Looking for some easy tips on how to grow calibrachoa plants? You’ve arrived in the right place! These colourful little ‘bells’ are the darling of the annual garden, and for good reason: they explode onto the scene in spring, bring the hummingbirds, and bloom enthusiastically all season long.
What are Calibrachoa Flowers?
Named after a 19th century Mexican botanist, and sometimes called million bells or trailing petunia, calibrachoa (pronounced kal-ih-bruh-KO-uh) look like regular petunia plants but with tiny, one inch, trumpet-shaped flowers in a wide variety of bold colors like tangerine, hot pink, bronze and dark red. Some of the newer hybrids have ruffled double flowers and blooms with a dark ‘eye’ and are very showy.
Calibrachoa plants have thick, sticky leaves, with blooms that open during the day and close at night. They grow in compact mounds with trailing branches, making them ideal for hanging baskets and containers. They grow very fast and the flowers bloom for a long time (from spring right through late fall.) Depending on the variety, calibrachoa can grow 5-10 inches tall and spread 12-48 inches wide.
How to Grow Calibrachoa
Plant your calibrachoa in spring, after the last frost. Be sure to use a well-draining soil rich in organic matter. And while it’s true that calibrachoa grow best in full sun, some afternoon shade is good in southern gardens. Use a liquid fertilizer with every other watering. If they start to show yellow leaves, it means they need iron. You can use Iron-tone to fix up your pH levels and remedy the yellow leaves.
Calibrachoa are considered low maintenance, simply water when the top of the soil feels dry. You can also pinch them back if you prefer a bushier look (though they may not bloom for 2 weeks afterward).
How to Use Calibrachoa in Your Garden
Calibrachoa are one of the top choices for containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes. Their cheerful, bright blooms trail over the sides, and their enthusiastic growth rates mean that you’ll have a veritable flower avalanche all season long. But, they also work well in the front of a flowerbed border. Pair them with petunia, ipomoea, or bacopa for a stunning, waterfall effect.
No Sad Goodbyes
Considered an annual, calibrachoa will actually survive the winter in zones 9 – 11 (you can find your zone here). If you’re not lucky enough to live in a zone where they’ll make it through winter, you can always try overwintering them indoors. Before your first frost, bring the container into a cool room. They will still need 4 – 6 hours of sunlight daily, so be sure to set them near a sunny window. You can cut back any leggy stems. Water them once a week during the winter until liquid drains from bottom. For extra help, use a general purpose fertilizer once a month by following the package directions.
Are you ready to experience the mood lifting power of the humble calibrachoa? Then head on over to the shop and choose your favorite!