Thursday, October 04, 2007


As many of the Summer annuals begin to decline and Springs colour is long gone its nice to count on a few garden troopers who energetically bloom until the first frost. One plant I count on is a newer plant to gardens these days --- Calibrachoa (Million Bells). Gaining popularity in the last 5 years and not really showing up at the nurseries until the mid 90's, Calibrachoa is fast becoming a trend plant.

It comes in a myriad of colours and has the look of a diminutive petunia. In fact many botanist don't see enough difference in it to give it it's own separate genus. Because of it's small stature it has become the darling of mixed hanging baskets as well as window boxes and has the added benefit of the long blooming period, crescendoing in Autumn.
Calibrachoa is not only for container gardening. It works well in between other fall bloomers like Asters, Mums, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, and Autumnal foliage in the mixed borders. Personally I prefer it where it can cascade out of urn or hanging basket. This way you can really see how it got it's common name 'Million Bells'. Even garden designers have taken note of this plant. Using it in Autumn colours and incorporating it with branches, fall foliage, pumpkins, gourds in large urns making a festive and spectacular presentation greeting guests at the front door. You can see that it really has many uses.

Calibrachoe is self cleaning, meaning you don't have to dead head, likes full sun and responds well to bi-monthy applications of a mild all purpose fertilizer. It is actually considered a perennial in very warm climates but is generally grown as an annual in most gardens.

I have created a new look for BOBSGARDEN.COM. In addition to having larger print to make it easier to read I have acquired some new software for my photography. I'm resizing them to where they will boot up quicker for you all. I hope you enjoy the new changes, BOB


Shady Gardener said...

I always forget to click on your photos... they're always lovely the way they are. However, WOW are these a beautiful sight "close up!"

I have ignored them in the past, however... due to the fact they look so much like a small petunia. But unless you get the Wave... regular petunias never do so well.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Love the whole new and improved Bob blog! ;-) That Calibrachoa looks very healthy and happy, such a profusion of flowers. Like the colour too, very pretty and cheerful.

Andrea's Garden said...

hi Bob, I love those Million Bells, but mine are giving up now and are succumbing to the cooler temperatures and rain we have had.
About your question in my blog - I asked a friend of mine about the name of the blue flower. She said it is called Triteleia and related to Brodiaea. Does that help any? I got the bulbs as a freebie and didn't pay it much attention, but they are pretty. Like the new look, but haven't had a problem reading it. Past 40 now and wearing reading glasses. :-) Andrea

LostRoses said...

Bob, count me in on the trend to use calibrachoa. I love it and won't be without it in my containers, though I never thought of using it in mixed borders. Like you, I like to see it cascade.

My favorite this year was a yellow one that overflowed its container and never failed to delight me. When I got back from my recent trip, I found it wilting on the vine (my neighbor overlooked it while watering). I gave it a drink and it's happy once again. I'll be sorry to see that one go when the first frost hits.

Phillip said...

I discovered calibrachoa a few years ago and now I couldn't live without it. It is a fantastic plant and very beautiful in containers. The color offerings seem to get better every year.

KC MO Garden Guy said...

Bob, I too use the million bells in my garden. They do real well for me except for the worms I get on them. But thanks to you I shouldn't have that problem next year;)
Love the look of your new site. Yes the bigger print is much easier for me to read, you know I am getting up there in years!!

Anonymous said...

a pretty plant that is self cleaning . . . that's for me.
I hope i can find one next spring.

congrats on your new software for the pix.

Jana said...

Just received my very first calibrachoa for Mother's Day and I have hung it on my patio. I am happy to hear that it is going to be a hardy bloomer - in spite of me!