GardenSMART Newsletter Signup
 
Visit our Sponsors! Southern Living Dramm
Visit our Sponsors and win.
Million Bells Ring in Spring

Million Bells Ring in Spring

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Colorful calibrachoas have become the top-selling annual, eclipsing geraniums and even petunias in global sales. Perfect for hanging baskets and containers, plants produce a profusion of bell-shaped flowers that resemble mini petunias. The wide color range and easy care made them an instant favorite!

GardenSMART Article Image

This exciting plant category was created by breeders at Suntory Flowers in Japan and introduced as Million Bells in 1993. Up until this point, calibrachoa was a wild species and not developed commercially.

The fathers of Million Bells, Dr. Yasuyuki Murakami and Dr. Kenichi Suzuki, saw potential where traditional horticulturists did not. Flowers were small and poor producers of seed. But Suntory’s model has been to produce new varieties from cuttings, not seed, dramatically expanding innovation and speed of introduction.

GardenSMART Article Image

The first Million Bells candidate was spotted high on a jagged cliff with an amazing number of bright pink flowers. The two scientists were hooked and crossed thousands of plants and species to breed what would become Million Bells. There were obstacles to overcome – aggressive growth, stretching stems, late flowering, long-day flowering requirements and root rots. Their efforts paved the way for a blooming global market.

GardenSMART Article Image

Today, nearly all major bedding plant breeders have a calibrachoa line. Million Bells created the “big bang” in the vegetative annuals universe. More than 135 million calibrachoa cuttings were produced and sold in 2019, according to the National Garden Bureau. At retail and in casual gardening conversations, calibrachoas are called Million Bells, due to Suntory’s first-mover advantage and a name that resonates and rings true.

GardenSMART Article Image

Suntory’s North American market assortment for Million Bells spans six mounding types and seven trailing types. Mounding types create a nice, mounded canopy full of blooms trailing just over the rim of a basket or container. Our popular newer mounding variety is Million Bells Butter Pop – white flowers with buttery yellow centers – like a big bowl of popcorn!

Trailing types cascade lushly and offer the best weather tolerance through the summer into fall. We highly recommend the trailing types in mixed baskets and have four blends in our Suntory Mixers, including Carnivale, Spring Morning, Jazz Fusion and Memorial Day Mix.

GardenSMART Article Image

Planting and care tips:

  • Choose a pot or basket with good drainage and fill with a peat lite mix with good aeration.
  • Keep soil moist but do not allow to get soggy.
  • Optimal placement is full sun to partial shade.
  • Fertilize regularly through the summer.
  • You can trim to shape but no deadheading required. Million Bells are self-cleaning.
  • Enjoy until frost.

GardenSMART Article Image

Next time you’re at a garden center, see if you can find the true Million Bells by looking at plant tags. You can also find them listed at online retailers, including growjoy.com, a great source for Suntory Flowers.

For more about the story behind Million Bells, watch this video:

(2368) Million Bells The Story Behind HD - YouTube

For a planting and care demonstration, watch this video:

(2369) Planting and Care for Million Bells Calibrachoa - YouTube


All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

Article URL:
https://www.GardenSMART.com/?p=articles&title=Million_Bells_Ring_in_Spring


Back to Articles List                               


   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Kelsey Minalga, Ball Ingenuity
Photographs courtesy of Ball Ingenuity

The flower industry is busy bringing new and exciting fall plants to the mix. And one of the most popular accent plants for the season is celosia, also know by the common name cockscomb. To learn more click here .


  Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!  
   
   
   
 
   
Copyright © 1998-2012 GSPC. All Rights Reserved.