Last year I discovered a new flower that I had never seen before: Calibrachoa. I found it in a hanging basket at Lowe's garden center and was smitten. I knew nothing about it, but couldn't leave without taking one home that day. Well, I guess I COULD have gone home without one, but I really didn't want to.
Calibrachoa is also known as "million bells" for the masses of little bell-shaped flowers the plant produces continuously throughout the growing season. And, I even found these little flowers referred to as "trailing petunias", which makes perfect sense. They look amazingly like tiny petunias, and have a strong trailing habit.
Native to South America, Calibrachoa is a hybrid plant introduced to North America in the early 1990's. The profusion of brightly colored flowers can be found in blue, pink, lavender, coral, yellow, white, red, or bronze. Officially an annual plant, I discovered that it is actually a tender perennial in our zone 8 garden. While doing some research on this flower, I learned that they are considered winter hardy in zones 9-11. Apparently zone 8 works too.
As last summer was winding down, I transplanted them from the hanging basket to the barrel that our Don Juan climbing rose grows in. They didn't even seem to notice the new location and settled in nicely for the fall/winter. This spring they began sporting their bright blooms again, and I added a couple of purple ones to the collection.
Calibrachoa enjoys moist, well-drained, organically-rich soil and plenty of sunlight. In areas with intense heat (read HERE), some shade is good. Although I have not yet seen any in our garden, these charming flowers are described as hummingbird attractors. And, one of my favorite features is that they require no deadheading, making it much easier to keep them looking nice all season.
If you are looking for an easy-care splash of color for your garden, Calibrachoa is one I would recommend checking into. Enjoy the growing season!
Have you heard of Calibrachoa? Are you already growing it in your garden?
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