I received a hanging basket of Million Bells as a gift, and I've no clue how to groom them. Same story as petunias?
"Same story as petunias?"
I think they are a little more "finicky" than petunias. See this article on How to Care for Calibrachoa Million Bells. Note the requirement for slightly acidic conditions.
There's no way calibrachoa is more finicky than petunia. No offense, but those eHow articles are usually way off base.
Calibrachoa likes sun. I keep it watered and rarely even think about fertilizer. I have to be careful putting cali in a pot with other plants because by mid summer, it wants to take over the pot. I never deadhead, and I never have to prune. It just does it's thing beautifully for me.
The only problem I ever had with calibrachoa was one very wet spring/summer. The slugs gravitated to all my calis and stripped them. It seemed to be their favorite plant.
I should also add that my calis get morning sun up until about 1pm, and they're quite happy with that which is a bit surprising.
"There's no way calibrachoa is more finicky than petunia. No offense, but those eHow articles are usually way off base."
Well, I think that Michele just wants to know how to care for her Calibrachoa plant, and it's kind of a side issue which is more finicky. Some petunias are more finicky than others. If you are right that "those eHow articles are usually way off base" then we should look at some other sources of information on the subject. For example, right here in this Annuals forum, there was a discussion titled caring for Calibrachoa.
Garden Guides has an article How to Care for Calibrachoa. It also says to make the soil slightly more acidic.
Proven Winners, under Growing Tips for Calibrachoa, says "Keeping plants too wet can lead to root rot diseases. Allow the top of the soil to dry before watering again. If your plant is wilting even though the soil is still damp you likely have a root rot problem. Self-cleaning, no deadheading necessary." They also say that they are "Among the easiest plants to grow".
There is a lot of information on the Internet available for the Googling. By looking at multiple sources, you can get some idea about which information is "off base". You didn't mention a source, other than yourself, that "those eHow articles are usually way off base." You have aroused my curiosity about that.
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What I really want to know is if I have to shear back mid-summer like petunias - ?
mxk, I think that you will find that Calibrachoa does not have to be groomed. Should yours get a little tired looking in mid summer, a haircut will benefit it, of course.
To keep it blooming like crazy all season long, you will want to use low doses of fertilizer on a regular basis. It takes a great deal of energy to produce flowers like that for months and months. In containers, especially, you'll need to keep these plants fed. Be conservative with the amount. All-in-all, it's a terrific low-maintenance plant. Such pretty colors!
Regarding the eHow articles: I often find that there will be at least one statement that is glaringly misleading (in my opinion) in an otherwise OK summary. This one is written by an author who, I believe, gleaned her information from the web, but isn't really familiar with this plant.
i dont know if i would want to deadhead a plant that claims to have a million flowers.. whats that all about.. lol
I know what you mean. It could take a while to pull off a million flowers. Fortunately, Calibrachoas are "self cleaning". I think that means that they don't set seeds, so the flowers just fall off when they start to fade. No deadheading needed. Most Calibrachoas are patented and are grown asexually from cuttings or tissue cultures. That's why you don't see their seeds for sale and why they don't self-sow.
I have grown these for a number of years and they are both easy and beautiful. Lots of sun, frequent liquid fertilizer and that's it. Then endless flowers. No deadheading. I don't grow annuals that need that pain-in-the-neck task.
They are so vigorous that it can be helpful to move them to a bigger container than the basket they come in in the spring.