The big "break through" in 2016 for new petunias was "Blue Skies" produced by Selecta, a company that serves the North American market with vegetative propagated bedding plants and poinsettias.
It looks like a purple/blue flower that has been splattered with white and every bloom is different. It was an instant success and "flew off the shelves." This year that plant has a big sister, "Pink Sky." I've only seen photos of this plant, but I am definitely going to grow it.
Another trend that is being tried in many color combinations is to have the eye of the petunia be one color and have the rest of the pedals blend out to another color.
Potunia Purple Halo
There are oodles of new patterns turning up on petunias blooms as well. One that I will definitely try this summer is "Amore Queen of Hearts."
"Amore Queen of Hearts."
It will be interesting to see if the heart pattern is prominent in "real life."
Years ago all petunias were started as seeds. Petunias that you purchase in six-packs are still started from seed, but now most of the petunias you see in hanging baskets and sold individually in pots are grown from cuttings. They are more vigorous growers and generally benefit from more fertilizer. Because they don't put their energy into producing seeds they produce more blooms. Most of these petunias from cuttings don't need dead heading.
The downside is that they are more expensive. The greenhouse owner not only pays quite a bit for each cutting, they pay royalties and a propagation fee. The only way to grow more of the same plant is to take cuttings, which is legally prohibited. The plants are registered and trademarked. There are actually plant police who come around to large greenhouse operations to make sure their copyrighted plant is not being used for making more cuttings.
Petunias will remain one of gardeners favorite flowers and they just get easier to grow and of course the choice is now huge.