How to Plant and Grow Calibrachoa

Keep these powerhouses of color thriving all season.

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BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

With flowers that look like tiny petunias, calibrachoa (also called Million Bells) grows and blooms at an amazing rate. Though they only get about four inches tall, the plants can spread out enough to cover about 2 square feet of space in a season. These extremely vigorous plants make for colorful, cascading accents in containers or hanging baskets, along walkways, and on garden walls.

Calibrachoa has only been available in the retail plant world since the early 1990s. That’s not long in plant years, especially with how far the plant has come since then. What started out as a simple, single-color bloom has transformed into a whole new class of plant that comes in a riot of colors. These include yellow stars, speckles, veined and segmented petals, and sometimes combinations of all of the above.

Calibrachoa Overview

Genus Name Calibrachoa
Common Name Calibrachoa
Plant Type Annual
Light Sun
Height 6 to 6 inches
Width 12 to 14 inches
Flower Color Blue, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green, Chartreuse/Gold
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Good for Containers
Zones 10, 11, 9
Propagation Stem Cuttings

Where to Plant Calibrachoa

If you're looking to quickly fill a container or hanging basket, this plant is up to the task and does well mixed with other plants. Or tuck it into the front of a border garden, where it can spill out onto sidewalks or patios. For extra curb appeal, plant your calibrachoa in a sunny window box.

Calibrachoa Care Tips

Calibrachoa plants bloom all summer long when their needs are met.


Calibrachoa requires 6-8 hours of sun daily for the best blooms. It can tolerate partial shade but produces fewer blooms.

Soil and Water

Use an all-purpose potting mix in containers or hanging baskets. Calibrachoas do best in containers with good drainage. When planted in beds outdoors, calibrachoas benefit from soil that drains well.


Calibrachoas are heavy feeders because of their speedy growth and profusion of blooms. Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting. Supplement with a water-soluble fertilizer at about half-strength every two or three weeks.

Sensitive to low amounts of nitrogen, calibrachoa turns yellow when it needs to be fed. So if your plants look a little golden, it's time to give them another dose of fertilizer.

Types of Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa grows as an annual in most of the U.S., but it's actually a perennial that's winter hardy in Zones 9-11.

'Cabaret Hot Pink' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa Cabaret Rose
Denny Schrock

'Cabaret Hot Pink' Calibrachoa bears multitudes of bright pink flowers on trailing stems to 8 inches.

'Cabaret Purple Glow' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Purple Glow'
Justin Hancock

'Cabaret Purple Glow' Calibrachoa trails to 8 inches and tolerates part shade. It grows 12 inches wide.

'Can-Can Mocha' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Can Can Mocha'
Graham Jimerson

'Can-Can Mocha' Calibrachoa offers creamy flowers with a chocolate-purple throat. It has a mounding-trailing habit and grows 15 inches tall and wide.

'Colorbust Chocolate' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Colorburst Chocolate'
Justin Hancock

Calibrachoa 'Colorburst Chocolate' is a compact, mounding selection to 8 inches and offers burgundy blooms blushed with chocolate-brown.

'Million Bells Terra-Cotta' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Terra Cotta'
Peter Krumhardt

'Million Bells Terra-Cotta' Calibrachoa offers orange flowers streaked with shades of red and gold on trailing stems to 8 inches.

'Million Bells Coral' Calibrachoa

Coral Calibrachoa "Million Bells"
Matthew Benson

'Million Bells Coral' Calibrachoa offers lots of coral-pink flowers on trailing stems to 8 inches.

'MiniFamous Compact Dark Red' Calibrachoa

Justin Hancock

'MiniFamous Compact Dark Red' Calibrachoa produces rich red flowers on a compact 8-inch trailing plant.

'MiniFamous Double Blue' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Minifamous Double Blue'
Justin Hancock

'MiniFamous Double Blue' Calibrachoa shows off fully double velvety-blue flowers on a trailing plant with 10-inch-long stems.

'MiniFamous Double Blush' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Minifamous Double Blush Pink'
Justin Hancock

'MiniFamous Double Blush' Calibrachoa bears gorgeous double pink flowers on a vigorous trailing plant with 10-inch-long stems.

'Minifamous Double Pink' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Minifamous Double Pink'

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

MiniFamous Double Pink Calibrachoa produces double pink flowers on a plant that trails to 10 inches.

'MiniFamous Double Yellow' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Minifamous Double Yellow'
Justin Hancock

'MiniFamous Double Yellow' Calibrachoa produces intricate double flowers on a vigorous plant that trails to 10 inches.

