The Q&A Archives: Calibrachoa

Question: What would be the best way to get this plant through the winter. I live in the Willamette Valley in Sweet Home Oregon.

Answer: Million Bells, or Calibrachoa, is considered an annual in cold winter areas so most people simply collect the seeds or take tip cuttings to grow indoors over the winter months. In reality, Calibrachoa is a tender short-lived perennial so it can be wintered over, but it can be difficult to transition a sun loving flowering plant from outside to inside. The reasons are many, but all have to do with environmental conditions. Natural sunlight can be extremely limited inside, as is humidity, etc. Finding the correct balance of water when all of the other inputs have gone right down the tube is VERY challenging! I think that's the reason most of us treat these plants as annuals! If you want to take cuttings to grow indoors, do it now. 4-5" tip cuttings should be dipped in rooting hormone and placed in moist seed starting mix. If you have the opportunity to set up some artificial fluorescent lighting, that might help ensure success. Or, you can try taking the entire plant indoors (give it a shower first so you don't bring in spider mites). Whether you're taking cuttings or trying to keep the entire plant indoors, give them as much light as possible, and limit the water.

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