Annual of the Week-Calibrachoa

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Calibrachoa, also known as Million Bells, is actually a perennial that is often grown as an annual.  If you live in a warm enough climate, this plant will come back year after year.  However, for the colder climates, this plant should be treated as an annual.

Calibrachoa is a relative of the petunia family and is native to Brazil.  The forms that we use in our gardens are the result of hybridization.  These plants are smaller than petunias and have more wiry and slender stems with tiny, closely set leaves.

There are two basic types of Calibrachoa.  The trailers are low and flat growing with leaves that are 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide.  These are called Liricashower and have flowers that are white, pink and a purplish blue that are about an inch wide.  The other type of Calibrachoa is a more compact and mounding type of plant.  They do not trail as much and are known as Colorburst.  The leaves on this variety are a little larger and the flowers come in cherry, rose, red and violet.

The wiry stems make the plants less likely to break than the standard petunia.  Calibrachoa will produce blooms all season long.  They should be planted in an area with full sun or light shade.  They can be used in hanging baskets, flower boxes and as bedding plants.  Be sure to plant them at lease 1 1/2 feet apart for best results.