Calibrachoa (gesundheit!)

calibrachoa-_colospgs-co_lah_5043Imagine a petite petunia with intensely-colored, trumpet-shaped blossoms in shades such as magenta, violet, or copper. Flowers smother the slightly fuzzy, gray-green leaves from late spring until the first hard frost. Prolific flowering means that new flowers quickly replace those damaged by hail, a major asset in our area. Mature plants reach about eighteen inches in width and are less than a foot high. A relative newcomer on the garden scene, Calibrachoa has already gained a place of honor among annual flowers.

calibrachoa-million-bells_dbg_20090915_lah_0335nefStart plants from purchased seedlings; plants produce little seed, and most hybrids are patented, prohibiting vegetative propagation. Set them out in late May in full sun and good garden soil amended  with compost. Although plants are somewhat drought tolerant, watering two times a week will increase flowering. Feed with an all-purpose fertilizer in early summer and again if bloom starts to diminish. Mulch is always a good idea. Spent flowers fall off, eliminating the need for deadheading. Pinch back leggy stems to encourage branching.

calibrachoa-in-container_colospgs-co_lah_5042Calibrachoa is well suited for bedding, providing a carpet-like effect. The slightly floppy branches also make it superb for containers, both hanging baskets and tall pots, as shown here.

As the plants are actually tender perennials, you can bring them inside when weather turns cold. They will continue to bloom all winter if given a bright spot by a window.

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3 Responses to Calibrachoa (gesundheit!)

  1. igardendaily says:

    Hi there! Just a question…have you had a lot of success with Calibrachoa? I know you are at a high altitude in a dryer climate too. I just never have much success with them after the first few weeks of planting. They either turn yellow, maybe too much water or stop flowering or just sort of dwindle. My mom and I are always wondering the secret to them although they should be easy… ???

    • LAH says:

      Actually, yes. It does very well here. I’ve mostly grown it in containers, where it looks so pretty spilling over the edge. Then when it gets cold, I bring it inside and it continues to bloom in a sunny window for months.

      If it’s turning yellow, that sounds like too much water… especially if it yellows from the bottom up, and the inside to the outside. We rarely have too much water here. In fact, our garden has been rained on once in the last 4 months (hence the fires here in Colorado Springs). I water the containers when they get pretty dry, just before (hopefully) the leaves begin to droop.

  2. Karin says:

    What zones do they live in? I’m wondering if we can put these in our front yard, in the Pacific NW. I see they like sun…. maybe a container outside?

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