'MiniFamous Sun Violet Veins' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Minifamous Sun Violet Veins'
Justin Hancock

'MiniFamous Sun Violet Veins' Calibrachoa bears soft blue flowers with violet-purple netting on a vigorous plant that trails to 10 inches.

'MiniFamous Tangerine' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Minifamous Tangerine'

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

'MiniFamous Tangerine' Calibrachoa offers soft yellow flowers with orange markings on a vigorous plant that trails to 8 inches.

'Superbells Blackberry Punch' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Blackberry Punch'
Justin Hancock

Blooms of the 'Superbells Blackberry Punch' feature a deep raspberry-red outline with an almost black center.

'Superbells Blue' Calibrachoa

superbells blue calibrachoa
Jason Wilde

'Superbells Blue' Calibrachoa is a floriferous variety with loads of violet-blue flowers on trailing 8-inch stems.

'Superbells Cherry Star' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa Superbells Cherry Star
Denny Schrock

A Calibrachoa hybrid, 'Superbells Cherry Star' was one of the first to produce this bright yellow star pattern in the center. This particular series showcases a cherry-colored backdrop.

'Superbells Dreamsicle' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Dreamsicle'

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

'Superbells Dreamsicle' Calibrachoa is a vigorous variety that shows off creamy orange flowers on a plant that trails to 4 feet or more.

'Superbells Lavender' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Lavender'
Justin Hancock

'Superbells Lavender 'Calibrachoa bears an abundance of lavender flowers on trailing 36-inch-long stems.

'Superbells Peach' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Peach'
Justin Hancock

'Superbells Peach' Calibrachoa offers salmon-orange blooms with a darker throat. It holds up well to rainy weather and trails to 30 inches.

'Superbells Saffron' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Saffron'
Justin Hancock

'Superbells Saffron' Calibrachoa bears yellow flowers with a red-orange throat. It trails to 36 inches.

'Superbells Scarlet' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Scarlet'
Justin Hancock

'Superbells Scarlet' Calibrachoa bears bold scarlet-red flowers on a vigorous plant that trails to 48 inches.

'Superbells Tequila Sunrise' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Tequila Sunrise'
Justin Hancock

'Superbells Tequila Sunrise' Calibrachoa produces a plethora of orange flowers with yellow streaks. This vigorous variety can trail to 48 inches.

'Superbells Trailing Lilac Mist' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Trailing Lilac Mist'
Justin Hancock

'Superbells Trailing Lilac Mist' Calibrachoa bears lots of cream flowers with dark blue veins and has better heat- and drought-tolerance than most. It trails to 4 feet.

'Superbells Yellow Chiffon' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Yellow Chiffon'
Justin Hancock

'Superbells Yellow Chiffon' Calibrachoa produces soft yellow flowers on a floriferous plant that trails to 48 inches.

'Superbells Yellow' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Superbells Yellow'
Marty Baldwin

'Superbells Yellow' Calibrachoa features large, clear yellow flowers and a low, trailing habit. It trails to 48 inches.

'Voodoo' Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Voodoo'
Justin Hancock

'Voodoo' Calibrachoa produces plum flowers with yellow streaks and flecks. Each bloom is different. The plant trails to 48 inches or more, making it a good choice for hanging baskets and large mixed container gardens.

Calibrachoa Companion Plants



BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you'll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach 1-2 feet tall, studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long. While all of its varieties are beautiful, the sweetly scented selections offer an added bonus. Most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, but it's a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. If you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can keep it flowering all winter.

Coral Bells

Calibrachoa Coralbells

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Exciting selections with incredible foliage patterns put coral bells on the map. Once enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coral bells are also grown for the unusual mottling and veining of different-colored leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coral bells fine groundcover plants.


Calibrachoa Loosestrife

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

These vigorous growers are beautiful additions to the garden. Loosestrife plants vary from tall, stately plants suitable for borders to others better used as creeping groundcovers. The flowers, too, vary from tight spikes of half-inch to 1-inch cups, alone or in whorls. Some varieties may grow aggressively and need to be corralled. Note: These are not the invasive purple loosestrife that has been banned in many parts of the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do calibrachoas need to be cut back?

    Calibrachoas do a good job of "burying their dead"—meaning they grow so fast, they quickly cover over old blossoms. This is a plus for low-maintenance gardeners, because there's no need to manually remove dead growth.

  • Will pests eat my calibrachoa?

    Calibrachoas are usually not the first choice for deer and rabbits looking for a snack. However, tobacco budworms are a different story; they happily dine on buds and petals. They are large enough to pick off, but an application of a natural pesticide of Bacillus thuringiensis will also take care of them. 

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