Regardless of where you plant it, growing the flower does not need to be a hard task. To learn more about its growth requirements and successful planting, keep on reading the rest of this guide. We will also share with you some of the most popular varieties to make it easier to decide which one should you grow.
Background and History
Historical accounts point out to Charles Plumier, a French botanist and missionary, as the discoverer of fuchsia. He was also the one behind the discovery of begonia and magnolia, among other plants. In 1695, he set off on an expedition in search of a tree upon the order of King Louis XIV. It was on this trip when he found himself in Dominican Republic and saw fuchsia triphylla, which is still grown up to these days.
From his trip, Plumier took seeds of fuchsia and brought it with him all the way to England. Since then, many hybrids have been introduced, resulting in variations in physical appearance. It became even more popular in the 1950s upon the establishment of the Northwest Fuchsia Society in Washington.
Similar to many other flowers, fuchsia is also a symbolic bloom. Before giving it to anyone, make sure that you are aware of what the flower means so that you can send a clear message to the recipient. In most cases, it is a flower that symbolizes confiding love. If you plan to express your love to someone, this is a good flower to send.
Physical Characteristics of Fuchsia
A prolific bloomer from summer to fall, fuchsia is a show-stopping plant. You can hang them on baskets, plant it in an upright position, use as a ground cover, or grow in containers, among others. Regardless of how you choose to grow the plant, one thing is for sure – it will produce beautiful flowers, which you can also use to naturally attract birds and butterflies to the garden. Most of the fuchsias grow as a shrub with an average height of one to eight feet. The width, on the other hand, is approximately one to five feet. Fuchsia has leaves with a length of about one to 25 centimeters.
The physical appearance of the flower of fuchsia will vary depending on its variety. Some of their most common colors are red, pink, white, orange, or blue. They are appealing and decorative, which is because of their tear-drop shape. Each flower has four slender sepals and four short but broad petals.
The fruit, meanwhile, is small and has an approximate size of only 5 to 22 millimeters. They contain several small seeds and the colors can be red, green, or purple. All of the species produce an edible fruit, although the most flavorful is the one from Fuchsia splendens.
Varieties of Fuchsia
Deciding on what fuchsia to plant can be an overwhelming task because of the long list of varieties that are available. If you do not know which one to choose, below are some of the options that you might want to consider:
- Blush of Dawn
- Black Prince
- Pink Elephant
- Dark Eyes
- Indian Maid
- Giants Voodoo
- Harry Gray
- Icing Sugar
- Miss California
- Shadow Dancer Ginger
If you want to plant a trailing fuchsia in the garden, this is a good option. The length of the trail can reach a length of 18 inches and a width of 24 inches. It will produce pink and lavender double flowers.
For those who have space limitations, this is a perfect variety since the average height is only two feet. This upright fuchsia will produce red and dark violet flowers, which will bloom throughout summer.
With double flowers that look like roses, this is another variety that is popular for its attractiveness. They have showy blooms that are light pink in color. This is a good choice if you want to plant fuchsia in hanging baskets.
It grows double flowers that are in shades of purple and pink. It is a trailing fuchsia, which can crawl at a length of up to 2 feet and width of 30 inches. The variety is also known for its ability to tolerate heat.
With purple and red double flowers, this is one variety that is known for having showy blooms with bold color. A trailing variety, the maximum length that it can reach is one and a half foot.
For fuchsias with gigantic flowers, this is one variety that should be on the top your list. It has double blooms with a combination of purple and red color in its petals. The height can reach up to 12 inches and the spread is 18 inches.
This variety produces double bloom flowers that are mostly white, but with a soft pink blush on the outer part. Its foliage, meanwhile, is dark green. The height and spread can be as much as two feet.
If you want something that is different, you will be happy with this variety. It is a bush with a maximum height of 12 inches, making it a good choice for container or indoor gardening.
This is an upright fuchsia with an average height and width of 18 inches. With its compact size, this also makes a great flower to grow in containers and indoors. The blooms, meanwhile, are pink.
Its flowers are smaller compared to most of the fuchsia varieties, but they are equally attractive. The pink and white flowers will dangle beautifully in small baskets. On average, the height and spread will be up to 12 inches only.
If you live in a place where it is always hot, this fuchsia will be a good option since it is extremely heat-tolerant. It is a vigorous grower with an average height of two feet and spread of three feet. It has double flowers that are white and red.
