Su­per­bells Le­mon Slice lit­tle piece of heaven

The Republican Herald - - LIFESTYLES - by nor­man win­ter TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

The past cou­ple of years it seems one cal­i­bra­choa has been like a piece of heaven to the world of gar­den­ing and that is the Su­per­bells Le­mon Slice. This lit­tle petu­nia-like flower of iri­des­cent yel­low and white seems to make all com­pan­ion flow­ers look bet­ter and yet as a mono­cul­ture plant it can stand alone, too.

Cal­i­bra­choas have been out for years, and the col­ors and color com­bi­na­tions have been breath­tak­ing beyond be­lief which makes the sim­ple de­sign of Le­mon Slice amaz­ing when it comes to con­sumer love. It’s not just con­sumers ei­ther; we are talk­ing awards, pages of them and from Ge­or­gia to Mas­sachusetts.

Le­mon Slice stopped me in my tracks when I saw it at UGA Tri­als in Athens in 2012. The fact that it has won so many awards and still quickly sells out it’s a tes­ta­ment to both the beauty and per­se­ver­ance of this lit­tle petu­nia rel­a­tive of South Amer­ica ori­gin. It will bloom all sea­son pro­fusely.

While I have had good luck grow­ing them in raised beds rich in or­gan­ic­mat­ter I have to ad­mit that the most daz­zling per­for­mances have come from them be­ing grown in bas­kets, con­tain­ers and win­dow boxes. They are amaz­ing against a pur­ple or blue Su­per­tu­nia.

It seems like it was just yes­ter­day that we all started out with Mil­lion Bells and now each seed com­pany seems to have dozens of cal­i­bra­choas to choose from. Why so many you might ask? The an­swer is quite sim­ple, they bloom their hearts out for you, and the Su­per­bells is among the best.

While I am tout­ing Le­mon Slice and de­servedly so, Su­per­bells Grape Punch and Su­per­bells Cherry Star are equally as de­light­ful. They all will need plenty of sun to bloom to their po­ten­tial. Even more im­por­tant, is that you pro­vide good drainage. This is the place to get a pot­ting soil that is fluffy and light­weight.

If plant­ing in the soil make sure you have done the best you can on soil im­prove­ment and drainage. Wet feet spells doom for this lit­tle work­horse. Lastly, if you buy a ready-made bas­ket, make sure it drains too. This is not a prob­lem with co­conut coir lined bas­kets, but the plas­tic ver­sions some­times get clogged.

Since the Su­per­bells cal­i­bra­hoa is such a pro­lific bloomer, it is count­ing on you to keep it fed. Dur­ing the warm grow­ing sea­son, con­tain­ers are wa­tered on a reg­u­lar daily reg­i­men thereby leach­ing out the nu­tri­ents. I like to use a-di­lute wa­ter sol­u­ble 20-20-20 at least once a week. By di­lute I mean about 1 ta­ble­spoon per gal­lon of wa­ter.

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