- Fuchsia Flowers – Annual Or Perennial Fuchsia Plants
- About Fuchsia Flowers
- Annual or Perennial Fuchsia
- Fuchsia Plant Care
- Flowering Season
Fuchsia Flowers – Annual Or Perennial Fuchsia Plants
You may ask: Are fuchsia plants annual or perennial? You can grow fuchsias as annuals but they are actually tender perennials, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. In colder zones, the plants die in winter, just like annuals do. Read on for information about fuchsia flowers and fuchsia plant care.
About Fuchsia Flowers
Fuchsias look exotic. This fascinating flower offers blossoms that look like little hanging lanterns. You can get fuchsias that flower in shades of red, magenta, pink, purple and white. In fact, there are many kinds of fuchsias. The genus contains over 100 species of fuchsias, many with pendulous flowers. Their growing habits can be prostrate (low to the ground), trailing or upright.
The fuchsia plants most familiar to many gardeners are those that
are planted in hanging baskets, but other types of fuchsia flowers that are upright are also available in commerce. Fuchsia flower clusters grow along the tips of the branches, and often have two different colors. Many hummingbirds like fuchsia flowers as much as we do.
Once the flowers are finished, they produce an edible fruit. It is said to taste like grape spiced with black pepper.
Annual or Perennial Fuchsia
Are fuchsia plants annual or perennial? In fact, fuchsias are tender perennials. This means that you can grow these plants outside if you live in a very warm climate and they will come back year after year.
However, in many chillier climates, gardeners grow fuchsias as annuals, planted outside after all risk of frost is passed. They will beautify your garden all summer long, then die back with winter.
Fuchsia Plant Care
Fuchsia flowers are not difficult to maintain. They prefer to be planted in organically rich, well-drained soil. They also like regular watering.
Fuchsias thrive in areas with cooler summers, and do not appreciate humidity, excessive heat or drought.
If you want to overwinter your fuchsia plants, read on. It is possible to overwinter tender perennials by manipulating the environment just enough that the plant can continue growing. Perhaps the most important element is to monitor the minimum temperature exposure. When temperatures approach freezing, put the fuchsias in a greenhouse or enclosed porch until the coldest weather is passed.
Right around Mother’s Day, fluffed-up fuchsia baskets start appearing in garden centers, a signal of spring and the beginning of the garden season. But then hot weather hits and in one day that flower-powerful plant begins its descent into a weakling of wilting, yellowed foliage and sluggish blooms.
Of course, there are the dedicated who ply their hanging baskets with water and fertilizer, keeping them beautiful until cold weather threatens and they’re moved into the garage for a winter’s sleep. For most of us, though, the mysteries of nurturing and overwintering these often disappointing plant, is beyond us.
Caring for hardy fuchsias
Here are seven quick tips:
– Though it may seem counterintuitive, put hardy fuchsias in full sun to part shade. The more sun they get, the lusher the foliage and the more flower power.
– Make sure the soil drains well. It’s a good idea to build a little hill to plant into. Don’t use peat moss or vermiculite or any other soil amendment that holds water in the soil. Compost is the best bet.
– Plant deeply as you would tomatoes. Large plants 4 to 6 inches deep; or if a 4-inch pot, bury half of the plant. This is key.
– Feed when plants come up in spring with a fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus, such as 15-30-15.
is a good option. If you choose a time-release fertilizer, use only as a top dressing or it will burn the roots. If you use liquid fertilizer, apply twice a month.
– Water thoroughly once a week, more if the weather is particularly hot.
– To help protect the plant, cover with 4 to 6 inches of mulch after the first frost.
– Don’t cut back until spring when you see new growth. Remove mulch and prune back to 6 inches. Leaving the plant up during winter helps protect it from cold.
There is an option: hardy fuchsias that have the same look but live year after year. That, however, isn’t a well-known fact.
Ann Detweiler, co-owner with her husband Mark Leichty of Fry Road Nursery in Albany, recently had a virtual conversation with a customer on the East Coast. Ten emails later, she finally got him to understand the concept of a hardy fuchsia.
