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On Gardening: Superbells Lemon Slice a little piece of heaven [Tribune News Service :: BC-HOME-ONGARDENING:MCT]

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 organic-matter 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.

Spring is here, and the Superbells calibrachoas represent some of the buys for your gardening dollar. You'll know Lemon Slice when you see it, better grab it because tomorrow it will be gone and your neighbor will have it.

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(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.)

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(c)2018 Norman Winter

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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