Calibrachoa, often known as “Million Bells,” is a small petunia and grows blossoms like a little petunia on steroids. It is more resistant to changing weather conditions and diseases. Calibrachoa grows in a compact way and produces small flowers.
The Million bells plant is a popular garden annual that blooms continuously from planting until frost and is great for pots, hanging baskets, and raised beds. These petunia have a variety of flower colors and patterns that look great on their or in mix with other plants.
The Calibrachoa is a plant genus belonging to the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. They are short-lived evergreen perennials and sub shrubs with a spreading habit and little petunia-like blooms.
The Million bells is a prolific flower with 1-inch blooms that resemble little petunias. They inhabit scrub and open grassland in the same region of South America as petunias, from southern Brazil to Peru and Chile.
Million bells is best planted in the spring in most growing zones. It may bloom constantly until the first frost, and its blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The oval-shaped, compact leaves are slightly sticky.
They are a perennial, evergreen, and short-lived trailing petunia plant that grows only about 2′′-9′′ inches tall and produces stunning, colorful flowers till frost. It performs well as a border plant in the ground.
The Million bells is a popular plant for growing in containers outdoors. The plant is available in several hues, including solids and two-tones, stripes, patterns, and stunning double blooms.
- Common Name: Calibrachoa, million bells, trailing petunia, mini petunia
- Botanical Name: Calibrachoa group
- Family: Solanaceae
- Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial flower often grown as an annual
- Mature Size: 6–12 in. tall, 12–24 in. wide
- Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
- Soil Type: Moist, rich, well-drained
- Soil pH: 5.0–6.5 (acidic)
- Bloom Time: Spring to fall
- Flower Color: Coral, yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, purple, burgundy, lavender, cream
- Hardiness Zones: 9–11 (USDA)
- Native Area: South America
Types of Calibrachoa
These Calibrachoa plants genus has 28 separate species, yet those used for garden cultivation are often complicated hybrids produced from crossing multiple species. The Million bells comes with a variety of hues, with dozens of variations, including:
- Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Hot Pink’ blooms abundantly on trailing stems up to 8 inches long.
- ‘MiniFamous Double Blue’ features double deep blue-purple blooms on a trailing plant with 10-inch stalks.
- ‘Cabaret Purple Glow’ spreads 12 inches and trailing 8 inches.
- ‘Million Bells Terra Cotta’ features orange blooms stained with red and gold on 8-inch stalks.
- ‘Superbells Pomegranate Punch’ has velvety-red blooms that darken toward the centre and grows to 8 inches in height.
- ‘Can-Can Mocha’ has creamy petals and a chocolate-purple throat. It grows 15 inches tall and broad and has a mounding-trailing habit.
- ‘Colorburst Chocolate’ is a compact, mounding variety with burgundy flowers blushed with chocolate-brown that grows to 8 inches.
Growing Guide of Calibrachoa
Calibrachoa (mini petunia) is cultivated as an ornamental plant. The plants can survive mild cold and flourish in full sun or partial shade. Plant is well-drained soil and water only when the soil is nearly dry.
The Million bells plants thrive in pots or hanging baskets and should not be grown in garden beds. They may be planted outside once the soil temperature rises over 55 degrees F.
They may be propagated from tip cuttings; they are often grown as half-hardy annuals. They attract hummingbirds and are great for container gardening and hanging pots.
The Million bells look best in containers, spilling over the sides of hanging baskets, pots, or window boxes in the summer. Keep well hydrated and feed with a strong potash feed every couple of weeks.
Soil and Water
Calibrachoa plants like fast-draining potting soil, so ensure container has proper drainage. When planting in garden beds, make sure the soil is rich in organic matter and that it drains effectively. Mulch is suggested for maintaining the soil wet and the root system cool.
The Million bells has to be kept hydrated but not drowned. Only water once the top inch or two of soil has dried off. Heat, wind, and a lack of humidity can cause soil to quickly dry up. Depending on the conditions, need to water twice a day. Avoid overwatering the plant, since this might cause root rot.
Fertilizer and Light
This is a hefty feeder that may be fed a slow-release fertilizer during planting and/or a diluted liquid fertilizer regularly. Start with an organic, slow-release fertilizer put into potting then water the plant every couple of weeks throughout season. Take care not to over-fertilize; strictly adhere to the directions on the plant food’s package.
The plant blooms best in at least six hours of direct sunlight, although it can tolerate partial shade, especially in warmer areas where plants with some shade are more likely to survive the summer months. In most cases, insufficient sun exposure results in the less blooming.
Temperature and Humidity
The plant is drought, heat, and cold-tolerant, but don’t let it dry out repeatedly to obtain the greatest flowers. It enjoys temperatures ranging from 55 to 65 degree F. A hardened-off plant may be carried outside in the spring and can withstand a light frost.
Hot temperatures and dryness can be stressful to the plant. A regular spraying will rejuvenate wilting foliage, but be cautious not to mist in direct sunlight, as this might burn the leaves.
Garden-grown Calibrachoa plants are hybrids with some seeds. Moreover, because many of the types are trademarked hybrids, vegetative propagation by cuttings is strictly prohibited.
If you do decide to propagate from cuttings, the process is as follows:
- Look for a stem that has little buds but no blooms. Cut the stem at least 6 inches from the tip using a clean, sharp cutting tool, then remove any lower leaves.
- Fill cuttings with half potting soil and half peat moss. Water well.
- Place the pot in direct sunlight and keep the cuttings wet and warm. Within a few weeks, roots should start developing.
How To Care For Calibrachoa
The Million bells are planted practically worldwide as an annual, despite the fact that it is a short-lived perennial in very warm areas. It works well in containers with good drainage.
The plant is easy to care for, but paying attention to its needs will keep it flowering from spring to fall. While it may be grown in garden beds, it does much better in containers.
The Million bells is a low-growing plant that seldom grows taller than 4 inches. This plant is great for rapidly filling a container or hanging basket, and it great blended with other plants into the front of a border.
The plant Calibrachoa grows so quickly, it demands a lot of food and will know if it needs it. Because Calibrachoa is sensitive to low nitrogen levels, it turns yellow when it needs to be fed.
This is a “self-cleaning” plant, which means it doesn’t need to be deadheaded to keep flowering; it will benefit from a severe pruning at the end of summer, coupled with fertilizer boost to reenergize the plant.
Pests and Disease
Calibrachoa is less susceptible to pests than petunias, yet it is sensitive to whiteflies, aphids, and slugs. They may have difficulties with Pythium and the disease Phytophthora.
Overwatering can cause root rot or an infection with one of the Phytophthora species, both of which are fatal to plants.
Aphids are especially fond to Million bells plants. Spray aphids away from the plant using water, a solution of water and dish detergent, or neem oil.
Hope you enjoyed reading the Planting guide of Calibrachoa. If you think we missed something or have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments section below.
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