Wave Purple Spreading Petunia

March 2020
Celebrating, Marketing and Merchandising a Milestone By Claire Josephson

Wave Petunias' anniversary provides garden centers with the opportunity to put a strong gardening brand.

Last summer, when it was time to select a name for our newest spreading petunia, the launch team behind the Wave brand decided to engage its very-active social media community. We asked Wave Fans on Facebook and Instagram what the new blue bicolor-patterned petunia should be called.

That’s when things got … interesting.

Who knew a word like “purple” could be such a shake-up for this long-standing brand? (Wave Petunias celebrates 25 years in 2020.) When the votes were tallied and the online discourse cleared, ‘Shock Wave Purple Tie-Dye’ was the name Wave Fans liked best. Even though “horticulture purple” was more reminiscent of ‘Wave Purple Classic’, which started it all in 1995, the launch team listened to consumers, and continued on its path of wow-ing the home gardener and building excitement for the brand.

The Wave Petunias brand wouldn’t be where it is today if it hadn’t impressed such a wide audience of gardeners, growers and landscape designers in the early years. Since its impressive debut as an All-America Selections winner, the world of petunias has never been the same. The reaction since 1995 has been overwhelming: WOW … give us more Wave!

Origin Story

The Wave Petunia was born from an unlikely source: a breeder for Japanese beer company Kirin Ichiban noticed a wild petunia spreading its vibrant color in the field. It was fine-tuned and submitted to All-America Selections (AAS) trials in 1995, where this vigorous petunia from seed won high honors. Recognizing the petunia’s amazing potential, PanAmerican Seed partnered with Kirin to produce and distribute this newcomer, ‘Wave Purple Classic’, across North America.

Its spectacular outdoor performance and incredible spread (up to 4 feet) surpassed other petunias in the 1990s, which were lucky to spread 15 inches. The bold magenta blooms ran the length of every branch, and the brand was born with a signature color — PINK!

Shock Wave Deep Purple Petunia Hanging Basket, SeedLong-time growers, retailers and gardeners remember the “Ride The Wave” campaign, with its distinctive trademarked pink packaging, signage, balloons and other brand collateral designed to build customer loyalty. The push of Wave in pink helped shoppers spot authentic Wave varieties in stores. Retailers taking advantage of the free brand support built a consistent presence and benefited from “pink” outselling traditional black pots 6 to 1!

Just four years later, in 1999, the Wave brand became the No.1 selling petunia and pushed petunias to one of the “Top 10” bedding plants in North America. TV commercials on HGTV, a dedicated website, and the addition of award-winning Tidal Wave enhanced the growing marketing efforts.

This was all revolutionary! No other single flower had this level of support.

Today, the Wave brand still offers a powerful, multi-faceted package of value-oriented containers, tags and point-of-purchase materials — all targeted at building grower and retailer success.

Leverage All-Season Support

One of the secrets to Wave Petunia’s success has been its ability to stay fresh, keep evolving and inspire gardeners year after year. PanAmerican Seed’s breeding team brings new colors, new series and new programs to market — all while adhering to the Wave brand mantra of “Easy, Spreading Color.”

One of the easy ways retailers can take advantage of the brand is seasonal marketing opportunities. Early-season sales grab early-bird shoppers with the first Wave of the year: Cool Wave Pansies. Having these colorful baskets in your store wakes up gardens with the same easy, spreading color folks know, love and trust. For mid-season performance, sizzle your spring and summer sales with petunias from the full Wave family.

First up is Shock Wave, with slightly smaller blooms that bounce back from unpredictable weather. Then spread into all-season sales with Easy Wave and Wave — versatile color and applications for every kind of garden. Finish strong with season-extending Tidal Wave Petunia for full color coverage. More late-season opportunities exist for Cool Wave Pansy colors that are right at home with your pumpkins, kale and fall décor.

Ready-made Plug & Play combos featuring Wave Petunias and Cool Wave Pansies can push impulse sales through the roof as a grab-and-go garden. (Check out the seasonal color selection guide at www.panamseed. com/combos)

Successful Merchandising

Free POP material has been part of the brand since 1995, yet so many retailers fail to take advantage. Merchandising your Wave assortment in-store with bench cards, banners and cart signs creates a destination. Put these tools to use today. Some additional tips:

  • Use eye-catching signage to lead customers to your displays.
  • Keep plenty of product on the shelf and group plants by color to create retail WOW.
  • Appoint an in-store Wave expert to keep displays tip-top and brainstorm new ideas to excite customers in weekly team meetings.
  • Water, restock and face plants daily; build momentum by rotating basic colors with novelties throughout the season.

Additional free marketing materials and downloadable signage is available at panamseed.com/wavebrand, including new 25th Anniversary signage to celebrate this monumental year.

Wave petunia birthdayEngage Your Shoppers

As the Wave brand manager, I’ve traveled across North America engaging with local bloggers and gardeners to show them how easy it is to accessorize their patio or balcony with Wave Petunias and Cool Wave Pansies. Events like these are achieved with things already found in the garden center. Entice shoppers with store events like a “Waveinar” planting demo or “Potting Party.” Choose your most talented combo creator on staff, set up a potting bench in a prominent position, and show shoppers how to plant their own container. The Wave consumer wants that “wow” factor for their own outdoor living space. Let them play with their flowers!

If live events are a challenge, think about sharing one of the dozens of Wave how-to videos, blogs or recipes at our consumer website, www.wavegardening.com. You can inspire them with DIY projects, one-plant-one-pot demos and even creative ways to use flowers in everyday life. Your store can run a playlist on an in-store TV or push email messages to customers that sign up to hear from you.

Today’s Wave gardener is looking for their next project; make sure they find your store. Enter your location at our “Find a Store” page and the next time your zip code is searched at our website, your store appears and tells them where to find the Waves they’re looking for.


This is an exciting year-long celebration for our Wave brand — and it can be exciting in your store, too. Our campaign push on behalf of the brand includes:

  • A media relations strategy
  • Events to target tastemakers and consumers
  • Strong relations with social influencers
  • Social media and digital support, including online giveaways
  • In short, it’s #HappyBirthdayWave and you’re invited to the party. Retailers will see the success of this extensive coverage as we drive top-of-mind awareness for Wave Petunias on the shelf. Our goal is to create purchase intent and demand for the petunia in the pink pot wherever the consumer prefers to shop.

Follow us on social media @WaveGardening and we’ll engage with you right back. Talk to your supplier today and have a great Wave year.

Claire Josephson

Claire Josephson is Wave brand manager. For more information, visit www.wavegardening.com.


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