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Everything About Growing Fuchsias

Updated on June 29, 2015
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Description and Species

Fuchsia is a common ornamental plant with mesmerising blooms. Actually this is the name of a genus of flowering plants, mostly shrubs and trees. It's grown all over the world in containers and gardens. There are many species and cultivars of this enchanting flower, native to South America. The fuchsia was discovered by Charles Plumier, French botanist and Minim monk, while he was on his third expedition to the Greater Antilles. He named the new plant genus after Leonhart Fuchs, famous German botanist.

The blooming fuchsia plant has around 110 recognized species and 3000 cultivars. Most of them are half-hardy and hardy perennial shrubs, trees and climbing plants. They flower from spring to late autumn and can reach different heights.

The majority of the species of fuchsia are native to Central and South America, but they can also be found on Hispaniola, in New Zealand and Tahiti. They are quite popular as garden shrubs and container plants and once you plant the, they are easy to grow and live long with minimal care. Most fuchsias can be grown in any climate. The British Fuchsia Society has its own list of “hardy” fuchsia plants that have survived the tough winters on the British Islands and manage to bloom magnificently back in spring. The Northwest Fuchsia Society in USA has a similar list with fuchsia cultivars that any home gardener can grow.

The fuchsia genus was divided by Philip A. Munz into seven sections of 100 species, but a more recent scientific publication by Paul E. Berry points out 108 species, 122 taxa and 12 sections. One of the characteristics of each section is where the specie can be found.

  • Section 1: Ellobium – Grows in Mexico and Costa Rica. Contains three species.
  • Section 2: Encliandra – grows in Mexico and Panama. Contains six species, and all of them have short stamens and fruits with few seeds.
  • Section 3: Fuchsia – Grows in Northern Argentina to Colombia, Venezuela and Hispaniola. The largest section with 64 different fuchsia species.
  • Section 4: Hemsleyella – Grows in Venezuela and Bolivia. Contains 15 species, characterised by nectary fused with the base of the flower tube, and party or completely lacking petals.
  • Section 5: Jiminezia – Grows in Panama and Costa Rica. Contains only one specie
  • Section 6: Kierschlegeria – Grows in Coastal central Chile. Contains only one specie with pendolous axillary pedicels.
  • Section 7: Pachyrrhiza – Grows in Peru. Contains only one specie.
  • Section 8: Procumbentes – Grows in New Zealand. Contains only one specie.
  • Section 9: Quelusia – Grows in Southern Argentina, Chile, Southeastern Brazil. Contains nine species.
  • Section 10: Schufia – Grows in Mexico to Panama. Contains two species.
  • Section 11: Skinnera – Grows in New Zealand and Tahiti. Contains three living and two fossil species.
  • Section 12: Verrucosa – Grows in Venezuela and Colombia. Contains only one specie.

Fuchsia fulgens
Fuchsia fulgens | Source
 Fuchsia bacillaris
Fuchsia bacillaris | Source

How to Grow Fuchisa

There aren't many plant groups that offer as much diversity and colours as the fuchsia. Not to mention be suitable for home and garden plants. These flowers are exotic, bring a vibrant pallette to your yard, and have enchanting pendant-like blooms. Don't let the magnificent blossoms fool you, it's actually easy to grow your own fuchsia. If you provide it with the right amounts of sun, water and fertile soil, it will thrive and offer you its pretty flowers. This is the right flower for your yard if you have a spot with equal exposure to sun light and shade. Once you plant it, it will grow pretty much on its own, with out the need of too much plant care. Use it to fill borders, flower beds, window boxes, hanging baskets, indoor containers – you can place it anywhere you want. few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia.

These exotic looking beauties are firm favourites for their pendant flowers in a wonderful range of colour combinations. Fuchsias may be deciduous or evergreen depending on their variety and growing conditions. They’re versatile too, growing happily in sun or semi shade. These hard working shrubs will flower virtually all summer long, filling borders, beds, window boxes, hanging baskets and patio containers - in fact, they will bring colour to almost any position that you place it. Here's what you need to know about how to grow fuchsia.

