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Superbells Double Orchid
Superbells Double Ruby

A Million Reasons to Love Million Bells

Calibrachoa, also known as Million Bells or Superbells, look like tiny petunias, but there’s nothing petite about their show-stopping color from spring until fall. Known for their superb color, heat tolerance, disease resistance, and oodles of blooms, it’s no surprise why this series is a star performer. With growth habits that range from the small and compact to the cascading, these plants make for colorful, trailing accents in containers or hanging baskets, along walkways, and on garden walls. Calibrachoa requires about six hours of sun each day in order to set more buds and produce flowers all season long. It can survive in a slightly shadier site if you don’t have sun, but for “millions” of flowers, the right amount of sun is needed. Check out these two, new varieties that will brighten your landscape or containers:

Superbells Double Orchid – this double bloom calibrachoa features light pink blooms accented with deeper pink veining. Perfect as a trailer in hanging baskets, window boxes and combination pots. Double Orchid stands 6-12 inches tall with a spread of up to 18 inches. Plant in full-sun to part-shade locations and well-drained soil.

Superbells Double Ruby – boasts red, double petunia-like flowers all season long. This low maintenance, profuse bloomer is ideal as a spiller in hanging baskets and containers. Like Double Orchid, Double Ruby grows 6-12 inches tall with a spread of up to 18 inches. Plant in full-sun to part-shade locations and in well-drained soil.

Aloe Vera: The Easy to Grow Plant That Can Soothe Your Skin

Aloe Vera has been used for centuries to heal wounds and soothe minor skin irritations such as burns, minor cuts, and bug bites. Aloe is a good plant to have around if you ever forget your sunscreen. Cut a leaf from your plant and put it in the fridge for a few minutes. When you scrape the gel from inside the leaf and apply it to your skin, it is a cool, refreshing way to soothe a sunburn. Aloe vera is not only useful but easy to grow. Here are some tips for growing Aloe Vera at home:

Light - aloe vera grows best in very bright light but will tolerate less light. If the light is too low, they will not grow much.

Water - aloe is able to survive weeks without being watered. Too little water is always better than too much water, because it will rot quickly in wet conditions. Limp, lower leaves are usually the first indication that your aloe is getting too much water. Water your aloe in the morning every two weeks or when the soil mixture has dried completely. Remember to water less during the winter months. If you choose to grow your aloe outside in the summer, you may need to increase your watering.

Potting - choose a pot with drainage holes. Clay pots are an ideal choice, because they are porous and allow the soil to dry thoroughly between watering. It is best to use a cactus mix that is coarse and drains well.

Aloe plants do not mind being a little snug in their pots, so there is no need to repot frequently. Being a top-heavy plant, they may begin to tip over if the pot is too small. This is a good time to repot.

Aloe vera can be grown indoors year-round or placed outside for the summer. They can be grown in shaded areas or slowly acclimated to a sunny porch. In our area, you can put your aloe outside the first week of May and leave it out through October. Aloe plants do not like cold, but will tolerate it for short periods. It is best to bring your aloe in before temperatures drop into the 40s.

Another bonus to aloe plants is their ability to multiply. Often times, you can harvest many baby plants from the base of your aloe. Aloe is a great plant to share with family and friends!

Hot Color to Light Up the Landscape, Heuchera Fire Alarm

Set your landscape ablaze with this spectacular flaming-red heuchera variety, Fire Alarm. A real show stopper in any season, this heuchera features big, glossy foliage that is bright red in spring, taking on brown tones for summer and then turns back to bright red come fall. White spikes of pink, bell-shaped flowers rise above the foliage in summer. Heuchera Fire Alarm offers bold texture and color contrast in mixed containers, mass plantings, borders and groundcovers and is evergreen in mild winter climates. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination.

Fire Alarm will grow to approximately 10-inches tall at maturity with a spread of 16-inches. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade and is loved by butterflies, pollinators, hummingbirds and is deer resistant. Heuchera Fire Alarm is a delightful selection to complement just about any color scheme.