunia Ez rider deep salmonwhich looks very similar to Eagle. Both petunias are better to pinch in seedling age.Petunia Eagle Salmon.
Petunia Duvet salmon - A popular large-flowered hybrid. The peculiarity of this series is that these plants bloom early, even if grown in short daylight hours. Otherwise, this cultivar is similar to the petunias Eagle Salmon and Ez Rider Deep Salmon.
Petunia Daddy red, perhaps, has a shade closest to the real salmon color. A feature of this series are bright veins coming from the center of the flower. In Daddy red petunias, this 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 its tendency to rot flowers from rain.
In the ampelous group, you can also find petunias having salmon-colored flowers.
Petunia Ramblin peach glo differs in large pinkish-moss flowers with a characteristic red ring at the center. Despite the fact that the Ramblin series refers to ampel variety varieties, different colors behave differently with respect to the shape of the bush. And if purple Ramblin blue If it forms a real ampel, then a plant with a salmon tint can more likely be called semi-ampel.
At the petunia Easy Wave Coral Reef the shade of the petals is close to coral. In terms of the shape of the bush, this is a real ampel plant that falls 60 cm from the container. The flowers are medium sized, do not suffer from rain and do not require removal after flowering.
Petunia Amore Mio Orange - a novelty of 2016, awarded the gold medal of the International Association of Breeders, Producers and Sellers of Floral Cultures Fleuroselect. In addition to the unusual flowers of red-orange color, the manufacturers promise that this petunia will delight the growers with an unusual aroma reminiscent of the smell of jasmine. Shrubs "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 especially want to note the amazing petunia Indian summer ("Indian summer") This hybrid belongs to vegetative petunias, which propagate exclusively by cuttings. By some miracle, this petunia did not fall 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 her secret is that the orange hue of the hybrid is not the result of genetic engineering, but a visual illusion. For the first time I saw this amazing petunia in urban landscaping, and from a distance it seemed to me really orange. But coming closer, I found that her petals have different shades of bright yellow, pink and salmon, combined in one flower, which in the distance produces the effect of an orange color.
This petunia is a real chameleon. Freshly blossomed buds are solid yellow with a slight greenish tint. And as they dissolve, the flowers seem to “sunbathe,” acquiring a salmon-pink blush of varying intensity. Thus, flowers of various colors can be observed on one plant, as some inflorescences remain yellow, while others have a tan.
Hybrid "Indian Summer" refers to ampelous, thin lashes easily fall outside the pot and can reach a length of more than 80 centimeters. Plants independently bush well, flowering continuously throughout the entire warm season, and the flowers are highly resistant to wind and rain.