'Night Sky' May Be the Prettiest Petunia You've Ever Seen

With its white starry speckles, this gorgeous purple petunia is nothing short of otherworldly.

Petunias are known as easy-to-grow annuals, praised for their ability to bring long-lasting color to your garden or patio in the summer. But they also tend to blend into the background—precisely because they are so reliable, which can make them feel a bit predictable.

'Night Sky' petunias will upend every preconceived notion you might have about petunias. Their vivid purple petals are speckled with white, giving them a dappled, otherworldly appearance. At first, you might not even believe they're petunias, since they probably look like nothing you've ever seen at a garden center. Solid purple varieties do exist, but these belong in a whole other category. The starry effect of the white spots on the 'Night Sky' flower is completely mesmerizing.

purple petunia galaxy flower
Courtesy of @stabilityfarmgreenhouse

Sometimes called galaxy flower or 'Starry Night' petunia, thanks to its resemblance to the cosmos, this variety is relatively new—it was introduced in 2016. Since then, it's gained popularity on Instagram, with nearly 7,000 posts tagged #nightskypetunia. Gazing at a single bloom up close is like admiring a constellation-spangled sky through a telescope, although these unique petunias also lend some serious star power to containers or hanging baskets observed from afar.

For a slightly different take on the look, consider 'Starry Sky Burgundy' and 'Pink Sky' varieties. Both have similar white speckles on their petals, but 'Starry Sky Burgundy' is deep red with a yellow starburst in the center, while 'Pink Sky' has cheery hot pink blooms.

How to Grow ‘Night Sky’ Petunias

Petunias are annuals, so they last only one growing season. Luckily, once they're blooming, they'll continue flowering for months until the first fall frost. 'Night Sky' petunias usually unleash their color in summer and continue showing off through the fall. Plant them in a spot with full sun, where they'll get at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. Any less, and your plants will likely produce fewer flowers.

Petunias are drought-tolerant, but they don't like to be planted in soggy soil. So be sure to choose a well-drained spot. If you plant them in a container or hanging basket, let the top of the soil go dry to the touch before watering, keeping in mind that some planters could require watering every day.

Near-constant blooming uses up lots of energy, so petunias need to be planted in rich, nutrient-dense soil with plenty of organic matter. Fertilizing them regularly also will help the plant keep producing flowers; use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer every two weeks for containers and every three weeks for garden petunias. They shouldn't need much deadheading since the spent flowers usually fall off on their own. However, you can give them a light trim halfway through the season if the stems look leggy.

The pattern on each 'Night Sky' flower can change with the temperature, so your blossoms might transform as the growing season progresses. In general, cooler temperatures will yield more white spots and warmer temperatures will intensify the purple color. Usually, you'll see galaxy flowers swirled with the most "stars" in fall, as the weather begins cooling down.

If you want to start the seeds yourself, follow the instructions on the seed packet—typically, they need to get growing by late February. If you prefer to buy flowers, most growers start shipping them in May, when many parts of the country have already had their final spring frost. For most regions, mid-May to early June is the best time to plant these one-of-a-kind petunias outside.

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