Problems with ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ petunia

I don’t think I’ve ever written anything bad about plants I’ve trialed for Proven Winners Plants so this is hard for me. But I promised to write fair reports and not mislead my readers. I am a Proven Winners fan and purchase this brand every summer. But I can’t in good faith recommend the new petunia ‘Pretty Much Picasso’.

I received several ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ petunias from the grower and purchased one from a local nursery. I take excellent care of my flowers and they receive proper watering and on time fertilizer treatments. I am growing several other petunias from Proven Winners that are doing excellently.

‘Pretty Much Picasso’ started out healthy. Some were planted in the ground and others in containers. We have had an above average hot summer–but again–all my other petunias are doing as expected in these conditions. I’ve grown PW petunias for years. I also worked at a nursery that sold/sells PW plants so I’m very experienced at taking care of them.

These plants started showing stress about a month after they were planted. The blooms never fully opened and the leaves began to shrivel up. I pulled them all out of the containers and cut one back to the ground.

The one cut back to the ground is coming back but not enough growth yet to determine how it is going to do.

I thought it important to write a post about this because I’ve received emails asking if I was having trouble with the growth habit of this petunia. Others who frequent my blog are reporting the same results. Their ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ has either shriveled up and died or not performing like the other petunias by PW.

I’d like to know your results with this plant.

The nursery where I purchase my plants reported they did not like the ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ either. They planted them in hanging baskets and said the leaves took over but the blooms did not show. They also reported to me that it was an above average feeder with both water and fertilizer.

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26 comments on “Problems with ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ petunia

  1. Pingback: Proven Winners Plants fired me over one negative post – Flowergardengirl™

  2. I have had mainly positive experiences with Pretty Much Picasso. I’m generally not a petunia fan, but I fell in love with the lime-green edging and hot pink of PMP! Love that dash of lime. I found the plants vigorous and heat-tolerant. My only complaint was that, in late summer, its leaves paled and became sticky – although I could never see any insects on it – almost like aphid sap. But I cut it back, fertilized, and it rebounded. Other than that, I thought it was a winner.

  3. Last year, I had PMP in a hanging container, and it did well until extreme heat hit. This spring, I wanted to try a different method so I bought two plants and put them in a very large container on my deck. They receive some shade from a fire stick euphorbia and other plants in the pot. So far, in spite of heavy duty heat, PMP is beautiful and clambering around in the pot with abandon. I like the way it looks with Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’

    • ( Name Changed) , nice to see you here. I’m glad it’s doing better for you. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten plenty of emails this year asking me why their PMP isn’t doing well. I think I’ll write another article on it and combine all the information I’ve learned thus far. It will be helpful to those trying to grow this plant. If you’ve got a photo or link to an article you did on the one growing in your gardens this year, I’d love to read it.

      • Anna, I haven’t written anything on Pretty Much Picasso since last year. The comments just popped up again in my email, and I thought I’d tell you how it’s doing for me this year. I made a few changes, and it is performing well. I found it didn’t like being in a hanging basket for sure. I’ll try to get a photo of the present container for you tonight when it isn’t so hot and sunny out on the deck. Have a great day.~~Dee

  4. I live in Maple Grove, Minnesota and had these in containers last year and noticed similar problems. This year I put some in the ground and am planning on yanking them out shortly because they are doing worse in the ground. I also purchased a combination hanging basket with it in it that looked gorgeous 2 weeks ago, but the picasso is already starting to have problems. I think I’m done with this plant!

    • Pam, I’m having problems with a lot of my expensive annuals this year and especially Proven Winners. My only guess –and this is just a guess……the growers got heavy handed on the growth retardants. I’m not a fan of Pretty Much Picasso and now I’ve got problems with these others too. The grower is putting too much growth regulator on them—and then they won’t take up nutrients and water when you get them home. They will look lush and full at the retail store–but then no matter what you do—they won’t grow even when looking lush. They just wilt and die. I’m so aggravated. I can’t get anyone to listen to me so I’m going back to old fashioned grown from seed type stock.