Planting

Your fuchsia should be planted in good quality soil in a combination with well drained compost. You can pot it directly in to baskets, containers, window boxes or directly in to the ground. Just make sure it's warm enough and there isn't any chance of frost bites. Once your fuchsia begins to grow, pinch the tops to stimulate branch growth. If you started your flower indoors, make sure you don't stress it when you bring it outside. Gradually acclimate the fuchsia plant to the outdoor temperatures by leaving it there for a few hours a day. After a week it should be safe to permanently leave it in your yard or on your patio.

Half-hardy fuchsia: It can survive winter in frost-free conditions. If your fuchsia is from the trailing type, it's better to plant it in a hanging basket. Remember to water it everyday. On the other hand, if you grow upright fuchsia, it's better to pick a suitable pot or container. Both types thrive when you offer them a balanced, organic liquid fertiliser in late summer.

Hardy fuchsia: When you plant this type fuchsia in your yard, bury the base of the stem 5cm below the soil surface. Make sure you protect the plant in autumn with a layer of mulch. Cut back the branches as an insurance against frost bites. Don't forget to use compost or organic fertiliser when the fuchsia “wakes up” in spring, and again in summer. This will stimulate growth and blooming.

Standard fuchsia: Like the other two types of fuchsia, this one requires fertile, well-drained soil. You shouldn't leave it outside when it gets colder. If you leave it outdoors during the winter, the stem will suffer frost damage and probably die. Encourage longer flowering periods with compost or liquid fertilisers in summer.

Fuchsias Growth

Trailing fuchsias – As already mentioned above, the trailing fuchsia thrives when it grows in a hanging basket or patio containers. It needs space to spread freely.

Upright/Bush fuchsias – The bushy fuchsia varieties are perfect for borders or growing along fences. They will be like a hedge and offer both flowers and hiding.

Climbing fuchsias – If you offer support to climbing fuchsias, they will grow faster. You can train them in different shapes and make your own garden vertical display.

Feeding and Watering fuchsias

You need to know the proper way to water fuchsias. Do it regularly and be generous. However, make sure you don't give your plants wet feet. Gardeners in Bristol advise you to water potted fuchsias frequently, considering the size of the container and the weather conditions. If it's summer, you'd probably need to water it every day. Fuchsias in hanging baskets should also be watered at least once a day during the hot season. The ones grown directly in your garden don't require the same amount of aqua. However, don't forget to water them regularly.

Remember to stimulate blooming through the summer with compost and organic fertilisers. If you have your own compost bin, your fuchsias can benefit from that. Try to use less commercial fertilisers because they contain too much chemicals and will do more harm than good. Also, you should deadhead spent blooms. This will stimulate new blooms.

Winter Fuchsia Care

The goal of every fuchsia grower is to succeed in overwintering their plants. In order to to it, you need to do is to keep them alive, without blooming. Fuchsias can produce flowers even in winter if it's warm enough and you need to provide enough sunlight. However, this can tire the plant and cause it to wither and die. Unless you live in an area with warm winter, or no winter at all, PUT YOUR FUCHSIA INTO DORMANCY!.

Dormancy will give the plant the time to rest and produce new shoots and flowers when it wakes up. You might think it's dead, but the fuchsia is sleeping. If you don't put it to sleep, the blooming plant will most likely get attacked by pests or diseases.

Begin the process of wintering your fuchsias by bringing them inside when it gets cold. Make sure you inspect it for any garden pests and get rid of them with home-made insect sprays. The next step on your “how to winter your fuchsia” should be finding a perfect spot with cool temperatures and little or no lightning. Your closet or basement should be perfect. The perfect temperature should be between 4-7 C (45-55 F). Place the fuchsia there and stop watering it for a while. Don't panic when the leaves fall of and it looks dead. Remember that it's sleeping. Water it every two or three weeks, the soil should feel moist when you touch it, not soaked. The last step should be to bring your fuchsia out of dormancy. Begin a month before the last frost date in your area by taking your plant out of the cold and dark storage. Cut back all branches by half and place it in a sunny spot in your home. When it gets warm enough, you can bring it outside.

Producing a Fuchsia Standard

British Fuchsia Show 2014

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