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Why Is My Calibrachoa Dying? How to Save Your Million Bells?

Being a lover of flowering plant species, you must be familiar with the stunning genus named Calibrachoa. It is one of the most frantically grown herbaceous plant species worldwide.

But here’s a situation: You planted some Calibrachoa species in your garden, and they are not thriving at their peak level. You might be asking yourself, “What’s the matter with them?” But suddenly, they start to die out, the flowers vanish from their existence, and the leaves turn yellow or brown.

Now, you might be wondering, “Why is my Calibrachoa Dying?” … Let me help you with that.

The main reason for a dying Calibrachoa is improper care. Common sense, right? But it’s actually not that simple. Many beginners don’t observe minor details while doing research on plant care. Neglecting such points can cause the plant to suffer.

Today my friends, we will look at some of the “Pain Points” that might be the reason why your Calibrachoa is dying. But before getting straight into our topic, let’s take a brief look at this magnificent genus.

Why Is My Calibrachoa Dying 2
Why Is My Calibrachoa Dying via Reddit

The Genus Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa is an herbaceous plant genus with many wildly blooming species. The plants related to the genus are also known as ‘Million Bells’ and are closely related to the genus Petunia. Both come from the family Solanaceae.

Solanaceae is a flowering plant family, housing a diverse range of annual and perennial plants from herbs and vines to woody trees and epiphytic ornamental plants.

It is native to Central and South America. There are 28 accepted species of these plants that display flowers having polychromatic shades. They make an excellent choice for outdoor garden containers or indoor hanging baskets. The indoor setting is only possible because of its shade tolerance.

Pain Point: Shade tolerance doesn’t imply these plants can live in entirely shaded areas. It means that although Calibrachoa species flourish in full sun, they can also sustain themselves in partial shades with indirect sunlight.

Why Is My Calibrachoa Dying

Before getting knowledge about the fixes, you need to figure what’s the main problem with your plant. If you know the problem, you can easily fix that by taking care of the particular issue. For that, I am listing some of the most common reasons for a dying Calibrachoa.

Root Rot

For most plants suffering from any type of stress, root rot is the most common issue. In Calibrachoa, prolonged root rot is one of the leading causes of plant death.

The main reason for plant roots to rot is overwatering. Also, to your surprise, underwatering can sometimes cause root rot as well. I’ll elaborate on it as we dive into the article.


Symptoms of root rot at the start are not visible because the roots are under the cover. But as the rot proceeds, the plant becomes nutrient deficient.

The blooms in your Calibrachoa will start to die off, and the leaves turn brown or yellow. Leaves also begin to wilt, giving the whole plant a droopy and sad look.

Regarding these issues, if you take your plant out of the pot, here is a way of diagnosing root rot. The roots that are infected turn really black and thin. Some severely damaged rootlets break off with a slight touch.

It can also spread to other plants via spores or insects like fungus gnats that thrive in more moisture.

Causes of Root Rot


Overwatering is the leading cause of root rot. Waterlogging is caused when water does not find any place to drain out. This may happen to your Calibrachoa if your potting mix is not well-draining and arid, or the soil gets bulked up at the bottom of the pot.

Therefore, you should use a good potting mix (given below). Also, make sure that the pot in which you are placing your plant has a good amount of drainage holes.

The roots drenched in a pool of water are more prone to fungal diseases due to oxygen deficiency. The rot spreads drastically, infecting other healthy rootlets as well. It is a common disease in both indoor and outdoor plants.

Why Is My Calibrachoa Dying 3
Why Is My Calibrachoa Dying via Reddit


Most people don’t know that underwatering for extended periods can also lead to root rot.

Let me break this up for you. This usually happens in those houseplants about which you read, “These are pretty drought-tolerant plants.” Now, here comes another pain point.

Pain Point: If you read about a plant that it’s “drought-tolerant,” it doesn’t mean that the plant can live without water. All plants need water to survive, but the amount of water required for water-resilient plants would be lesser than the amount we give to water-loving plants.

What actually happens is that when you keep your Calibrachoa deprived of water for extended periods, the roots shrink and turn thin and fragile. And next time, when you water the plant, these wilted roots would not be able to soak up all the water leaving themselves to sink in the pool.

The best way to do proper watering is to make a good watering schedule. Let the top 2-3 inches of the soil completely dry out before giving it another shot of hydration.

Poor Drainage

Your plant’s health depends upon the potting mix. The roots are entrenched in the soil and absorb essential nutrients from it. The plant life hinges on the blend used to root in the plant.

If your Calibrachoa is potted in a mixture that’s not well-draining and breathy, then it is vulnerable to waterlogging and root rot. A bulky blend without drainage enhancers such as Perlite or Lecca can create an unhealthy environment for the plant. This can also lead to root rot and you keep asking yourself, why is my Calibrachoa dying?

If your plant is severely affected by root rot, then it is very hard to save it, the only way to save your plant is via propagation.

You can check out this tutorial on YouTube to get a 101 guide on root rot.

Pain Point: What’s a well-draining potting mix. Most of the time, when we are making a soil mix that’s well-aerated and have good drainage, we neglect the nutrition that’s also very important for the plant.

A Perfect Potting Mix for Calibrachoa

I am going to make a perfect soil mix for Calibrachoa species. Please follow the steps mentioned below.

  • We are going to make the whole mix in three equal portions.
  • For the first part, we are using a premium potting mixture. It is always better to use an organic mix. If you already have a simple one, you can add some plant debris or rotten leaves in it to make it filled with nutrients.
  • For the second part, we are using peat moss.
  • And lastly, we are using perlite to increase the drainage. You can also add in some orchid or pine bark mixture.

With that, you have a nice, well-draining potting mix.

Some other reasons for a dying Calibrachoa species include

Cold Temperature

If we talk about warm temperatures, Calibrachoa species are regarded as perennials. But in cold temperatures, these species are annual in nature. As it comes from South and Central America, it loves to be in constant warm conditions.

It is always best to keep your plant around normal room temperature. However, there’s no need to worry if your plant is not thriving during winters. Your Calibrachoas can get back to normal in the summer season.

Inadequate Lights

If your Calibrachoa isn’t blooming, you are not providing the plant with sufficient lights. Make sure you place your plant in proper lighting. Find a spot where it can get bright and filtered sunlight.

Keep direct rays of the sun away from the plant as it can burn up the foliage.

Excess Fertilizer

Excess fertilizer will cause more harm than damage. Calibrachoa species love a slight fertilizer boost but using them in extra amounts will cause weak and dull foliage. Leaves can turn brown and limp.

Pain Point: Always use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer in dilute form. Most plants only need fertilizer during growing seasons. You can also use a phosphorus-based fertilizer (10:20:10) before the flowering season to boost up the flowering.

Always remember to use these fertilizers diluted to half strength in liquid form to prevent leaf burn and toxicity.


With all that said, you need to diagnose the problem with your own Calibrachoa plants.

It becomes easier to fix the plant if you know what is the main problem. Calibrachoa is one of the most beautiful flowering plant species out there. These plants only give out a rich vibe when they are thriving and flourishing at their peak potential.

So, it should be necessary for us to take proper care of them.

Pro tip: Occasional pruning will help your Calibrachoa to grow more filled and bushier, giving it a full and globular look.

On that note, let me finish today’s article right here. I hope you enjoyed the talk. Please share this info with your friends and family.

Regards, Mahad H.