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On Gardening: Superbells Blackcurrant Punch brings rare color for baskets and mixed containers

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Gardening News

The Garden Guy has become completely mesmerized by a bowl of blackcurrants.

You can guess I am having a little fun with you. I am not talking about the fruit but the flowers referred to as Superbells Blackcurrant Punch.

This year most everything came through the winter, including a few plants where I am even asking, "Where did you come from?" The spring has been long, gloriously beautiful and still in progress, and all of the Superbells calibrachoas are taking your breath away with their beauty.

I have written about the "Punch Group" but never about a single color. I love every one of them but this year I just have to dedicate a column to Superbells Blackcurrant Punch. Yes, I do have a couple of yellow bowls where they are showing out, but in reality, they are mixed in a lot of my containers.

Superbells Blackcurrant Punch has won a baker’s dozen of awards: Top Performers and Perfect Scores, north to south and east to west. Like the others they reach about 12 inches tall with up to a 2-foot spread. They obviously have some cold tolerance as mine have come through the winter. The caveat is they did spend five consecutive nights in the garage. Their beauty in March and April has defied logic.

The color, which is so rare in the garden, makes it a must have plant. I found a Proven Winners description from several years ago that nails it: Superbells Blackcurrant Punch has bright fuchsia-colored petals with velvety black centers and a subtle yellow in the throat. It will be hard to pass by if you are lucky enough to find them at the garden center.

Your success will come from growing them in containers with a very good potting soil. Give them plenty of sun. There is a lot of garden gossip that says you can’t grow them with Supertunias, Superbenas or a plethora of other plants because of different water requirements.

In the South we water containers and baskets every day unless we get rain. These containers drain freely so life is the same for all the plants. Since we water so frequently, we need to feed on a regular basis. The Garden Guy mixes up the blue water-soluble mix and feeds the container grown plants about every three weeks. At some point, the Superbells Blackcurrant Punch will look tired and in need of a trim. This haircut will generate new growth and blooms for the fall.

 

Your choice of partners is only limited by your imagination. I love them with Lemon Coral sedum, Superbena Cobalt verbena, Blush Princess sweet alyssum and mixed with other calibrachoas like Superbells Grape Punch and Magic Pink Lemonade. They are heavenly with Primo Wild Rose heuchera and Superbena Whiteout verbena.

All of the Superbells attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. The butterflies I have photographed so far have all been Eastern Tiger Swallowtails. You have to admit that’s not bad for flowers that are so pretty.

Planting season is here, so keep a spot open in your mixed-container recipes for Superbells Black Currant Punch or some of the other Superbells calibrachoas that now total 41.

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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.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)


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