  5. I am having similar problems with my PMP. I live in NC also and bought two hanging baskets for my front porch (which receives evening sun). At first they did really well, really full and full of blooms, but have since started to look really droopy and dried out. I’ve tried watering every day, adding more potting soil, but they continue to look more and more dried out and keep getting stringy-er looking. Can I take a pair of scissors and cut them back to the bottom of the pot or will that kill them further? I’m not an expert gardener and haven’t tried fertilizer yet, but just wondering what I should do to help them out. I’m hoping they don’t die because they were expensive!

    • Misty, I’m sorry that you comment did no appear until today—-let me try to explain what I’ve experienced this summer.
      PMP needs a good regular fertilizer—liquid–once a week. It does not like to dry out at all and sometimes in those baskets needs to be watered twice a day here in NC.

      Now that being said—I’m having trouble with several of the new cultiars this season and here’s my guess…..it’s an educated guess but can not be proven. Several of my expensive petunias and such are acting as you’ve stated above. They look like they need watering but this does not cure the problem. There is a chemical that the grower uses which extends shelf life of a plant. I suspect that many of my plants have been over sprayed with this chemical and it has affected their ability to become a healthy adult plant.

      So assuming you have been watering, fertilizing, and tending the plant as needed—it could be….they started out life in poor soil—or, they have been sprayed too heavily with a growth retardant to extend store shelf life…….or this cultivar displays some inconsistent growth habits from one plant to another. Since you purchased two of these hanging baskets then I’m going to assume it’s either the chemical or the poor growth habit of this plant. Not all growers treat their plants the same. Could be if this plant was grown in better soil—the outcome would have been different.

      I hope that all made sense. Anna

  6. Hi Anna, I am glad I found this post, thank you for the info.

    As I am gathering my plant collection for next year in what to offer, I seen this review, and now my thoughts are should I add this one.

    In my experience with some proven winners , some varieties can be fushy with wet conditions, and petunias I have found need fed , and heavily.

    Not sure what would of happened here, I can throw a few ideas out, but unless I seen it wouldn’t know for sure, could of possibly developed root or stem rot, maybe pretty much picasso doesn’t like heat and direct sun as well..

    One thing I do know is , all proven winners can perform differently throughout the world. Depending on temps, locations, and fertilizer..

    Should I still try and offer this plant, not sure, I have emailed a gal I know offered this plant this season locally , I would like to know her thoughts too.

    Thank you for the heads up.. and Happy Gardening Anna. :)

  7. This is my first year planting anything, ever. The Pretty Much Picasso was doing terrific in a basket on our sunny front steps. Until we went on vacation and they didn’t get watered for a week with 90 degree days. I cut back the really shriveled stems and left it alone. 2 weeks later, green leaves were popping up all over the stems. 1 month later the plant is flowering and thriving. The only difference is that before vacation the plant was hanging and drooping outside the basket. Now the plant is growing straight up and sturdy.
    As an interesting side note, somehow a bit of the petunias fell on the mulch and sprouted a big patch of petunias that flowered – but without the lime green rim.

    • I had excellent luck with ‘Pretty Much Picasso’. I hung it in my apple tree and it stayed until frost. While all plants need as least a little sun, this plant did well for us because I did not have it in full sun all day. The heat in the Ohio Valley has to be taken into consideration. Most Plants gorw best in cooler climates. In my area watering frequently is a must. We water daily and if we leave we have someone come and water everyday.

  8. Up here in Medicine Hat Alberta I planted a wide bowl of this flower and it’s the best thing in my garden. A tremendous show. I love it.

  9. I bought this petunia plant from a local gardening center and was just thrilled with it until about 2 weeks ago when the heat really started to set in here in the northeast. The leaves started to shrivel up and have just about all fallen off. The flowers have somehow managed to hang on, though they look like death warmed over. I have been watering them consistently about 1-2 times a week. So far, I have not not given it fertilizer. The plant gets loads of sun. I’m going to cut it back and hope for the best.

  10. Mine started having issues so I put it in the shade and gave it some food and lots of water. It is starting to recover. It’s just so hot here, and two of mine were in large hanging baskets.

