CALIBRACHOA - HOW TO GROW SUPERBELLS® AND MILLION BELLS®

CALIBRACHOA - HOW TO GROW SUPERBELLS® AND MILLION BELLS®

Calibrachoa make excellent container plants. Pictured: Superbells® Pomegrante Punch™. Photo by: Proven Winners.

Few annuals are as versatile in the garden as Calibrachoa. These popular color plants bloom continuously from planting until frost and are ideal for containers, hanging baskets, or raised beds.

This petunia look-alike is a relative newcomer, first becoming available to home gardeners in the 1990s under the name Million Bells®. Breeding breakthroughs have resulted in a wider range of colors, bigger flowers, and increased vigor. The diversity of colors and patterns makes them invaluable by themselves, or when combined with other plants. Check out the Proven Winners® line of Superbells® to discover your favorites.

On this page: The Basics | Planting | Care | Pictures | Landscaping Tips | Companion Plants

  • CALIBRACHOA BASICS
  • PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS
  • MILLION BELLS CARE
  • CALIBRACHOA VARIETIES
  • MILLION BELLS LANDSCAPING TIPS
  • COMPANION PLANTS

CALIBRACHOA BASICS

Hardiness zones:

Annual up to Zone 8; perennial in Zones 9-11.

Height/Spread:

Sprawling habit; 12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall, and trailing stems up to 30 inches long.

Exposure:

Calibrachoa plants bloom best with at least six hours of full sun, though they can tolerate partial shade.

Bloom time:

Planting until frost.

Color and characteristics:

Plants have compact oval green leaves, which are somewhat sticky, and small flowers that look similar to petunias. They bloom in a wide range of solid colors, bicolors, stripes, patterns, and doubles, including coral, yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, purple, burgundy, lavender, and crème.

Also known as:

Many gardeners use Million Bells® or Superbells as their common name, however these are actually trademarked names. Others call them mini-petunias or trailing petunias because they look like small petunias.

PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS

When to plant:

Plant outside in mid-to-late spring after all danger of frost is past.

Where to plant:

Grow by themselves or in combination with other plants in containers or hanging baskets with well-draining soil. They can also be planted in beds or borders providing the soil is well amended and drains well; however, they perform best in pots.

How to plant:

Place potting mix in a hanging basket or container. Remove from the pot and gently tease the roots out if pot-bound. Place 6 to 12 inches apart and firm soil around the base. Water well to thoroughly wet the plant and settle the soil around it.

CALIBRACHOA CARE

How To Successfully Grow Superbells

Pruning and deadheading:

Calibrachoa are self-cleaning and require no deadheading. Pinch back tips occasionally to encourage branching, which will produce more flowers. To rejuvenate plants mid-season, cut branches to half their length and fertilize to stimulate new growth.

Soil:

For containers and hanging baskets, use a quality all-purpose potting mix that drains well. For bedding displays, soil should be well amended and drain quickly.

Amendments & fertilizer:

Calibrachoa plants are heavy feeders. Nutrients are quickly leached from the soil by frequent watering, so fertilize regularly for continuous bloom. Use a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks or add a slow-release granular fertilizer to the soil at planting time, replenishing according to instructions.

Watering:

Although fairly drought tolerant, proper watering is essential for best performance. During hot weather, containers can dry out quickly, so they should be checked regularly—even daily. Frequency of watering will vary according to temperature, humidity, type of potting mix, and container size. Stick your finger two inches into the soil; if it feels dry, then it’s time to water.

Diseases and pests:

Overwatering can lead to root rot or an infection from one of the Phytophthora species, which can kill plants. If plants are wilted after watering, this can be a sign of root rot. Heat stress can make plants susceptible to spider mites, and aphids.

Deer resistance:

Calibrachoa do not seem particularly tasty to deer; however, they are not classified as deer resistant.

CALIBRACHOA VARIETIES

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Photo: Proven Winners

Superbells® Grape Punch™ — Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

The royal color will pop when combined with complementary colors of orange or yellow. Try Grape Punch with an orange African daisy for height and contrast, and a blue verbena for a sophisticated touch.

