Lifestyle

Create a colourful Cali corner

Calibrachoa, or Cali’s as they are more often referred to, are a joy all year round, and especially in winter when we are starved for colour. Here’s how to create a colourful corner.

Cali’s are real showstoppers. They produce masses of tiny single or double petunia-like flowers, don’t like to be over watered or fussed over and are vigorous growers that quickly fill a space, whether in the garden, a container or hanging basket.

Most varieties have self-cleaning blooms that make them even easier to care for. Trim your plant every now and then to keep it compact.

Cali’s like …

  • Plenty of sun if grown as garden plants. Those in pots or hanging baskets do best with morning sun and afternoon shade.
  • Soil that drains well and watering when the surface of the soil starts to feel dry.
  • For healthy leaves and more flowers, feed with a liquid fertiliser like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger once a month, or twice a month at half strength.

Get the look

This planting (picture above) is ideal for a sunny corner. It is like a three tiered wedding cake with a delicious confectionary of pink and white flowers.

The top layer is a container of snow white ‘Easy Wave’ petunias (or use Cali Cabaret White) that will grow up and then cascade over the edge of the container.

The second tier is a raised bed edged with rustic logs to retain the soil and is filled with cali’s. These include the pink single blooms of ‘Cabaret’, Conga and ‘Cha-Cha’ and the double blooms of MiniFamous (centre), bordered by soft mounds of gypsophila ‘Gypsy’ pink.

The third tier is ground level and is a white border of Calibrachoa ‘Conga’ white, Euphorbia ‘Glitz’, and Verbena ‘Firehouse’ white.

For a simpler version make a garden bed with a container of white Easy Wave petunias in the centre as a focal point. Around it, plant Cali’s in various shades of pink and with single and double flowers. Mix them with the delicate gypsophila ‘Gypsy’ for texture. Complete the bed with a border of white Verbena ‘Firehouse’ or Euphorbia ‘Glitz’.

Take your pick

Calibrachoa Cabaret ‘Light Pink Kiss’.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to calibrachoa varieties. Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret’ is a standard for cali’s with the widest colour range. It is compact and mounded, flowers well even in low light conditions and flowers stay open for longer. Look out for  ‘Light Pink Kiss‘, ‘Strawberry parfait’ and ‘Hot Rose’ as well as the very popular ‘Midnight Kiss’ with a dark starred centre and purple outer petals.

‘Conga’ is naturally compact and keeps it rounded, ‘cup-cake’ shape. It has a range of vivid bi-colour blooms, that include ‘Pink Kiss’, ‘ Rose Kiss’  and ‘Diva Pink’.

Calibrachoa Cha-Cha Diva ‘Hot Pink’.

For novelty appeal there is Cha-Cha, with large two tone blooms like Diva ‘Hot Pink (pictured) Apricot and ‘Red Kiss’. Plants are more vigorous than Cabaret and great for garden beds and large containers.

Calibrachoa MiniFamous ‘Pinktastic’ with Gypsophila ‘Gypsy Pink’.

The semi-trailing Cali ‘MiniFamous’ (25 -38cm high and wide) has become a popular plant for containers, hanging baskets and raised beds. The gorgeous double blooms are a real novelty and the variety used in the planting (above) is double ‘Pinktastic’. There’s also double ‘Pinkmania’, ‘Orangetastic’ and a pure white.

Gypsophila ‘Gypsy’ pink is a perfect companion plant, being suitable for bedding or mixed containers. Plants grow 20cm high and 30 cm wide, and like cali’s, grow best in full sun, in soil that drains well. Their flowers are white, pink or deep rose.

Add white for sparkle

Verbena ‘Firehouse’ white.

Verbena ‘Firehouse’ White is another long flowering bedding and container plant that likes the same growing conditions as cali’s: sun, well-drained soil and not too much water.  It is a consistent bloomer that doesn’t cycle in and out of flower. Plants grow 25cm high but with a 56cm spread, ideal for borders, as a groundcover and for trailing over the edge of containers.

 

For more information visit Ball Straathof’s website.

 

Article and images supplied by Alice Coetzee

 

For more on gardening, visit Get It Magazine.

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