But once our stubborn brains accept that hundreds – thousands if you count backyard breeders – of fuchsias come back year after year, the love affair begins.
Detweiler had that moment more than six years ago when she snuck away from the nursery one afternoon and headed to Monnier’s Country Gardens in Woodburn, where Ron and Debbie Monnier were doing some of the best breeding and testing of fuchsias in the country.
“I was blown away,” Detweiler says simply. “I fell in love.”
Not long after, the Monniers, who were thinking of retiring, came to visit Fry Road.
“They saw our insane number of cultivars and weird plants,” says Detweiler, “and thought we were crazy enough to take on their collection. They gifted it to us. That’s how we got into fuchsias.”
At the time, she and Leichty were selling about 40 different “normal, run-of-the-mill” hanging-basket fuchsias.
Now they’re selling about 350 varieties of hardy fuchsias and 150 tender varieties – more than 50,000 a year – at their retail center, online, to growers and garden centers and three Winco stores in Eugene, Springfield and Corvallis.
People are catching on.
It’s not hard to figure out why. The blooms, single, semi-double and double, make an appearance from mid-June to first frost, sometimes right up to Thanksgiving.
Sizes range from the 5- to 6-foot Fuchsia magellanica with its rainfall of small red flowers to ground-cover types such as F. procumbens, a strange little thing with finger-shaped flowers with orange and blue stamens shooting out of recurved green petals.
Between those extremes are average-sized plants of 2 to 3 feet tall and wide with flowers of every color but yellow.
Care of hardy fuchsias is different than for the tender types. Plant them deep in the ground, up to half the plant under ground for 4-inch pots. They should be mulched in winter and not cut back until spring.
“Some people can’t stand a messy look and cut them down in fall,” says Detweiler. “But you have to stop that because it lowers the winter hardiness. Always wait until you see new growth.”
Most important is planting hardy fuchsias in the sun. Really. When the Monniers were doing their groundbreaking work, all fuchsias were planted in full-sun trial beds. They thrived.
“It freaks people out,” says Detweiler, “but we’ve continued that tradition and they grow stronger and have more flowers than if you grow them in the shade.”
One more reason to grow hardy fuchsias: They keep hummingbirds hanging around. Like Detweiler says, “How can you not love them?”
— Kym Pokorny
Kym Pokorny covers gardens for national magazines and other media. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @kympokorny
Fuchsias are one of the mainstays of the summer garden. They produce masses of delightful, pendant, bell-like flowers for months on end, from early June to the first severe frosts of autumn.
Fuchsias provide colourful displays in beds and borders, hanging baskets and all manner of containers. Hardy fuchsias can even be used to make informal flowering hedges. They are so popular, that fuchsias have their own national society – the British Fuchsia Society – plus numerous local clubs and societies.
How to grow fuchsias
Fuchsias will grow perfectly well in either full sun or partial shade, with shelter from cold winds. They will appreciate some shade at the hottest part of the day during very hot summer days. To flower profusely, they need a fertile, moist but well-drained soil.
When growing in containers, make sure you use a good multi-purpose compost or one with added John Innes.
There are literally hundreds of varieties of fuchsias in a wealth of different colours and colour combinations. Most produce relatively small flowers, whereas the so-called ’Turbo’ varieties produce quite large flowers.
There are small, simple, single-petalled varieties all the way up to those that are multi-petalled and large enough to sit in the palm of your hand.
Fuchsias are divided into three broad groups:
Bush fuchsias grow upright into bushy plants.
Trailing or basket fuchsias produce long, trailing stems, making them perfect for hanging baskets and adorning the edges of containers.
Both bush and hanging fuchsias are regarded as being half-hardy perennials, that is they won’t survive temperatures below 4-5C (40-41F) and need overwintering in frost-free conditions, if you want to keep them for subsequent years.
