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Like a tiny petunia on steroids, calibrachoa (also called Million Bells) grows and flowers at an amazing rate. These extremely vigorous plants make for colorful, cascading accents in containers or hanging baskets, along walkways, and on garden walls.
A recent newcomer to the retail plant world, calibrachoa has only been around 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 people enjoy adding to their gardens year after year.
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Little trumpets of color, calibrachoa flowers play their fanfare day in and day out. With new developments in breeding, calibrachoa flowers now come in a rainbow of options, including yellow stars, speckled colors, veined and segmented petals, and sometimes combinations of all of the above. Plant calibrachoa in a sunny window box!
Much of the work that's gone into calibrachoa breeding has been to make these plants day-neutral. This means that they bloom all season—no matter how long or short the days are.
Calibrachoa Care Must-Knows
A fairly low-growing plant, calibrachoa doesn't typically get much taller than 4 inches. Its spread is what draws attention: Some plants can extend over 2 feet of ground in no time. If you're looking to quickly fill a container or hanging basket, this plant is up to the task! Calibrachoa also does well when mixed with other plants or tucked into the front of a border, where it can spill out onto sidewalks or patios.
One thing to note about calibrachoa: Since it's such a fast grower, the plant requires a decent amount of food and will let you know if it needs to eat. 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 a nice dose of fertilizer.
Calibrachoa also does a pretty good job of "burying their dead"; meaning they grow so fast, they quickly cover over any old blossoms. This is a plus for low-maintenance gardeners, as there's no need to manually remove dead growth.
Recently, there's been some interesting work being done with calibrachoa plants. An example is the creation of the "petchoa": a cross between a petunia, a close relative, and the calibrachoa. This new hybrid looks a lot like you might expect, considering its parents: A giant, flowering plant with a mounded habit. The best of both worlds.