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. These trailing plants 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®. They are a short-lived evergreen perennial subshrub in the scrub and open grasslands of their native Peru, Brazil, and Chile, but are commonly grown as annuals in the U.S.

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

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 bloom best with at least six hours of 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 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:

Proper watering is essential. 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

Swipe to view slides

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

Color:

Yellow with white stripes

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® Grape Punch™ Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

Color:

Purple with deep burgundy throat and yellow eye

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® Cherry Star Buy now from Proven Winners
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 12 inches tall

Color:

Cherry red with yellow star

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

Color:

Yellow with cherry-pink mottling

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

Color:

Splashes of purple accentuated with bright yellow on a creme base

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

Height/Spread:

12 to 24 inches wide, 6 to 10 inches tall

Color:

Deep pink, edged with white

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

Cabaret® Deep Blue
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

10 to 12 inches wide, 6 to 10 inches tall.

Color:

Blue-purple with yellow center

Though there hasn't been a true blue breakthrough in breeding, this blue-purple variety comes close. Combining well with many colors, this blue stands out when paired with trailing chartreuse sweet potato vine and neon orange begonia.

Photo: Ball Horticultural Company

MiniFamous® 'Uno Double Red'
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

10 to 15 inches tall & wide

Color:

Deep red.

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

Cabaret® Lavender
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

10 to 12 inches wide, 6 to 10 inches tall

Color:

Lavender with soft yellow center

Pastel hues are just what’s needed to cool off the garden during hot summer months. This lavender flower combines well with other soft colors. Plant with silver wormwood and pink fan flower (Scaevola) for a subdued look.

Photo: Ball Horticultural Company

Can-Can® Orange
Calibrachoa hybrid

Height/Spread:

10 to 15 inches tall & wide

Color:

Deep orange

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

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