When we choose annuals for our containers, our wish lists may look something like this:
- It must be a blooming powerhouse. We want an abundance of flowers and we want them from spring until frost.
- It must be adaptable. We want it to perform in a variety of conditions and forgive us if we miss a watering from time to time.
- It must be tough. We don’t want a diva that languishes in summer’s heat.
- It must be low maintenance. We don’t want to deadhead or spray for insects or diseases.
- It must be available in a wide range of colors. We want all of the above in any color our hearts desire.
We gardeners want a lot, don’t we? And we CAN have it all.
Calibrachoa is nearly as perfect as an annual can get. It blooms prolifically from spring until the first frost. It is not fussy about soil and prefers slightly moist conditions, but is tolerant of short periods of drought. It is rarely bothered by pests or diseases, it doesn’t need deadheading, and it is available in just about any color you can possibly imagine.
Gardeners can choose from single and double-flowered forms, solid, bi-colored and tri-colored varieties, or striped and veined types.
Calibrachoa flowers resemble mini petunias as they tumble over the edges of containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. They are the ultimate ‘spill’ of spillers.
Depending on the variety, they grow from three to twelve inches tall and trail up to eighteen inches or more. Some are more mounding; others are all about the rambling.
Full sun is their preferred location, but they will grow almost as well in light shade. In too much shade, flowering will be diminished.
Low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance. Add slow-release fertilizer to the potting mix when planting, water regularly, and because they bloom and bloom and bloom, they require additional periodic fertilizing.
Even though their spent blossoms fade and fall away gracefully – yeah, no deadheading – plants can be pinched back to keep them fuller. If plants ever begin to look unkempt, they can be cut back more aggressively. New growth will begin quickly and flowering will start again in a couple weeks.
Every season, plant breeders introduce more exciting varieties with unique color combinations and flower forms. How many Calibrachoa varieties have you grown? Which ones are your favorites? Share your experiences and garden with me!