Calibrachoa 'Million Bells' or other annual ?

topieMarch 2, 2010

Hi everyone!

Just wondering if anyone can tell me about their experiences with Calibrachoa/Million Bells or Superbells, and if you think they would be a good choice for my hanging baskets, or if you would recommend something else?

My hanging baskets would hang from a north-facing porch ceiling. The porch gets direct morning sun from the east, shade during the afternoon, and then direct sun in the late afternoon from the west. The baskets would hang from the porch beam closest to the gutter at the edge of the porch.

Because of the amount of sunlight that hits the porch in the morning and late afternoon, and the fact that there are zero trees surrounding our porch, I'm thinking I should go with plants that like sun or part sun...what do you all think?

I'm looking for a long-blooming, cascading-type of annual with white flowers. Here are the options I've been considering:

Calibrachoa Million Bells or Superbells

Lobelia hybrid (a white Lobelia hybrid): Enough sun? Too much sun?

Asarina scandens/Twining Snapdragon: Too much sun/heat/light?

Browallia 'Silver Bells': Too much sun/heat/light?

I'm also thinking I may need to use a different plant for the western basket than the center and eastern baskets. As long as they all have white blooms it's fine. Any other annual plant suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Hi, topie! In PA you're going to get more sun on your north-facing porch than I would, here in Phoenix, AZ. But if the baskets are going to be more than 2 ft. in from the actual edge of the porch--including gutters--the center one may be happier if it was something more shade tolerant, such as Impatiens, Browallia, or Wishbone Flower (Torenia). Also, you might want to think about how that center basket is going to affect traffic on to an off of the porch.

Hope that helps,
Kevin : )

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 11:05PM
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Thanks for your follow-up post...that's a good point about the basket placement. The baskets will actually hang from the porch beam closest to the north/outside edge of the porch (the gutter is right next to this outside beam).

But the edges of the baskets will actually be quite close to the area outside of the porch, rather than deep under the ceiling of the porch. Your points helped me to think about these baskets some more...I think since the baskets will be so close to the edge that I should go with the Calibrachoa, at least in the western basket. The shade plants may just get toasted.

For the other two baskets, I think I'll try the white Lobelias since the description for them says sun to partial shade. I have seeds for the Browallia and Asarina...I think I'll grow these in baskets under an awning on another side of the house. That way I could always switch everything around if the Calibrachoa seems like it needs more sun.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:20AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

RE: Basket placement: I do not like the placement of the basket right smack in front of the door. At all. The door should be the center of the attention, and putting a basket hanging right in front of it is very distracting to the eye IMO. If it were me, I would omit the center basket, leave the other two on either side. I would perhaps flank the door with a planter setting on the ground of the porch on both sides of the door either in front of the porch step-up or right next to the wall to give some visual depth (i.e. plantars at ground level, but not in the same horizontal line as the hanging baskets).

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 6:25PM
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Thanks so much for your comments mxk3. The drawing above was really for the purpose of showing the direction of the sun, but I appreciate your design input. However, the drawing above is actually really just a vague approximation of our porch.

Our porch does not have a railing, or a center entrance, is only accessible by the east and west ends, and is extremely tall from floor to ceiling (our house is from the Victorian era). The basket in the center would actually hang at a level higher than the top of the front door. The entire front lip of the porch is actually pretty much obscured by a large hedge as well, so any planters set on the floor of the porch would not be visible, unless the total height of container plus plant was over 5 feet tall, and even then only the very top of the plant would show over the hedge.

Thanks anyway for your porch design suggestions!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 6:50PM
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This is not enough light for almost all flowering annuals, sorry to say. Impatiens and maybe browallia are really the only options in the conditions you describe--north-facing porch. What about ferns or another foliage plant you like?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 8:11PM
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I like red begonia, purple setcresea and red-purple fuschia for hanging baskets.

That said, I planted a beautiful one last year and sparrows built a nest in it. The parents raised three youngsters in there, so I just couldn't bring myself to water the plants all but the begonia died. So, keep in mind that you may be creating a bird house!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:00AM
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