The Fuchsia is a favorite flowering plant for gardens, greenhouses and window displays. These tender shrubs are native of Central and South America, and New Zealand. They belong to the Evening Primrose family, Oenotheraceae. Fuchsia is named in honor of Leonard Fuchs, a German professor. It is often misspelled as Fushia, but the correct spelling, "Fuchsia" is after its name sake.
There are around 110 species of Fuchsia, but only a few of them are grown in gardens. They have become very popular in recent years. They are best grown in hanging baskets for their gorgeous bi-colored blooms. The warm shades of fuchsia, (red, lavender, and pink) combinations make a dramatic and appealing plant that is highly sought after.
Fuchsias are favorite plants for cultivation in the greenhouse, in house windows, window boxes, for hanging baskets, and for planting in summer flower beds. They are favorite garden plants in California.
Where fuchsias are hardy enough to be grown outdoors, they are truly magnificent. They grow into tall shrubs and may be planted to form hedges.
In less favored, but still relatively mild parts of North America, Fuchsias may be killed to the ground during winter, but may have new shoots push up from the base of the shrubs in spring. In such places Fuchsias ought to be planted in a warm and sheltered position in well-drained soil. The bases of the plants should be protected before cold weather sets in. Fuchsias thrive in ordinary garden ground that is well drained. Before planting has begun, you should add some compost or decayed composition to the soil.
How to Prune Fuchsias
If fuchsias are grown against a wall, they should be pruned in the spring to such an extent as necessary to keep them with bounds. Any long thin branches should be shortened and old weak ones may be cut out. Long side shoots on the main branches must be shortened to within a few buds of the base of the past summer’s growth. The purpose is to train it into as many main branches as are required to cover the wall space, to cut out weak branches and others that there is no room for. Pruning should be done in late winter or in early spring.
Fuchsias grown in the open garden are pruned at the same time. If all the old branches have been killed by frost they must be cut off near the ground. If only parts of the branches have been killed, they should be cut back to the undamaged portions.
If you are wanting your fuchsia to form a bush, and your climate will allow them to stay alive through the winter, little pruning should necessary or needed beyond just thinning out overcrowded branches or cutting ends off of long thin branches. The flowering season of hardy fuchsias is in the summer or early fall.
A relatively hard kind known as Fuchsia magellanica (macrostemma), will form a large bush in mild climates that will
reach from 6 to 12’ in height. It bears small flowers with red calyx and purple corolla. Of this kind there are several varieties: ‘conica’, 3-6’, dwarfed and compact; ‘globosa’, has a roundish flower; ‘gracilis’, is a small leaved variety; ‘pumila’, is neat and dwarfed.
F. Ricartonii, which is a hardier variety than F. Magellanica, makes a beautiful hedge or large bush in mild climates and bears red and crimson flowers.
F. Magellanica Riccartonii survives outdoors in sheltered places and blooms freely in the vicinity of New York City.
On a sunny, sheltered slope of t he rock garden, fuchsia procumbens, a trailing New Zealand plant, may be grown in regions where winters are fairly mild. It has small yellow, violet and green flowers followed by large plum red fruits, which add to its attraction. It is also excellent for growing in pots and hanging baskets in cool greenhouses or sunrooms.
Snowcap- an excellent plant with red and white flowers and that is hardy in many areas.
Tennessee waltz- is used for containers and standard, a red and lavender combination that is fairly hardy.
Thalia- for bedding purposes, orange and tolerate of sun, but no frost. Good all around choice.
Winston Churchill is a container or standard, with red and lavender blooms, a favorite.
Heidi Ann for containers is cerise and lilac. Great for small pot plants as it is compact.
Marinka is great for baskets and has red blooms.
Pink galore also great for baskets and hosts pink freely blooming flowers.
More Tender Fuchsias
Hybrid varieties of fuchsias are now chiefly grown in greenhouses and outdoors in mild climates, but several of the original wild kinds are worth cultivating.
F. fulgens from Mexico, orange -red
F. splendens, scarlet flowers tipped with green
F. simplicicaulis, a tall shrub, native of Peru, with long tender shoots that bear rose-scarlet flowers
F. corymbiflora, with clusters of scarlet flowers
F. triphylla, which has reddish flowers