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(ARA) - "Show-stopping." "Stunning." "Spectacular." Ten years after its introduction, everyone still raves about Wave petunias.

The number one petunia in the world, Wave is still a garden favorite but don't think it is anything like your grandmother's petunias. These easy to grow flowers deliver huge "wow" appeal without a lot of fuss, according to Stephanie Cohen, author of "The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer."

"Wave revolutionized petunias," says plant expert Cohen. "Old-fashioned petunias were stringy and very demanding, needing a lot of pinching and deadheading. Now you can just plant Wave, feed and water, and you have a WOW display of color."

Unlike standard petunias, the plants are literally covered in 2-inch blooms and nearly grow before your eyes, spreading up to 4 feet in a matter of weeks. Plus they are more disease-tolerant than most petunias, stand up to both heat and cooler conditions, and bounce back from heavy rain.

"There are a lot of 'Wave wanna-bees' but there is only one authentic Wave petunia," warns Cohen. "Be sure to look for the authentic Wave petunia or any of its sisters and ask for it by name."

Wave comes in four different types and many colors. Here's a primer on the four Wave series and how to use them in distinct ways in the garden to create many dramatic looks:

Original Wave Petunias Give More Gardening Bang

The granddaddy of them all, Wave petunias are the #1 choice of landscapers and gardeners alike. These low-growing, fast spreading petunias are extremely versatile. Use them to create show-stopping groundcovers, lush hanging baskets, full containers or huge color bowls.

Spreading as much as 4 feet in a season with flowers covering the entire length of each branch, a few plants give you more bang for the buck. Plant a mass of Waves in a free-form design or arrange them in stripes, borders or clusters to make a stunning statement without a lot of work.

Easy Wave Petunias Grow into Neat Mounds of Color

If you want a more controlled growth habit for landscapes, beds, baskets and containers, try Easy Wave to create high-impact with minimal care. Easy Wave petunias fill out well in the center and stay full all season, mounding up to 12 inches by 3 feet.

Create a massive globe of color by punching holes in the sides of a cocoa basket and fill in with young plants of Easy Wave petunias until the ball is covered with flowers spaced about 4 to 6 inches apart. The petunias will spread and mound from the center to produce a full, lush ball of color in hot pink to pastel purple.

Tidal Wave Petunias Grow Like a Hedge

Plant Tidal Wave petunias close together and watch them naturally grow like a vine up to 3 feet tall to form full, lush hedges of color. When given plenty of space, this petunia makes a floriferous ground cover, spreading out up to 3 feet per plant.

Tidal Wave holds up under rain without falling open and exposing bare centers like some petunias can. Fill a container and add a center support, and these petunias will make a dramatic display of color.

Double Wave Petunias Offer Double Petal Power

Super-vigorous Double Waves fill landscapes and baskets fast with a bounty of double blooms that look like carnations. Double Wave petunias deliver the terrific garden performance only a Ride the Wave petunia can. Available in seven great colors, it is perfect for baskets and containers or planted in a sweep in the landscape.

New to the family this spring is Easy Wave Red, the first "true red" Wave petunia. Combine with Easy Wave White and Easy Wave Blue for a patriotic look. Perfect for large landscape plantings, garden beds, or large containers, these full, fast-flowering plants bloom continuously all season without cutting back.

All Wave petunias prefer sunny spots -- at least 6 hours of direct sunlight is best. Keep them well-fed, don't let them dry out and give them a good all-purpose fertilizer every 10 to 14 days, especially when grown in containers.

To find your favorite Wave Petunia at a garden center near you, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content