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Calibrachoa (group)

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Kemper Code:  A119

Common Name: million bells
Zone: 9 to 11
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Solanaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 0.25 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.5 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: June - To frost  
Bloom Color: Violet, blue, pink, red, magenta, yellow, bronze, white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11. In St. Louis, it is grown as an annual. It is easily grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates very light shade, but flowering decreases as the amount of part shade increases. Also tolerates drought. Purchase plants in spring and set out after the last frost. Plants produce little if any seed and must be vegetatively propagated. Most hybrid cultivars are patented thus prohibiting vegetative propagation. Deadheading is not required. Unlike its petunia relatives, calibrachoa does not typically decline during the heat of St. Louis summers.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Calibrachoa or trailing petunia is a tender perennial which produces flowers that look like small petunias. These are compact, mounded plants which grow 3-9” tall on mostly trailing stems. Sometimes commonly called million bells, these plants are prolific bloomers that produce hundreds of 1” wide flowers from spring to frost. Flower colors include shades of violet, blue, pink, red, magenta, yellow, bronze, and white. Calibrachoa is not recognized as a separate genus by many authorities including the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Hortus Third. It is sometimes sold in commerce as Petunia ‘Million Bells’.

Problems: Click for detailed list of pests and problems.

No serious insect or disease problems.


Best in hanging baskets, containers or as a small area ground cover. Also may be used in border fronts or rock gardens.

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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