Freddie’s Flowering Favourites – Petunias & Calibrachoas

Hanging basket tips:

It’s time to plant lots of glorious colour and there is no better than petunias and calibrachoas for colour choice and impressive flamboyance.

A mass of flowering petunias or calibrachoas is something that we all want in our gardens and a good way to achieve that is by planting them in hanging baskets. Here are some tips to get started:

• Choose the right sized basket for the type of plant. A basket of between 30 and 40cm is usually big enough for most plants. Larger baskets may be too heavy to hang and smaller baskets will not carry enough soil to allow some plants to grow well.

• Choose the right plants. Cascading plants like calibrachoas always look good in hanging baskets. Also, a mix of plants has a lot of interest.

• Prepare the soil. Use a liner of coconut coir or sphagnum moss which also helps retain moisture. Use a good potting mix and add a slow-release fertiliser to give your plants a good boost.

• Hang baskets at a height that is easy to get to for watering and feeding and is at eye level to enjoy. Most plants will need plenty of sunlight and be protected from high winds.

• Water regularly. Depending on the weather, that may mean every day. Hanging baskets dry out very quickly. Feed every 2 weeks with a liquid plant food.

Best time to plant:

Avoid the hot and humid summer conditions for petunias and calibrachoas and plant in autumn, winter or early spring.

Look out for:

New colours and varieties are launched every year. When shopping at your local nursery, look out for the following calibrachoa varieties:

‘Cabaret’ – striking colours, some with yellow starburst centres. A uniform habit with flowers that stay open in low light. Perfect for hanging baskets and containers.

‘Cha-Cha’ – more vigorous than other varieties with larger early blooms and interesting colour combinations, especially in the ‘Diva’.

‘Conga’ – an early flowering compact variety in bold and bicolor shades.

New on the block:

Petchoas are a cross between a petunia and a calibrachoa. They were bred to have the best features of each of the parents with good weather-resistance and amazing colour. They have large showy blooms of a petunia and the compact cascading effect of a calibrachoa. Look out for Petchoa ‘Beautical’ in the nursery.

Find a garden centre near you:


The Gardener