The first Petchoa was developed by plant breeder Danziger and was immediately trademarked Calitunia®. There are only two varieties in this Series: Calitunia® Pink and Calitunia® Purple. A second plant breeder, Sakata, introduced the SuperCal® Series which consists of eleven different varieties: Artist Rose, Blue, Blushing Pink, Cherry, Neon Rose, Pink Ice, Purple, Terra Cotta, Vanilla Blush, Velvetand Violet.
The plants have a semi-trailing compact growth habit. Compact refers to the short distance between the leaf internodes, resulting in a dense display. Average size is 8 to 12 inches high and 15 to 30 inches wide. To create a full display for a hanging basket, you should use 6 to 8 plants for a 12-inch basket and 8 to 10 plants for a 18-inch basket. This will produce a nice colour ball. The flowers are 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.
Most of the flowers have a sheen to the petals, which gives a bit of a glow and depth to the colour. Most of the varieties have very strong colours like the calibrachoas. The blooms look like petunias and the foliage looks like the calibrachoas.
The petchoa flowers are very close in size to many spreading petunias like the Wave series. Petchoa blooms are as wide but a bit shorter and look scalloped or more fused than a petunia bloom. The bloom colours are very strong, like the calibrachoas. SuperCal® Cherry is more pinkish-red than true red. The petchoa blooms do not produce seed, so the flowers tend to hang on a lot longer than many petunias.
Like the calibrachoa foliage, the petchoa foliage is not sticky. This allows the spent blooms to fall away cleanly, keeping the plant looking tidy without deadheading. The Petchoas are more tolerant to higher pH than the calibrachoas. This is a key characteristic for growing in Calgary because our tap water is highly alkaline. They are also more tolerant to cool and hot growing conditions...another great characteristic for growing in Calgary. Like the petunias, the petchoas have a strong and vigorous root system and tend to take up nutrients better than the calibrachoas. This is important for great looking foliage, big blossoms, and overall good plant health. Like the parents, these plants need a regular fertilizing schedule throughout the growing season to look their best.