The Fuchsia is a mainstay of the summer flowerbed. This delightful flower produces pendant-shaped flowers with a bell-like structure, and they bloom throughout the summertime. Fuchsias thrive from the start of June right through to the first frost of Fall start to land on the ground.
Fuchsias come in many different varieties, each with unique colors, providing the gardener with spectacular displays in flowerbeds. Fuchsias are also ideal for growing in containers, vertical gardens, of hanging flower baskets.
The British Fuchsia Society is an example of the impact the flower has on the gardening community. It’s easy to understand why the Fuchsia is so popular, all you need to do is plant a few in your garden this coming season.
A Guide to Growing Fuchsias
Let’s go over everything you need to know to grow a spectacular arrangement of fuchsias in your garden this summer.
Types of Fuchsia
Fuchsias are a great addition to small gardens, and they’re a fantastic choice of balcony gardens that rely on vertical growing systems in a limited space. Some fuchsias are climbers, making them the ideal choice for compact spaces.
There are four common types of Fuchsia available from most garden centers throughout the United States.
- Standard Fuchsia – Bush or upright fuchsias trained as standards, making them the ideal choice for balcony containers or pots.
- Trailing Fuchsia – Ideal for hanging in flower baskets.
- Bush and Upright Fuchsia – These small, bushy, round shrubs are perfect for establishing borders in the garden, or for growing in containers on patios or balconies. These varieties are very hardy and suit most climates around the United States.
- Climbing Fuchsia – These fuchsias grow fast, with long and lax stems. Train them onto walls or fences for a beautiful vertical display.
Some of the Favorite Fuchsia Varieties
- Fuchsia’ Lady in Black’ (Half-Hardy)
- Fuchsia’ Shrimp Cocktail’ (Hardy)
- Fuchsia’ Dollar Princess’ (Hardy)
- Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ (Hardy)
- Fuchsia’ Pink Fizz’ (Hardy)
Planting Your Fuchsias
Gardeners can plant half-hardy varieties outdoors in the flowerbed in late May to early June. Check your local listings for the last frost dates in your area, and plant a week or two after that date. Gardeners can plant hardy varieties outdoors in the spring to early summer.
When planting your Fuchsia, dig a good-sized hole in the flowerbed that’s big enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant.
Add some organic matter, such as a rich compost or potting soil to the base of the hole before placing the root ball in the hole and covering it.
Remember to place the fuchsia root ball, and adjust the height of the soil to keep it at a level where the tops of the roots are just under the surface. Hardy fuchsias require deeper planting, and gardeners need to ensure they cover up to one to two inches of soil above the roots.
Mix more compost into your garden soil, and then fill in the planting hole. Make sure that you pack the earth lightly around the roots. Water thoroughly, and apply a granular plant fertilizer. Add a 2-inch layer of mulch or compost around the base of the stem to ensure proper moisture retention and nutrient levels in the soil.
The following is a list of the best planting locations for fuchsias.
- Flower borders and beds
- Courtyard gardens
- Informal and cottage gardens
Caring for Fuchsias
After your fuchsias establish a robust root system, they’ll probably only need watering once a week at most. However, for the first two years of the plant’s life, make sure the soil around the plant is always moist.
Fuchsias in containers need watering twice to three times a week, depending on climate conditions. In hot weather, make sure that the soil is always moist in the pot. Stick your finger into the soil in the pot; if it’s dry at an inch deep, then the plant needs some water.
Make sure that you plant the Fuchsia in well-draining soil. Fuchsias don’t like to get their “feet wet, “and it may result in the onset of root rot in the plant.
Gardeners can feed hardy varieties every spring, and again in the summertime towards the end of the season.
Fuchsias grow well in areas of the garden that get full sun, but they also survive and thrive in partially shady areas of the garden as well. Fuchsias don’t like wind, and a severe gust might cause damage to the thin stems of the flower.
Plant fuchsias in areas of the garden that get sunlight, with partial shade in the afternoon, and provide them with a windbreak.
Fuchsias prefer a light, loamy soil with plenty of nutrients for optimal growth. Ensure that the soil drains well, and keep it moist. Gardeners growing fuchsias in containers can use a soil mix that includes compost, and all the nutrients the Fuchsia needs to thrive.
Pruning Your Fuchsias
Gardeners will have to prune the stems of hardy varieties to just above the ground during the late springtime. The best option is to wait until you start to see new growth, and then start the pruning process.
Make sure that you pinch the tops of the shoots as they emerge from young trailing and bush varieties to help the plant spread out and flower. “Topping” of the sprouts ensures the best results from your fuchsias when the flowering season comes around.
Gardeners can top the side-shoots as well. However, you need to be aware that excessive topping of the plants will significantly delay the flowering process. Gardeners should only conduct this practice if they want to grow a wide and bushy plant.
Growing standard fuchsias is easy, and they’re an ideal choice for the novice gardener. Trailing fuchsias are easy to train, but it might take you up to 18-months to train the plant into the style you want.
Those gardeners that want to achieve maximum results from their Fuchsia should follow the practice of “pinch-pruning.”
Pinch pruning involves the following steps.
- Allow the stem of the young Fuchsia to grow straight up, and remove all of the side-shoots as they start to emerge.
- Allow your young fuchsia stem to grow upright, removing all side-shoots as they develop.
- Make sure you don’t remove the leaves from the main stem, as this can result in slower growth of the plant. The leaves provide the plant with its source of food, so keep them on for as long as possible.
- Tie back the main stem to a cane for support as the plant grows.
- After the plant reaches 8-inches taller than the height you want, pinch out the tip of the stem.
- The plant will start to produce new side-shoots at the top, forming the standards head.
- The gardener can then pinch out the new tips of the shoots after they develop two to four sets of leaves.
- The gardener must keep pruning until the rounded head of the standard starts to take shape.
- The foliage will shed by itself over time, but you can remove them carefully once they are ready to fall off.
Tips for Overwintering Your Half-Hardy Fuchsias
Gardeners must lift all trailing and half-hardy fuchsias from the flowerbed in the fall before temperatures start to fall below 41F. Overwinter your Fuchsia in a place in the garden that is free of frost.
Tidy up the Fuchsia by removing all dead, dying, or damaged foliage and growth. This practice prevents disease from spreading in your plants. You can cut back the Fuchsia by half to keep it compact.
Pot the fuchsias in pots over the winter, with enough soil to accommodate the root ball. Send your fuchsias to a greenhouse or another well-lit structure.
Gardeners can also overwinter fuchsias in a garage or shed, provided that the plant becomes dormant and discards all of its leaves.
The standard Fuchsia requires overwintering in a frost-free place, due to the main stem being prone to damage from exposure to cold temperatures. This damage holds occurs even if the standard is a hardy variety.
You can keep hardy varieties of fuchsias in the garden over the wintertime. However, we recommend that you use some protection like a burlap to protect them from the frost or light snowfalls.
If overwintering in the garden, then make sure you add a thick layer of mulch to the soil and then top it with bark chips. Pack straw or burlap around the plant to insulate it from the cold weather.
Gardeners must make sure theta they don’t cut back the stems until the springtime as new growth starts.
Pests and Problems Facing Fuchsias
Some of the more common issues with fuchsias occur due to poor gardening practices, like over-watering or placing the Fuchsia in areas of the garden that receive full sunlight throughout the day.
Some insects also find fuchsias attractive, and you might notice pests are more prevalent on fuchsias planted in the flowerbeds rather than in pots.
Plants that don’t receive enough sunlight or ventilation are prone to infestation with aphid or whitefly. Gardeners can resolve this issue with the use of an organic pesticide.