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Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Purple’ (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Purple’ (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

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Zone
Zones 2-24, 32-43
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Calibrachoa

Solanaceae
Annuals, Perennials, Flowers

Grows in Zones 8, 9, 14–31 as a perennial, and in Zones 2–7, 10–13, and 32–43 as an annual. This petunia relative is probably native to Brazil; its garden forms are the result of hybridization. Plants are smaller than petunias, with more wiry, slender stems and tiny, closely set leaves—but not all botanists believe they differ significantly enough from petunias to merit a separate genus.

There are two basic types. The trailers, low and flat growing, with leaves 1/2 in. long and 1/8 in. wide, are called Liricashower and have white, pink, or purplish blue flowers an inch wide. A more compact and mounding, less trailing series is called Colorburst; it has somewhat larger leaves and cherry, rose, red, or violet flowers. One grower offers both compact and trailing types sold as Million Bells and Superbells that come in a wide range of colors. Superbells are more heat tolerant.

Wiry stems make the plants less subject to breakage than petunias, and tobacco budworms seem uninterested in foliage and flowers. Plants are self-cleaning (spent flowers drop off cleanly). Blooms are produced all season long and plants behave as perennials where frosts are nonexistent or light. Used in hanging baskets, flower boxes, or as bedding plants (plant 1 1/2 ft. apart).

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