Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CALIBRACHOA (AKA “Million Bells,” “Super Bells,” “Mini Famous,” etc.)

In recent years many new flowering plants have been developed that are grown from cuttings, not seeds. These plants produce little, if any seed, and must be vegetatively propagated. (All photographs of blooms supplied by the companies selling the plants.)

Calibrachoa, which looks like a small petunia, was first released as ‘Million Bells’ in 1992. It came from wild samples collected in South America in 1988. Wikipedia says that calibrachoas are named after a Mexican botanist, Antonio de la Cal y Bracho, so I learned something composing this blog entry.

Calibrachoa has hundreds of small flowers from spring to fall. “A tiny petunia on steroids” is how I have seen it described, although they are actually an entirely different species. Like most flowers grown from cuttings, you don't have to deadhead calibrachoa.

Dream Kisses Orange Sunset

All the big companies are breeding calibrachoas now. They are great for any container, as they tumble over the side and are loaded with flowers.

My favorite calibrachoas from last year were 'Superbells Plum' and 'Superbells Saffron'. These are both from the Proven Winners series.

Superbells Plum

Superbells Saffron

I like to mix colors in hanging baskets and the combinations sold well last year.

Stay Tuned!

We had five below zero last week, so it’s not exactly planting time in northern Vermont. And yet they are predicting 80 degrees (record highs) for tomorrow.

A new calibrachoa I am trailing this year is 'Mini Famous Double Yellow' developed by Selecta. I have had a few doubles in the past, but they were spotty bloomers. This variety has done well in trial gardens around the country.

Mini Famous Double Yellow

Above is 'Noa Blue Legend,' another new calibrachoa (I wonder what the correct pronunciation is on that word) that I have this year because it rated high in trial gardens across the country last year. I am growing ten different colors this year and I suspect in a month or two I will be posting photos of the results. For now, all is green.

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