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How to Grow Calibrachoa

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How to Grow Calibrachoa

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Calibrachoa flowers bloom in spring and summer. image by Carl E Lewis/ Flickr.com

Overview

Calibrachoa, also known as Million Bells, is an herbaceous flower native to South America. It is grown as a perennial in mild climates but is more commonly used as an annual in areas with cold winters or intensely hot summers. Calibrachoa's common name is derived from its bell-shaped flowers which range in color from pink, purple and magenta to pink and deep red. The plant is a prolific bloomer and reaches the peak of flowering in the spring and summer months, depending on climate. Low-growing and self-cleaning calibrachoa is easy to grow in the home garden with only minimal care.

Step 1

Plant calibrachoa in spring after all threat of frost is over. Choose a planting location with well-drained soil that receives full sun to light afternoon shade. Dig a planting hole the same size as the container in which the plant was previously grown, set the plant inside and cover gently with soil.

Step 2

Water calibrachoa plants immediately after planting to compact the soil, and continue watering twice per week during the growing season. Do not water on weeks which receive at least 1 inch of rainfall. Water every 2 to 3 days during dry periods or in very hot climates.

Step 3

Apply a 1-inch layer of light sand around the base of calibrachoa plants if grown in heavy soil. This will keep the surface dry and prevent fungal diseases. Mulching is not necessary if calibrachoa flowers are grown in light, airy soil.

Step 4

Feed calibrachoa plants once per month during the spring and summer months with a balanced flower fertilizer. Do not over-fertilize, as this can contribute to sparse blooms and leggy growth. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage and application of fertilizer.

Step 5

Remove dying or damaged leaves as soon as possible to promote healthy growth. Calibrachoa is prone to stem and root rot if planted in poorly drained or heavy soils. If rot occurs, remove affected plants and discard immediately. No other pruning or deadheading is required.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not allow water to come in contact with foliage while watering because this can contribute to the development of fungal diseases such as powdery mildew.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Flower fertilizer

References

  • Production Guidelines for Four Crops---Osteospermum, Angelonia, Calibrachoa & Ornamental Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)
  • Calibrachoa, Million Bells
  • Book: The Carolinas Gardener's Guide; Toby Bost, Jim Wilson; 2005
Keywords: calibrachoa, million bells, calibrachoa plants

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.

Photo by: Carl E Lewis/ Flickr.com