Photo: Proven Winners

Superbells® Lemon Slice® — Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

The striking pinwheel pattern of the bright yellow blooms makes this a stunning container accent. Combine with yellow coleus for upright structure, and trailing bacopa for contrasting texture.

Photo: Proven Winners

Superbells® Cherry Star — Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

For a vibrant color basket, combine with pink Superbells® and yellow nemesia.

Photo: Proven Winners

Superbells® Holy Moly!® — Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

This striking bicolor goes well with many other colors. Combine with red Superbells® and black sweet potato vine for a dusky tropical feel.

Photo: Proven Winners

Superbells® Holy Smokes!® — Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

This eye-catching variety goes well in a range of color schemes, leaving you captivated all season long. Plant with purple Persian shield and white bacopa for a winning combination.

Photo: Proven Winners

Superbells® Coral Sun — Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

New for 2021, Coral Sun looks great paired with purple petunias and yellow bidens, as seen in this 'Sweet Mango' container recipe.

Photo: Proven Winners

Superbells® Doublette Love Swept™ — Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 10 inches tall

Small, double flowers bloom all season long. Plant with Superbells® White and Supertunia® Trailing Rose Veined for a pink and white basket full of flowers all summer and into fall. See the Truly Pink container recipe.

Photo: Ball Horticultural Company

MiniFamous® 'Uno Double Red'
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

10 to 15 inches tall & wide

Use this velvety double rose-shaped flower in hot or subdued color themes. Combine with blue salvia for upright structure and yellow bidens for an eye-popping primary color scheme.

Photo: Ball Horticultural Company

Can-Can® Orange
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

10 to 15 inches tall & wide

These orange flowers add cheerfulness to any garden. Pair with complementary hues of purple or blue for a pop of contrast. For extra sizzle, combine with purple fountain grass, purple Superbells® and cinammon coral bells.

LANDSCAPING TIPS

One of the most versatile annuals, Calibrachoa can be incorporated into any landscape. Here’s how:

  • Place one or two tall ceramic pots near your home’s entrance and fill with colorful Superbells® to greet visitors.
  • Adorn arbors and pergolas with hanging baskets brimming with your favorite colors.
  • Plant window boxes that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight with colors that complement your home’s exterior.
  • Shepherd’s hooks are a great way to add hanging baskets for instant color by a patio, deck or poolside. Hooks are easily moved around for a fresh look.
  • Place a hanging basket outside your kitchen window to enjoy a burst of color whenever you’re cooking or doing dishes. This will attract hummingbirds and butterflies up close where you can most appreciate them.

COMPANION PLANTS

Calibrachoa combine well with many other annuals. Get creative and make your own custom containers using the principle of “thriller, filler, and spiller.”

  • Combine them with taller plants such as angelonia, coleus, African daisy, purple fountain grass, zonal geranium, or Persian shield.
  • Add fillers such as coral bells, lantana, marigold, or sedges.
  • Companion trailers include sweet potato vine, fan flower (Scaevola), verbena, bidens, bacopa, or nemesia.

RELATED:
How to Create a Container Planting
Colorful Plant Combinations for Containers
The 24 Best Plants to Attract Hummingbirds
20 Purple Flowers to Brighten Your Garden
Amazing Annuals for Sun


How to Propagate Calibrachoa

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Commonly called million bells, plants of the genus Calibrachoa are tender perennial species grown for their small, trumpet-shaped flowers. They are closely related to petunias, but they exhibit a trailing growth habit with very small, densely packed foliage. Gardeners within U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 to 11 can grow million bells with few problems since they propagate easily in warm climates. Cutting propagation is the most reliable method for growing new million bells plants since they produce very few seeds. However, the cuttings are highly sensitive and require very warm and bright conditions to put down roots.

Start million bells cuttings in early spring after new leaf growth appears on the stem tips. Select a 4- to 8-inch-long cutting from the tip with a green, pliant stem and no flower buds.

Sever the cutting beneath a set of mature leaves using a utility knife. Make a straight cut. Wrap the cutting in moist paper towel while preparing a planter for rooting.

Fill a 4- to 6-inch square pot with a sterile, slightly acidic starter mix of half perlite and half soaked peat. Press the starter mix to squeeze out the excess water. Poke a hole in the center measuring half the length of the cutting.

