3 Best Tips for Million Bells!
There are a million reasons to love “Million Bells,” but the most obvious is the huge number of brightly-colored flowers produced on each trailing stem. It may not technically be millions, but when you stand back and look at a window box or retaining wall filled with calibrachoa (Million Bells is a hybrid variety of calibrachoa), it may as well be! Plus, they come in such fun colors, with new varieties coming out every year from Proven Winners.
These seemingly effortless and cheerful blooms require just a bit more care than the standard petunia (their closest relation) but not to worry: these 3 easy care tips will make your Million Bells truly shine!
Keys to Success with Calibrachoa:
1. Good Drainage
The genus calibrachoa originates from the rocky hillsides of Brazil, so that is a good indication of the growing conditions the plants prefer. Proven Winners has hybridized many different versions of calibrachoa, some called Million Bells or Superbells, but all behave similarly for growth and flowering. Here in Rochester, be sure to plant Million Bells in well-draining potting mix in containers, or well-drained soil in the ground (break up heavy clay soils by adding topsoil or gypsum). Do not plant with peat moss as that retains water.
2. Part to Full Sun
In order to set more buds and produce flowers all season long, calibrachoas need about 6 hours of sunshine each day. The plant will survive in a slightly shadier site if you absolutely don’t have sun, but for “millions” of flowers, the right amount of sun is a necessity!
Continuously producing so many flowers can take a lot out of a plant, so to keep up its strength and vigor and to keep its leaves deep green, fertilize your Million Bells with an iron-rich fertilizer. Jack’s Classic Petunia Feed was originally developed for professional growers, and is now available for the home gardener. It’s what we use in our greenhouses to keep our cali’s healthy and blooming, and we recommend continuing that feeding at home. Jack’s is a water soluble powder that can be mixed right in your watering can, so just mix it in at the ratio on the container every third watering, and your Million Bells will stay green and healthy through late summer!
Try planting Proven Winners “Superbells” Cherry Star — its bright pink hue can be grown next to just about any color from other pinks to purple to pastels, and its bright yellow accent lines are like a “beeline” giving directions to pollinators!