Propagating calibrachoa (million bells)

greenthumbs10(z5NY)July 29, 2005

Hello, Has anyone had any luck propagating calibrachoa (million bells)? I just love this plant and would like to have one in every color. I have tried several different methods of propagation but it seems very difficult to get a viable plant baby from this cutie! If anyone has had any luck I would appreciate your advice. Also, does anyone know if it is possible to keep this plant alive indoors (not greenhouse) over the winter? Thanks. Donna

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A friend took some cuttings and stuck them down in some poting soil in the greenhouse and they rooted. She did say that they looked ruff for a little while I am not sure if the growth was slow at first. I was told in my area zone 8 that if I keep it under cover outside that it would come back but since this is my first year with them I am not sure what the outcome will be yet.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 5:15PM
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Druid_of_the_vine(ct z5)

try to take cuttings and use "roots". I cant say if it will work but thats how start

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 7:19PM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

Answering the questions in reverse order -
Yes, you can keep one over the winter. However, mine got aphids horribly! To do it again, I'd either root a cutting in August, or cut a stock plant way back in late August. That would keep it from being too leggy when brought indoors. I don't think it's worth doing more than "keeping it alive" while it's in the house.
I had good success (if slow) rooting tip cuttings (from active growth) about an inch long in 50-50 fine perlite/vermiculite mix, moist but not wet, and totally enclosed. My guess is that they would have been much faster if I had used both rooting hormones and bottom heat. BTW, I washed off most of the aphids before sticking the cuttings, but the remaining bugs didn't seem to survive long in the cutting containers anyway.
Cuttings of older growth, mostly from stems where spent tips had been clipped off, had a much worse "take" rate. I've actually had better luck with just sticking cuttings in a pot of soil during the season.
My biggest problem has been slugs - they LOVE callibrachoa and strip it down to a bare stem. Second biggest problem was not realizing what greedy feeders they are. They need regular feeding, or a good dose of a slow-release fertilizer (I've got all mine on Osmocote now).
Somewhere on the web (can't find it right now), there's either a separate propagation sheet for Callibrachoa, or a significant entry under a general greenhouse propagation chart. Usually, one can get lots of good info from those and then adjust for home use. Just for the record, most if not all of these cultivars are patented, so properly we shouldn't be propagating them ourselves at all.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 9:21PM
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was reading this thread re callibrachoa and googled it since I was not familiar with the name and the pics i found look just like seedings I got from a friend, she said they were "dwarf" or miniature petunias- looks to me a lot like the pics i found of callibrachoa... are they related? one and the same?or.......... do i need new glasses?!
here's a pic :

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 10:58AM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

Callibrachoas are frequently, if incorrectly, referred to as miniature petunias. They are related, and I believe that the classification has gone back and forth a few times. Whatever one calls them, they make great container plants - haven't tried them in the ground yet.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 4:07PM
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Hello, Thanks for all your responses about my question. I did use rooting hormone but I tried rooting in peatmoss/perlite mixture and I did NOT totally enclose them in a plastic bag. I will try some in vermiculite/perlite mix and maybe I will try a few in sand. What the heck . . . I have tried everything else but not that yet. I did not realize that they love fertilizer--will give my plants more now that I know that. Thanks again. Donna

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 7:01PM
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robin, thanks for the info re the name. this year i tried growing them in the garden but they didn't make it -either dried out in the heat or i 'monsooned ' (!) them unintentionally. but they do love pots or hanging baskets i guess coz then u have more control over the direct watering/or not.
guess what- looked at your page and we have the same birthday!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 8:54AM
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In searching on the web for info on petunia's, I came across the following site.

The title is:
Producing Vegetative Petunias and Calibrachoa
You might find it interesting

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 1:58PM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

Thanks, Marie - that's very useful. The site references several other articles on calibrachoa, as well.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 7:21PM
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Try sticking your cuttings in with petunias. I accidentally found this solution, and it has been very effective for me.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 5:03PM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

I read and hear much about the genus callibrachoa, but I have had NO luck with the identification of the species of this plant. Can anyone help? I'm not too swift in the use of the internet in searching. My old faithfuls ITIS and the Missouri Garden offer almost no info!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 7:11PM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

All the commercial varieties are simply listed and sold as hybrids. The only species name of it that I could find was Callibrachoa elegans. I only found one reference to this name in a Portuguese (I think)language journal.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 10:48AM
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flowerangel(z7 OR)

When I worked at the plant nursery we took cuttings from firm stems with two leaf nodes, no rooting hormone, stuck in regular potting mix with 100% rooting success but we used bottom heat. I have also rooted them in my little greenhouse at home pretty easily without bottom heat.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 9:52PM
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Last summer I had a basket of Million bells hanging over a Mandevilla in a pot. I over wintered the mandevilla in my garage. The mandevilla lived, bloomed and has million bells growing all around it. I did nothing and the million bells had to come from seeds dropped some time in the summer. I just went out and looked at the pot again and they are not small petunias, they are million bells. I don't know how it happened.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 8:55AM
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I collected alot of seeds from my mini petunia plant this pass season and am wondering if anyone has ever started these cuties from seed, and if so, how did it turn out?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 7:55PM
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My first time buying a Calibrachoa. It is a Perennial. I was wondering if I keep it in the pot I purchased it in,instead of planting it in ground will it still come back every year?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 12:35PM
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sorie6(6b ok.)

Not a perennial.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:04PM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I've found it said in several sources that it is a tender perennial hardy to zone 9, possibly 8 with protection.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:38PM
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ibartoo(z8 sc)

I've had a couple survive the winters in zone 8 without protection, but they aren't reliably hardy here.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 12:21PM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

I've also had it survive a mild winter outdoors with no protection in a large terracotta pot.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:09AM
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I have tried propagating this plant by just putting some cutting in regular potting soil. Some did root while some did not. I also collected seeds, I was very surprise to find seeds when I took my cuttings. This seeds where viable and produce just like the parent plants when I planted them. I have save some seeds for spring 2012. will keep an open eye now and look for seeds for every color. This was the mini famous calibrachoa

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:59PM
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