Calibrachoa, or Million Bells - Flowers, Care, Problems, Propagation
Calibrachoa is a charming plant that amazes not only with its appearance, but also with its smell. Thanks to it's relatively small size, it can be grown not only in a garden, but also on a patio or a balcony. Check the needs of Calibrachoa plant. Learn how to care for Million Bells and add a new specimen to your garden.
Calibrachoa – plant description
Calibrachoa (Calibrachoa) is an annual plant, grown mainly on balconies and patios. Some gardeners decide to grow it in the yard as well – in garden flower beds. The plant belongs to the Solanaceae family. In nature, it can be found primarily in South America.
The plant is relatively short. Depending on the variety, it can grow from 25 to 70 cm. Its habit is dense – usually, it has a round shape. The branches are typically hanging. The rich flowers are a perfect compensation – they grow up to about 4-5 cm. They have various colors – pink, red, white, blue, and some varieties are double colored. The latter are the most popular ones.
Calibrachoa is exceptional for its long blooming. Flowering starts in spring – first flowers can be observed in May. They last until late autumn. Most varieties finish blooming as late as November.
Calibrachoa, sun or shade? Growing requirements
Calibrachoa is not demanding as for its growing location. A sunny spot is perfect for this plant. If there’s a problem with finding such a place – half-shade is good as well.
Soil preferences of Calibrachoa are much more complicated. The soil should be fertile and permeable. It’s good if it’s slightly acidic as well.
Because the plant doesn’t tolerate excessive calcium, use rainwater for watering, as it’s not rich in this ingredient.
Calibrachoa care – when to plant Million Bells?
Calibrachoa should be planted in its target location as seedlings. It means they have to be prepared before. The seeds have to be planted in pots in February. It’s also important to keep them in appropriate conditions, allowing them to grow properly. At first, the temperature cannot drop below 19-20°C (66.2-68°F).
When you notice the seeds began sprouting, you can move them to a cooler interior with the temperature of 12-15°C (53.6-59°F).
The plants can be moved to proper containers or into the ground when they are well-developed. Usually, it can be done in April – as long as there’s no frost.
Are there any Calibrachoa varieties?
Over the years, Million Bells was the most popular Calibrachoa variety in the world, and it dominated gardens and balconies. As the plant became more widespread, new varieties were developed. As estimated, there are even several dozen of them in the world. They differ not only in size, but also appearance of the flowers. Interestingly enough, some cultivars have flowers in one color, while others are multicolored.
Gardeners often pick the following Calibrachoa varieties:
- Cherry Star – a variety with pink flowers with characteristic yellow undertones and middles,
- Blue Star – a blue variety with a yellow middle,
- Banana Chocolate – a yellow variety with a brown middle,
- Lemon Slice – a white-yellow cultivar,
- Candy Bouquet – yellow-pink flowers with characteristic stripes,
- Volcano Neon – red-yellow flowers with bright edges,
- Pink Bicolor – a pink variety of various shades of this color.
Calibrachoa – watering and fertilizing
Million Bells flowers don’t like overly moist soil, so make sure to water the plant in moderation. Doing it once every few days is enough.
Fertilizing is very important – especially when the plant begins blooming. A universal product for flowering plants is a good option. Experts recommend using a special fertilizer with iron as well. Such products are used in spray form.
Calibrachoa – propagation
Calibrachoa plant can be propagated by seeds. They are collected from the plant at the appropriate season, and then used for growing seedlings. Most gardeners highlight that they don’t decide to do this, and simply purchase new seeds every year, as they are not only easily available, but also very cheap.
Calibrachoa – wintering
It’s not possible to winter a Calibrachoa flower, as it’s highly vulnerable to low temperatures. Because of this, it’s grown as an annual plant.
📍 Calibrachoa - how to plant it?
To plant Calibrachoa, seedlings have to be prepared before. Seeds have to be sown between February and March into special containers kept in a room with an appropriate temperature. They can be transplanted into larger pots or the ground in April or the beginning of May.
📍 Where to buy Calibrachoa?
Both Calibrachoa seeds and seedlings can be easily purchased in most gardening shops. The seeds can also be frequently found in "garden" sections of supermarkets.
📍 How to propagate Calibrachoa?
Calibrachoa is propagated from seeds. They can be collected from mature plants, stored, and planted between February and May. Most gardeners decide not to propagate the plants, and purchase new seeds each year.
📍 When to plant Calibrachoa?
Million Bells has to be planted in February and March. The exact time doesn't matter, as seedlings have to be kept in an adequate temperature anyway, until they grow and develop roots.
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