Uses and Applications
Fuchsia is not a flower with popular uses in the field of traditional and natural medicine. Nonetheless, it can be useful in more ways than one, such as through the following:
- Decorative Plant: If you want to add life and color to the garden, you have one good reason to plant fuchsia. It will make a good ground cover. To add, it will also look beautiful when they hang from baskets. As upright shrubs, they are equally attractive.
- Salads: While fuchsias are edible, most people limit their use to a salad garnish. This is the perfect way to add a hint of bright color in your salad. However, keep in mind that you have to use it sparingly as it can be too acidic.
- Attracting Hummingbirds: While there are many natural predators that you can have in the garden, hummingbirds are amongst the best. To easily attract these birds, plant fuchsia. It has a strong scent that will draw hummingbirds in the yard and will be helpful in insect control, as well as in pollination.
How to Plant Fuchsias
To start with, select the variety of the fuchsia that you will plant. Go back to our discussions earlier and look at the options that you have. In most cases, however, you will be able to plant them in pots and containers. There are varieties that are compact, while in the case of others, you can start them out in containers and transplant later on as they reach maturity.
Look for a large pot and fill it with your choice of soil. Ideally, the pot should have a diameter of 12 to 14 inches. Fill half of the pot with sterile potting mix. See to it that it is well-draining and rich in nutrients. It is also important to make sure that there is a drainage hole, making sure that the water will not remain stuck in the soil. Plant the seedling and cover it with soil. There are also soil amendments that you can use to enhance the nutrients that are present.
Now that your fuchsia is in the pot, consider the right location to optimize its growth. In the morning, it will be good for the plant if it will receive sunlight. In the afternoon, on the other hand, it needs shade. It is good to choose a lightweight pot so that it will be easy for you to transfer it from one location to another.
Once the plant outgrows the size of the container, you can transplant it into the garden. Dig the hole, but do this gently, making sure that you will not damage the roots. Re-plant the fuchsia and see to it that the position will be favorable for its continuous growth.
Common Pests and Diseases
Most of the problems in fuchsia can arise from having an environment that is unfavorable for their growth. They can suffer from a variety of diseases, such as rust, root rot, and Botrytis blight. Aside from fungal diseases, there are also viruses that can attack the plant in different stages of its growth. These viruses can cause discoloration, defoliation, and loss of vigor. Meanwhile, in the case of pest infestation, some of the most common culprits include aphids, slugs, whiteflies, spider mites, and vine weevil, among others.
How to Take Care of Fuchsias
Here are some of the most important things that you can do to ensure the growth and health of fuchsia:
- Because they have a huge appetite, fuchsias need regular feeding and one of the ways to do this is through watering, especially during the initial stages of growth. When watering, see to it that the soil will be moist and not soggy. Water only when the soil already feels dry.
- Similar to watering, you can also feed fuchsia through fertilizing. Ideally, you need to fertilize twice in a month. In the late summer, stop the use of fertilizers. Otherwise, this will delay the flowering and will encourage too much growth of leaves.
- If you have fuchsia in pots and outdoors, bring them indoors during the winter or frost season. This will provide the protection that they need from extreme cold. Bring them back outdoors when the weather is already fine.
- See to it that the plant remains in an environment with the right temperature, which may vary depending on the specific cultivar of the plant. In most cases, it will survive at a temperature that is anywhere from 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. There are some fuchsias that are heat-tolerant, and hence, will survive even in hotter environments. Aside from a humid environment, you also have to keep the plant moist.
- It is important that you also pay attention to the training of fuchsia based on the shape that you want. You can use stakes and support to direct the plant on where you want it to grow. Another way to train the plant is through regular trimming. The latter will keep the bush compact and in its best shape.
You can plant fuchsia from seeds. In this case, you need to harvest the seeds from the berries before they become ripe. To do this, pluck the berry from the tree, making sure that it is still fresh. Open the berries until it reveals the seeds. Use your fingers to scrape the seeds off the pods and rinse with water. Allow it to dry and keep in a jar with silica gel until you are ready to use the seeds.
If you are going to cut the flowers and use it for ornamental purposes, make sure that you will be using clean scissors. This will prevent the spread of infection. Keep the flowers in a jar with water so that it will remain fresh.
In sum, growing fuchsia is not a difficult task. It is easy, even if you are a beginner in gardening. In most instances, you just need to provide the plant the right location, adequate feeding, and a nutrient-rich soil, among other growing requirements. The pre-requisites, however, will vary depending on the specific variety that you will plant. Regardless of which you choose, with patience and tender loving care, success can be easily apparent.