Would you like an annual flower that blooms nonstop without the need for deadheading? How about one that spills gracefully over the sides of your containers and hanging baskets, but has a dense trailing habit rather than a spindly one? Million bells plants fit this description, and they attract hummingbirds and butterflies to boot.
Your grandmother probably didn’t grow million bells, but not because they didn’t exist. Petunias and million bells were exported from South America to Europe in the 1800’s. Petunias ruled until 1997, when Proven Winners licensed the up-and-coming million bells from its breeder, Sunstory Ltd.
Genus Calibrachoa, Family Solanaceae
Million Bells, Trailing Petunia
Million bells plants are tender perennials hardy in zones 9-11, but most gardeners treat them as annuals.
Size:3-12 inches tall, spread up to 2 feet
Million bells flower best in full sun. Bright dappled shade or afternoon shade are second choice placements in the garden, but may turn your “million bells” into “thousand bells.”
Spring through frost
- Keep plants evenly moist; soil surface should not dry out
- Fertilize every two weeks throughout the growing season with a liquid flower fertilizer
- Keep plants from becoming heat stressed, which tempts spider mites. Practice cultural control by misting plants with water daily.
Their trailing habit, low maintenance, and prolific blooms make million bells excellent candidates for containers and hanging baskets. Million bells are also somewhat drought tolerant, so you can include them in the rock garden. If you use million bells as a ground cover, keep in mind that they seldom spread more than two feet, so plant enough to ensure adequate coverage.
- Crackling Fire: Dark neon orange flowers marbled with yellow
- Tangerine: Cheerful clear orange flowers with red veining
- Terra Cotta: Yellow flecked with red
- Trailing Sky Blue: Bright lavender-blue flowers with green throats
- Cherry Pink: Hot pink flowers with yellow throats are a hummingbird beacon