On the trail of summer bedding

The petunia-like blooms of calibrachoas are perfect for hanging baskets and containers over the summer

Million Belles Bouquet PinkCalibrachoa are tender, free-flowering plants used as summer bedding. They’re mostly trailing in habit, with petunia-like, trumpet-shaped flowers blooming over a long period. For example, the Million Bells Series are compact trailing annuals up to 25cm (10in) in height, with yellow-throated, pink or blue flowers 2–3cm (0.7-1in) across, in summer and autumn.

They are from South America where they grow as perennials. In colder climates like that in the UK they are grown as annuals. Calibrachoa are mini petunias and belong to the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Close relatives include Nicotiana, potato, chilli pepper and tomato.

Rave VioletA sunny, sheltered site is essential for the best flowers. They are ideal for hanging baskets and containers but can also be grown in any well-drained soil, and at the bottom of the Trials Field we have nearly 80 different cultivars in both baskets and containers. The range of colours is awesome – in fact, almost every colour is featured, some are even multi-coloured, and there are single, semi-double and double flowers.

We’re inviting the public to vote for their favourite as part of the People’s Choice Award – please come along and have your say, if you can narrow down your choice, that is… it’s like a sweet shop!

They are generally pest and disease free but may suffer root rot if too wet or shady. Water carefully, keeping the flowers and foliage dry, and with plenty of sunshine they will thrive. Although the standard advice is to deadhead regularly to ensure a long display of flowers we are going to test whether the calibrachoas in our trial will “self-clean” – that is we will hold back on deadheading them to see how the display stands up.


Read more

Containers
Expert advice on planting up containers

Baskets
How to get the best from hanging baskets

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