Leggy calibrachoa

nattycatJune 12, 2008

I bought 2 GORGEOUS calibrachoa with vinca vine hanging baskets at Lowes about 6 weeks ago. They are hanging by my front door which faces west. Initially, they were doing very well, but now are looking leggy and not very pretty, with few blooms. However, the vinca vine is thriving! My questions are what can I do to perk up the million bells, how often should I water and fertilize with Miracle Grow and is it getting enough sun? I've killed several other baskets of it already I assume due to too much water, so I'm being very cautious about overwatering. However, it's getting very hot here in Charleston and I don't want it to suffer from lack of water. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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I live near Boston so results may differ--:)--but I give them full sun and water AND miracle gro every single day. I use only 1/4 teaspoon of miracle gro to 1 gallon of water. In hot weather, I have to do them twice a day. But they are totally covered with flowers at all times.

These need full sun here and I would imagine mostly sun in SC. But you will have to water the heck out of them.

You might also consider moving the plants to larger containeres. The roots grow rapidly and take up all the room in the usual 10" or 12" baskets they sell. Especially if you have vinca in there too.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 1:54PM
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What about pinching them? I've read some bad outcomes from this. Are you already watering yours every day? Maybe mine don't get enough full, direct sun during the day. The sun does not really begin hitting my front door until around 3:00 and then it's full force and extremely hot. However, they are not drying out completely each day yet. I live in a condo that's situated in the back corner of a group of 3 buildings. There's plenty of sun, but with the way the sun moves across the sky, it's not full force direct sun until the afternoon. I have geraniums that are doing well with the afternoon sun so I would think that this would be enough for the bells. However, I have no experience with them and have already murdered several this spring. The baskets cost a fortune so I want to use them. I'm afraid of messing with the little bells too much for fear of killing them. That's actually why I bought the baskets from Lowes. I bought several individuals and potted them myself, but they all croaked. I got the $20 pre-made baskets to see if someone else could create an environment better for them than I could. They were also very pretty in their Victorian black "wire" baskets with coconut liners which helped me blow $40.
You use regular Miracle Grow, right? I want these to live and get bushy again. I want to take cuttings to see if I can get some more going, but I don't know how. Any help is appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 2:21PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It doesn't sound like your plants are getting enough sunlight. They can take the heat, but require plenty of direct sun in order to be productive.

Only you can determine if you are watering too much or not. If the containers are still moist after a day, then don't water. A potting medium that stays too wet will result in dead root systems and (therefore) dead plants.

When grown in sufficient sunlight, calibrachoa respond well to frequent haircuts and regular half doses of fertilizer. I always use a tomato type product because they has less N and more P than the 'regular' fertilizers. Miracle Gro makes a bloom booster with an analysis of 15-30-15.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 2:52PM
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I use regular Miracle Gro every day, as I described. These plants do need a lot of water and a lot of sun and a lot of fertilizer but they will reward you with lots of flowers.

No sun until 3pm doesn't sound like enough sun for these, even in SC where the sun is stronger than here. But try the every-day fertilizing and I bet that will help.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 5:42PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

If these plants are facing west and in a hanging basket....it is impossible to water them too much....it you water them every day until the water pours out the bottom....that's good...on very hot sunny days....doing it twice is better.
I would dilute a 'bloom' fertiliser ( low in the N factor) to about 20% of the recommended dose and feed them that every day....and plain water in the late afternoon.
By leggy do you mean long stems with very few leaves and even fewer blooms? If so,,,,they need water!

Linda C

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:29PM
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I'd read in an older gardening book (before the internet) that the 'sun' that counts is from between 11am - 3pm, or 10am to 4pm, meaning that those rays are the strongest. I think your bells need more sunlight. Otherwise they will probably grow looser, and the blooms are more spaced out (different look, and if you've got no other spot for them, what else can you do?)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:31AM
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