Hardy fuchsias are bushy varieties generally regarded as being frost tolerant and can be left out in the garden all year round. The boundaries between hardy and non-hardy are somewhat blurred, and varieties that are hardy in mild climates, such as in Cornwall, may not be hardy in more exposed, colder regions of the country.
Some fuchsias also produce colourful red-tinged or purple foliage.
Half-hardy varieties are planted out in May/June after the danger of frost has passed. Hardy species and varieties should be planted in spring or early summer.
Dig a good sized planting hole, big enough to easily accommodate the rootball. Add a layer of organic matter – such as compost or planting compost – to the base of the hole and fork it in.
Place the rootball in the planting hole and adjust the planting depth so that it is planted at the same depth as it was originally growing (except hardy fuchsias) and the top of the roots are level with the soil surface. Plant hardy fuchsias slightly deeper, with 2.5-5cm (1-2in) of the stems below soil level.
Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole. Water in well, apply a granular general feed over the soil around the plant and add a 5-7.5cm (2-3in) deep mulch of well-rotted garden compost or bark chippings around the root area.
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Flower borders and beds, patios, containers, city and courtyard gardens, cottage and informal gardens.
How to care for fuchsias
Once established, fuchsias growing in the ground will probably need a thorough watering once a week, especially during prolonged dry periods.
In containers, water regularly, especially in summer, to keep the compost evenly moist but not waterlogged. Do not allow the plants to sit in water.
Feed hardy fuchsias each spring and again in summer with a general granular plant food.
A high potash liquid plant food applied regularly throughout summer will encourage more, better blooms over a long flowering period until the first autumn frosts.
To keep plants flowering profusely, deadhead them regularly to remove faded flowers and the developing seed pod/fruit behind them.
The stems of hardy fuchsias should be cut down to just above ground level in late spring, preferably just as new growth is seen.
Pinch out the tips of shoots of young bush and trailing fuchsias to produce bushier plants that will flower more profusely. The tips of resulting sideshoots can also be pinched out if necessary, but excessive pinching out will delay flowering.
Half-hardy bush and trailing fuchsias should be lifted from the ground in autumn, before temperatures drop below 5C (41F), and overwintered in a frost-free place.
First tidy them up by removing all dead, dying, damaged or diseased growth, and cut them back by around half if necessary to keep them compact. Then pot them up in pots just big enough to accommodate their roots and some extra potting compost around the outside. Then put them in a cool greenhouse, conservatory or similar well-lit place. They can also be overwintered in a frost-free shed or garage, providing they have become dormant and dropped all their leaves.
Standard fuchsia should always be overwintered frost-free, as the main stem is prone to cold damage, even if the variety is regarded as being hardy.
Hardy fuchsias can be kept in the garden overwinter, but may need some protection to ensure they come through unscathed, particularly in cold regions and severe winters.
Protect the roots and the crown by applying a thick mulch of bark, compost or even straw around the plants in autumn.Don’t cut down the stems until spring, when new growth begins.
Hardy fuchsias growing in containers may be prone to frost damage even in reasonably mild winters, so protect the container to prevent the compost and roots freezing solid.
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Partial shade, Full sun
Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy
Moist but well-drained
Up to 1.8m (6ft) depending on variety
Up to 1.5m (5ft) depending on variety
Summer, Autumn, Spring
This genus belongs to the evening primrose (Onagraceae) family and comprises around 100 species of shrubs and small to medium-sized trees. They can be evergreen or deciduous, spreading or climbing, and all come from Central and South America, except for a few that are native to New Zealand and Tahiti. With their stunning flowers and lush foliage, fuchsias offer tremendous ornamental qualities, and are ideal for hedges, containers, and hanging baskets, or trained on espaliers. Many thousands of hybrids and cultivars have been raised. In their native habitat, the American species are pollinated by hummingbirds.
