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Products > Petunia exserta
Petunia exserta - Brazilian Red Petunia

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Solanaceae (Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Petunia exserta (Brazilian Red Petunia) A tender perennial or annual plant that grows fast to form a leafy 1 to 2 foot tall plant topped by cheery ruby-red star-shaped flowers from early summer through fall (into winter in mild climates). The flower type is called hypocrateriform, meaning a corolla tube that abruptly spreads and in this case it is the very attractive red corolla sitting atop a long tube with exerted stigma and stamens, the later with showy golden pollen. Plant in full coastal sun, morning sun or bright shade and irrigate regularly to occasionally. Winter hardy in USDA zones 9b and above but an annual plant elsewhere. This rare plant is endemic to a relatively small area (~500 sq km) of the Serras de Sudeste in the southeastern portion of Rio Grande do Sul state in southernmost Brazil, near Uruguay, where is can be found growing within shallow caves and cracks on sandstone towers where it is protected from direct sunlight and rainfall. It was described in 1987 by João Renato Stehmann of the University of Minas Gerais in the journal Napaea: Revista de botânica. It is not a parent of the red flowering commercial Petunia varieties, having been discovered decades after these varieties were first hybridized. It is the only ornithophilous (bird pollinated) species of the genus and pollinated by hummingbirds. It does not have a scent to attract pollinators such as its closest relatives do; the magenta-pink flowered Petunia secreta, which is pollinated by bees and the notably fragrant white flowering Petunia axillaris, that attracts nocturnal pollination by a hawkmoth. It is considered to be on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and hybridization with Petunia axillaris. The name for the genus comes from Latinized form of the Brazilian name 'petun' that was used for tobacco, a closely related plant in the Solanaceae. The specific epithet is a Latin word meaning "projecting" or "thrust forth" in reference to the exerted stamens and stigma. Our plants grown from seed from a plant provided to us in 2016 by UCSB Biology greenhouse manager Cameron Hannah-Bick.  The information provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Petunia exserta.