    Sorry you’re having troubles with yours too.~~Dee

  11. Anna -

    I am very sorry to hear about your experience with Supertunia Pretty Much Picasso. Petunias in general are water hogs and love being feed every time you water – I believe that is why Kathleen is having such success with hers. However, this plant will not perform like Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, which you love so much. They have different genetic backgrounds and Vista is a extremely vigorous and mounding petunia. Pretty Much Picasso doesn’t have the mounding qualities like Vista Bubblegum. I live in Seattle and my Pretty Much Picasso is doing well – although I am a bad with watering and fertilizing – she is still holding her own.

  12. I bought 2 of them. One I didn’t get planted in time & it died in its pot. The second one I put in a container. It’s alive, it’s blooming, it survived more than 48 hours in 90+ heat without watering, but it’s not wowing me with its performance.

  13. Monica sent me over to add my two cents worth. I have just one PMP petunia and it is doing just fine despite record rain and heat here in SE Michigan. Mine is in the ground, so it hasn’t dried out, and it’s under the outer reaches of a weeping cherry, so that gives it some filtered relief from the hot sun. I haven’t fertilized it very much either, but since it’s not in a container that shouldn’t be as big of an issue.

    I was warned that the flowers would not get very large because in order to get the color variation in the flower they had to sacrifice something. Mine has spread and gotten larger and does have quite a few flowers on it, but it didn’t get as full as I expected it would. Even though I knew the flowers would be small, I was expecting fuller foliage, perhaps along the lines of the wave petunias.

    I don’t know that I’d buy it again, primarily because of the price, but it was something I had to at least try once because I thought it was so unique looking. I’m generally not a petunia fan, but this one caught my eye during a presentation by one of the local nursery owners.

  14. Hi Anna, came here via Joey’s fb post. Hi! I’m not personally a petunia fan (though I did buy some for 25 cents at Lowes, lol), but a friend of mine here in Michigan has some ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ and I’ll send her over here to comment. My problem with the plant is its name; I’m a huge Picasso fan and the one color he really didn’t use at all was purple! (But I’ve often been chastised for being too literal, so this is probably a personal issue, lol!)

  15. Hi Anna. I am so surprised to read this. Strangely enough, I just blogged about this very petunia and how much I loved it, the other day. It’s performing wonderfully for me. Of course, I’m sure it’s much cooler in Colorado than N.C. I do fertilize my container plants almost every single time I water ~ maybe that helps?? I have tons of blooms tho and everyone who stops by wants to know about it. Sorry your results have not been the same.

    • Glad you chimed in Kathleen. I should not be one voice so it can receive a fair shake. Now I don’t fertilize every time I water–but do once a week with MG. I’m currently watering 3 times a day for some of pots–sheesh the heat is awful.

  16. As you know, I’ve had problems with this cultivar too, here in Nova Scotia, where it’s not nearly as hot as it is in North Carolina. PW sent these to me last year and I had even worse results, but I blamed it on myself last year: I was away all week every week until late June, the plants got put into containers in a hurry, etc etc. I also noted, in my report to PW, that my location tends to be cool with a lot of fog, and that petunias don’t appreciate such weather.
    So this year when I opened the box of trial plants and saw three or four PMP in the shipment, my heart sank. I put them into several different containers, including one that hangs on the door of the greenhouse. On cool and foggy nights, I closed the door so that the container was inside, away from all that moisture. The plants in that container did just fine until a couple of weeks ago, when they started to look puny, yellowing leaves and generally unhappy. I cut one of them back hoping to get a flush of new growth, but it continued to falter. Today I chucked those plants out into the compost. There IS still one plant in another container, and I will check on it tomorrow.
    I suspect it’s just some flaw in the genetics, but will be very interested to see what others have to say.

    • Good to know Jodi and thanks for the in depth report. I look forward to this conversation so we can get to the bottom of the issues with it. I truly want to know if this is happening to all or some of them across the globe.

      I get lobelia every year and watch it croak in these hot humid conditions but that is consistent with every brand and variety. I just learned I should not grow lobelia . Petunias on the other hand are my specialty.

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