Mostly climbing or spreading shrubs, fuchsias have deep green, heavily veined leaves that grow in whorls on the stems. The pendulous flowers have long tubes with flared sepals and often contrastingly coloured petals, mostly in shades of red, white, pink, and purple, as well as bicolored. The garden hybrids usually have rounded flowers with a skirt of large sepals around an often double corolla. Fleshy berries, usually with many seeds, follow the flowers.
Hardiness varies; the tougher types become deciduous if exposed to frost, the more tender simply die. Plant in a sheltered position in part-shade or shade with moist, humus-rich, fertile, well-drained soil. Feed well and remove spent flowers to prolong the flowering season. Propagate the species from seeds and cuttings. Cultivars are propagated from softwood cuttings in spring or half-hardened cuttings in late summer.
Gardening Australia suggests you check with your local authorities regarding the weed potential of any plants for your particular area.
© Global Book Publishing (Australia) Pty Ltd from Flora’s Gardening Cards
Fuchsias are among the most popular garden plants in the world. They are extremely versatile and can be grown in shaded gardens or in hanging baskets and pots. Fuchsias can also be trained as hoops or standards but the modern hybrid fuchsias are really for people with some time on their hands.
Water your fuchsias twice a day if the temperature is in the 20s, three times a day if it’s in the 30s and four times a day if the temperature reaches the 40s.
Hint: If a fuchsia in a pot or basket dries out, plunge the container into a bucket of water and leave it to absorb water. This helps revive the plant and thoroughly re-wets the potting mix.
Fuchsias, particularly potted and basket specimens, benefit from regular pruning. prune hard in late winter (usually July or August, but leave longer in a frost-prone district) – cut back to the original framework of branches. In warm climates prune again in summer after the main flush which will encourage a second flush of flowers in autumn. regularly tip prune (pinch out the growing tip) to encourage bushy growth. root prune basket grown plants in late winter. Replant in the same size basket.
The Fuchsia Club of NSW recommends the following:
Upright: suitable for ground/ pot: Ambassador, Joy Patmore; Lord Byron , Delta’s Night, Soldier of Fortune, Blue Bounty , Checkerboard, Display
Trailers: Suitable for basket/ pot/ front of the border : Swingtime, Aunty Jinks, Cascade
Availability and prices
Fuchsias can be hard to get from retail nurseries but can be purchased via Mail Order from
Brenlissa Fuchsias, 47 Wicklow Drive, Invermay. Vic. 3350 – Ph 0438 3935 78
For further information
Information re fuchsias can be found via:
Fuchsia Club of NSW (www.fuchsiaclubnsw.com.au)
Australian Fuchsia Society, based in SA – www.fuchsia.org.au
Canberra Geranium & Fuchsia Society Inc. -geraniumsfuchsias.websyte.com.au
West Australian Fuchsia Society Inc:
David Pooley President – 08 9354 1431
Interstate Liaison Officer – Helen Martin-Beck 08 – 9401 4944
Or go to: www.nurseriesonline.com.au/clubsandevents/FUSCHIA%20SOCIETIES.html
NOTE: The above web address has an incorrect spelling for fuchsia – it will not work if you don’t use the misspelling
Fuchias are often sold at expos/fairs/ events etc by the various clubs so it’s worthwhile getting in touch with them.
The Australian Fuchsia Society, Inc., has an excellent guide to fuchsia growing in Australia. It is called ‘Succeeding with Fuchsias in South Australia’ and is available from the society for $2.50 (including postage). Membership is $8.50 (single) and $12.00 (family). For membership or the booklet, write to:
Australian Fuchsia Society Inc
PO Box 97
Kent Town SA 5071
The society holds regular meetings, an annual show in November, and publishes a quarterly journal which is mailed to all members.
There are also fuchsia clubs in the ACT and Western Australia.
ACT: Canberra Geranium and Fuchsia Society Inc.
Secretary – Mrs Irene Brewer. Phone: (02) 6297 4658.
WA: West Australian Fuchsia Society Inc.
Secretary – Helen Martin-Beck. Phone: (08) 9401 4944
email [email protected] for information regarding monthly meetings.