If you have a shady location that could use a pop of color, growing fuchsias in hanging baskets or pots will give you a beautiful display. Their exquisite shape and bold colors offer a nice change of pace from the trailing petunias you see in containers everywhere.
This tropical plant was discovered in the area now known as Haiti in 1687, where it was growing wild. Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) also thrives in tropical areas like South and Central America, Mexico, New Zealand and Costa Rica.
Most gardeners grow dwarf varieties of these lush flowers as annuals, but in warmer climates, hardy varieties can be grown in the garden as perennials that develop woody stems and a bushy habit.
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Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Caring for Fuchsia
- Exceptional flowers in bold colors for shady spots
- Perfect for hanging baskets and containers
- Not frost- or cold-tolerant
- Needs consistent water to stay healthy and full
- For best performance, propagate from cuttings or starts, not seed
- Watch for aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, thrips and fungus
Sunlight: Shade, no full sun
Maturity: 2-3 weeks from cutting to bloom
Height: 1 ft (trailing varieties) to 5 feet (hardy varieties)
Spacing: 3-4 inches in containers; 12 inches in gardens
Most fuchsia are grown as annuals in hanging baskets, so choose a rich potting soil with plenty of organic matter that can retain moisture.
If you’re in a warmer area where fuchsia can overwinter, their planting site still needs rich soil that drains well and plenty of water. Use fertilizer at half strength throughout the growing season.
Note: Without consistent, frequent watering, fuchsia will wilt and look horrible. Keep an eye on them during hot, dry spells, watering in the morning and evening if needed.
How to Plant
For best results, choose cuttings or nursery starts. For containers or hanging baskets, plant them 4 inches apart. In zones 8-10, you can plant cuttings into the garden about 12 inches apart.
To create your own cuttings, clip 2-3-inch pieces from the end of a branch, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and place the prepared cutting in soilless media or damp sand. Water regularly, and transplant when you see new leaf growth. Aeroponic systems make process this very easy.
Starting fuchsia from seed is tricky because germination is unpredictable, both in timing and producing plants that are true to their parents. If you want to try this experiment, place seeds on top of the soil and lightly cover with soil or vermiculite. Cover loosely with plastic, keep warm and wait. Seedlings will appear in a few days or up to a few weeks.
Note: Fuchsia are sensitive to cold, so do not set outside until all danger of frost has passed.
Hanging baskets can be overwintered with a little care. At the end of the growing season, remove all leaves and clip stems back to 6 inches long. Store in a dark location with a consistent temperature, like a basement or storage area. Water 2-3 times during the winter (choose holidays like Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day to help you remember), and hang outside when days get warmer, about 4 weeks before the last frost. Protect from nighttime cold by storing in the garage.
In the garden, clip back long stems, remove any leaves or debris that could harbor pests, and mulch.
Insect & Disease Problems
Most pests and diseases can be avoided by planting in clean pots and providing good ventilation. Do not overwater.
Fuchsias are susceptible to attacks from aphids, whiteflies, spider mites and thrips. Watch for signs of botrytis during heavy rains or damp weather. For severe infestations, choose organic remedies for pest control or fungus.
Seed Saving Instructions
Do not deadhead flowers; allow the petals to fall off and the seed pods, called berries, to develop. Pick these fresh berries, and open them to reveal the seeds inside. Rinse the seeds and allow them to completely dry on plate or other clean, flat surface. This can take up to a week.
Choose the largest, healthiest-looking seeds and store inside a paper bag that you place inside an airtight container.
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