Remove all the leaves from the bottom half of the million bells cutting. Insert the stem into the prepared planting hole. Firm the perlite mixture against the stem and water thoroughly to settle the cutting.

Place the potted million bells cutting in a greenhouse or indoors near a large window with filtered light. Protect the cutting from prolonged periods of direct sun exposure.

Apply bottom heat with a warming mat set to 65 to 70 F. Cover the million bells cutting with a large, clear plastic bag, if growing the cutting indoors. Slice a 1-inch-long hole in the bag to allow some moisture to escape.

Maintain constant moisture in the perlite mixture, but allow it to dry out just beneath the surface between waterings to prevent rot. Drizzle water directly onto the perlite in small increments until the top 2 inches feel moderately moist.

Tug the million bells cutting in six to seven weeks to check for root formation. Remove the plastic bag and turn off the warming mat one week after rooting. Continue to water whenever the perlite dries out beneath the surface.

Transplant the million bells plant into another 4- to 6-inch pot filled with potting soil one month after rooting. Feed it with a complete, 12-12-12 ratio liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength after transplant.

Transplant it into a permanent container or sheltered garden bed once soil temperatures warm to 68 F. Provide full sun and a 1-inch-thick layer of mulch after transplant.


Plant Library

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Coralberry Punch'

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa flowers

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa flowers

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa flowers

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa flowers

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa flowers

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa flowers

Other Names: Million Bells, Mini Petunia

Group/Class: Superbells Series

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa is clothed in stunning coral-pink trumpet-shaped flowers with tomato-orange centers at the ends of the stems from late spring to early fall. Its small pointy leaves remain green in color throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa is a dense herbaceous annual with a trailing habit of growth, eventually spilling over the edges of hanging baskets and containers. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep. Trim off the flower heads after they fade and die to encourage more blooms late into the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees and hummingbirds to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa is recommended for the following landscape applications

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting
  • Hanging Baskets

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa will grow to be about 10 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 12 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. This fast-growing annual will normally live for one full growing season, needing replacement the following year.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by cuttings however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Superbells® Coralberry Punch Calibrachoa is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. Because of its trailing habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.


Growing Calibrachoa from Seed

Start your seeds around 8 weeks before your last predicted frost date.

Fill a tray or pots with fresh potting soil and moisten. Sow seeds as thinly as possible. Do not cover the seeds. They need as much light as possible to germinate.

Place the seeds in a propagator or in a warm, light position. The Super Sprouter Propagator Kit is ideal for seed germination. It’s built-in grow light enables you to maintain the ideal conditions for germination.

Keep the soil evenly moist, misting with a fine spray when it begins to dry out. The temperature should remain between 70 and 75 ℉.

Germination usually occurs within 14 days. In cooler conditions this may take a little longer.

Allow the seedlings access to as much light as possible, placing them either on a light windowsill or beneath grow lights.

When the seedlings have 2 sets of true leaves thin them out. Each seedling should have room to grow.

After about 4 weeks of steady growth apply a dose of houseplant fertilizer diluted to half its strength.

Allow the seedlings to grow on before hardening them off outside once all danger of frost has passed.


Superbells Red Calibrachoa

Please contact your local store for product availability.
Find a garden center near you.

Other Species Names: Million Bells, Mini Petunia

Summer Foliage Color: Light Green

Minimum Sunlight: Partial Shade

Maximum Sunlight: Full Sun

Superbells® Red Calibrachoa is blanketed in stunning red trumpet-shaped flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to early fall. Its small pointy leaves remain green in color throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Superbells® Red Calibrachoa is a dense herbaceous annual with a trailing habit of growth, eventually spilling over the edges of hanging baskets and containers. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition. This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep. Trim off the flower heads after they fade and die to encourage more blooms late into the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees and hummingbirds to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics. Superbells® Red Calibrachoa is recommended for the following landscape applications Mass Planting Border Edging General Garden Use Container Planting Hanging Baskets

Superbells® Red Calibrachoa will grow to be about 10 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 12 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. This fast-growing annual will normally live for one full growing season, needing replacement the following year. This plant does best in Full Sun to Partial Shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by cuttings however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation. Superbells® Red Calibrachoa is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. Because of its trailing habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.


