How to Grow Million Bells

Overview

Million bells, also known as Calibrachoa, is an annual flowering plant that resembles a small petunia in appearance. Valued for its prolific flowering habits and small size, million bells trails or weeps and reaches up to 15 inches in height with a 30-inch spread. Gardeners typically grow million bells in garden beds, containers or window boxes. In the garden, the plant hugs the ground, creating an attractive ground cover. In containers, million bells continues blooming until the first frost of the season with only minimal care.

Step 1

Choose a planting site for million bells that receives at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Apply a 1-inch layer of organic compost to the planting site and use a garden tiller to work it into the soil to increase fertility and drainage.

Step 2

Dig a hole, using the shovel, in the soil of equal depth and twice as wide as the root ball of the plant. Insert the roots directly into the hole and gently cover with soil. Water thoroughly to collapse any air pockets. Space plants at least 8 to 12 inches apart.

Step 3

Apply a slow-release fertilizer to the soil immediately after planting to provide a steady source of nutrients throughout the growing season. Apply following the directions provided on the product's label for best results.

Step 4

Spread a 1-inch layer of coarse sand over the planting site to keep the surface of the soil dry and reduce the risk of disease. Begin the sand about 2 inches from the base of the plants to allow air circulation.

Step 5

Water million bells once each week during the spring, summer and fall months, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Avoid splashing water on the foliage during applications, as moist leaves are more susceptible to disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Shovel
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Coarse sand

References

  • Penn State University: Calibrachoa Culture and Varieties
  • MarthaStewart.com: Million Bells--Calibrachoa Cherry Pink
  • "The Carolinas Gardener's Guide"; Toby Bost, Jim Wilson; 2005
Keywords: million bells, Calibrachoa, grow million bells

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.