My garden is pretty much founded on Mexican Petunias. They are everywhere.
They were the first plant I planted in earnest spending over $100 on them from Home Depot. I can remember how many I brought but it was a lot.
These are kind of established now, especially in the sunny part where im now taking to trimming them like a hedge which I think is a good id as it stops them getting long and scrawny and encourages the stems to woody up a bit.
These are doing really well, in particular the cuttings are really taking off. Below there is a new picture of a clump of cuttings I made to populate a bare area. Also, a picture that shows the incredible density of the petunias in the hot area.
To be honest, Mexican Petunias might not have been the best choice. I wanted them for two reasons, firstly I wanted to soften the sides of the house which were stark with neglect, and still are to some extent its just you cant see it. And secondly I wanted to create a border around the house to keep the kids out as there was pretty much no boundry fence at all. From the photos below you'll be able to see my progress.
They are a bit of a favorite either way but they are not really the instance barrier that I was hoping for, I would have been better off focussing on a solid Ligustrum type hedge, however, they are ok. I started out buying loads of plants from Home depot but spacing them 3-4 feet apart was too loose and I have spent the last two years thinking of cheaper was to develop my main garden feature, primarily through cuttings planted mainly directly into the ground as well as pots, but also by flattening long thin stems so they root, the latter being a more recent technique yet to be carried out in earnest but having already proven itself a number of times by chance.
As you can see from the photos they have grown quite a bit but they are hardly a creen. The plants with the most sunlight have grown the most to an almost impassable dense mass whilst the plants just meters away havnt even done half as well even with much more of their share of the water seeing as they are below the roof line.
The photos above show an assortment of shots associated with propogating Mexican Petunias. For the past year or two I have been simply taking cuttings and putting them in the ground but now im experimenting with 'laying' which means taking a long stem and pinning it to the ground. You can see how im making the pins from 14 gauge wire, cutting it and them bending it with my hands. Its a pretty good process. The photos show two layed stems. I figure they'll either root or sprout normally. The last photos are of a cutting I accidently dug up. Its either about a week old OR from December? I think its from December as the roots look pretty well developed.
Its easy to overlook the Mexican Petunias as there are so many of them. However, I guess they have really come along. They are not quite what I hoped for as the label said they grow to 6 feet, but they are still quite large. They definatly preffer sunlight. Im also quite happy with the rate to which the cuttings are taking off. Its a bit selective, I think the cuttings dont like drying out, but id say its about a 40% success rate. However, now that they are so well developed I dont need to go to the beech to take cuttings, I can have all the cuttings I want right there, and whats better, I can take the cutting and plant it right away whereas before they were sitting in a hot car all day and not getting planted for hours so not only do I have vitually all the cuttings I need, but they are fresh.
I have taken photos of some of the denser crops and you can really see the tangled mass that they have become, especially considering that I didnt really start planting them until February 2010 so thats really only 1.5 years of growth!! Now thats fast. So im pretty happy with them, they serve much of their purpose, now all I need to do is wait for the Oleanders to grow up and complete the screen. I have also put a lot of other plants in there to help so the Petunias are like an advance party but once the trees, palms, oleanders and other plants kick in im pretty sure that 'eventually' it will be a pretty private garden.
I have just found a photo were I was first planting them in February 2010, its the large one with the shovel, so you can see how far its come.
A quick note on laying. I dont think id really recommend it as it only works about 30% of the time and you loose a good stem. I think pruning the tops and planting those is easily the best option.