The genus Fuchsia contains approximately 100 species, made up from a variety of shrubs, small trees and climbers. The vast majority are native to central and south America with a few species occurring in Tahiti and New Zealand.
The precise dates are not known but it is believed that the French Minim monk and botanist, Charles Plumier recorded Fuchsia triphylla during his third expedition to the caribbean between 1696–1697. Plumier named the new genus after the renowned German physician and botanist Leonhart Fuchs.
Despite their subtropical and tropical origins many of the popular species and hybrids have proven themselves to be hardy enough to remain outside in northern European gardens with little or no winter protection.
Of course the less hardy forms will be cut down to the ground by frosts, but in the milder regions of the continent these less hardy specimens will almost always produce new growth from the roots by the summer. If in doubt either lift, pot on and overwinter in a frost free environment or provide the protection of a dry mulch.
|Fuchsia 'Delta's Sarah'|
In milder regions such as the south-west coast of England and Ireland, hardy fuchsia will form handsome shrubs but in colder regions they will behave as herbaceous plants with the top growth dying back over the winter only to regrow back in the late spring and summer. Specimens which are cut back over the winter should be pruned to ground level at the beginning of November. The roots should then be covered with a deep layer of dry mulch such as coal ashes, bracken or fibrous peat.
Pot the rooted cuttings into 3 inch pots of John Innes 'Seed and Cutting' compost. Then once established, pot on into 5-6 inch pots where they will come into flower. Pinch out both the leading shoots and any lateral shoots several times to encourage bushier plants. Feed at intervals for three weeks.
Pot plants raised for summer bedding will need to be hardened off for a couple of weeks before planting outside from mid June onwards. Keep them moist otherwise the flower buds are at risk or dropping off. After flowering gradually withhold water, and after leaf-fall give no more water until growth restarts in the spring. In October lift and move to a frost free greenhouse.
Re-pot established plants annually in March and provide a weekly liquid fertilizer once a week from June to September.
Pyramid and standard fuchsias
Standard fuchsias are formed by letting the main growing trunk grow unimpeded, removing all lateral growth until a trunk of your desired height is obtained. A stouter main tems can be achieved by leaving a number of shortened laterals on the stem until it is established. the leading shoot is then topped out at the required height. For a weeping standard attach the lateral branches to a wire framework.
For related articles click onto the following links:
ARE FUCHSIA BERRIES EDIBLE?
HOW TO GROW FUCHSIA 'AUTUMNALE'
HOW TO GROW FUCHSIA 'GENII'
HOW TO GROW FUCHSIAS
HOW TO GROW FUCHSIA MAGELLANICA 'Riccartonii'
HOW TO GROW FUCHSIA 'TOM WEST'
HOW TO PRUNE FUCHSIAS
HOW TO TAKE CUTTINGS FROM FUCHSIA