BY NORMAN WINTER
The Garden Guy traveled for a few days to speak in Lafayette, Louisiana, LA and returned home to see my “punch” had exploded in color. I am referring to Superbells Calibrachoas Pomegranate Punch, Grape Punch and Tangerine Punch. There are seven punch selections in what has now become a whopping 42 varieties of Superbells.
They are all so rich in color that it makes you think they are almost too beautiful to be true. In addition to the punch selections I am growing, there are also Watermelon Punch, Black Currant Punch, Strawberry Punch and Blue Moon Punch. All are so lush and vibrant in color that they would be perfect for a Hawaiian beach towel.
The stunning thing to my friends and even my color guru son is that I planted them in mixed containers in October. They were never protected or moved from their location other than chasing the sun a little. The Garden Guy lives in Zone 8a and though we did not have the 50-year freeze of Texas, we had many more hours below 32 than the past two years.
In my containers, I combined some together – in other words Superbells Grape Punch with Tangerine Punch, as well as other flowers like Lady Godiva calendula, Supertunia Royal Velvet petunia, Supertunia Vista Paradise petunia and Lemon Coral Sedum. All of these also survived the Columbus, Georgia, winter in fine shape.
Though I am reaping the rewards from planting six months ago, you have a wonderful opportunity to get in the flower color game now if you live in the South and later when spring planting arrives in your area. I urge you to go to the Proven Winners website, pick out your favorite punch calibrachoa or some of the other 35 varieties and then read the growing tips. It will put you on your way to the green thumb.
Proven Winners introduced calibrachoas to the garden world almost 25 years ago and as time has passed, we truly see the Superbells calibrachoa as one of the best buys on the planet for your gardening dollar. They really will bloom until frost with just a little work on your part.
They will get about 12 inches tall with a 24-inch spread and are packed with an extra-long season of enormous blooming potential. While I have had good luck growing them in raised beds rich in organic matter, their best performance will always be in containers.
It may be my imagination, but it seems the Superbells Grape Punch has flowers larger than the other punch varieties and may be larger than most calibrachoas. The deep saturated purple color is simply dazzling with colors like Tangerine, Pomegranate and this year’s new Superbells Coral Sun.
Be creative designing your mixed containers whether they be baskets, window boxes, bowls, urns or extravagant clay pots like olive jars. This is the time to use the best potting soil, nothing heavy with clay soil from the garden.
Since the Superbells Punch calibrachoas are such prolific bloomers, they are counting on us as gardeners to keep them fed. During the warm growing season most of us water on a daily regimen, which will leach out the nutrients. You can use controlled release granules per your formula recommendation but don’t be afraid to use a water-soluble fertilizer at least once a week like many commercial landscapers.
Get to know your plants and at just the right time, in late late July or early August, they may just tell you to give them a little trim. This cutting back will pay huge dividends going into fall for an extended season of blooms. The old commercial says there are seven fruit flavors in Hawaiian Punch, and in 2021 there are seven punch varieties in the list of Superbells Calibrachoas and I promise you will love them.
Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.