Plant Needs

Calibrachoa do not like to have constantly damp soil. They will do well in the ground only with good drainage. For most gardeners containers are the best use for Calibrachoa.

When planting Calibrachoa I often give the plants a slight trim, using a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. While not a necessary step, it will increase branching and may help your plants look even fuller.

Calibrachoa are usually easiest to grow in containers. If the roots are kept too wet it can lead to root rot diseases. In containers, allow the top of the soil to dry before watering again. If your plant is wilting even though the soil is still damp you likely have a root rot problem.

Calibrachoa can be fantastic in-ground plants, but only if they are planted in well-drained soil. Raised beds would be a good choice for planting Calibrachoa in the landscape. In the ground they shouldn't need much additional water unless conditions are very dry. Proper watering is key to growing good Calibrachoa.

The plants are low-maintenance with no deadheading needed. They will do best if fertilized on a regular basis. Calibrachoa can be sensitive to both high and low pH. If your plants have been growing for a while and then begin to look a bit tired and not so good there are several things to try. If the foliage is yellow there are two possible causes. If you haven't been fertilizing regularly they could simply be hungry and in need of fertilizer. Feed them using a well-balanced (look for something with an n-p-k ratio near 24-12-17) water soluble fertilizer. If you have been fertilizing regularly with a well-balanced fertilizer and the foliage is still turning yellow, it is probably because the pH range in your soil has gotten a bit high or low. The most common impact of this is that Iron can no longer be taken up by the plant, even if it is available in the soil.

The common form of Iron used in fertilizer is sensitive to pH changes. If you think pH is your problem you can either try to lower (or raise) the pH or you can simply apply Chelated Iron, which is available at a wider pH range and should help your plants turn green again. You may also be able to find Iron in a foliar spray (which means you spray it on the foliage rather than applying it to the soil) which can also help your plant turn nice and green again. Stop by your favorite garden center and they should be able to help you choose a product to use. Or use our Proven Winners Water Soluble fertilizer, which has the chelated iron.

As the season goes on the plants can sometimes just start to look open and not as good. This can happen even if they are being watered and fertilized correctly. Fortunately this is very simple to fix. Grab a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears and give the plants an all over trim. This will cause them to branch out more and should stimulate new growth and flowering, especially if you fertilize right after trimming them back. Just like your hair looks a lot better after a trim, your plants often will too. You will sacrifice flowers for a few days, but the plants should shortly come back flowering more than ever. I will usually give my Superbells a trim back in late July or early August. Should your plants have a few unruly stems that are longer than everything else or sticking our oddly, you can trim these stems back at any time. Calibrachoa are very forgiving when it comes to trimming.

An application of fertilizer or compost on garden beds and regular fertilization of plants in pots will help ensure the best possible performance.


Calibrachoa, Million Bells 'Superbells Cherry Red'

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Calibrachoa (kal-ih-bruh-KOE-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Superbells Cherry Red
Additional cultivar information:(PP15701, Superbells® series, aka USCALI17)
Hybridized by Sakazaki
Registered or introduced: 2005

Category:

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Danger:

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:


Other Million Bells Care Tips

Calibrachoa, or million bells, might not display their cheerful blooms if grown in partial or full shade. These annuals thrive on sunlight and don't mind the heat. They make excellent flowering plants for hanging baskets, but they might receive too much shade under a porch. Set them out to bask in the sun on a regular basis.

When the weather has been cloudy and wet for some time, your million bells may not look very perky, according to the University of Illinois. The flowers will close at night or on overcast days.

Calibrachoa can tolerate drought, but only in the sense that they won't die if you forget to water them. They should be given consistent moisture to produce a large quantity of flowers. A good rule of thumb for million bells is to water when the soil surface is dry, which, of course, will occur faster in container-grown million bells plants than those in the ground. Don't allow the soil to stay soggy, because the roots may rot.


Watch the video: Mini PetuniaMillion Bells - Care Guide Malayalam With English subtitles