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How to Grow: Fuchsia
Part sun, part shade
Bloom Period and Seasonal Color
Summer until frost in colors of red, pink, white, blue lavender, and many bicolors
Mature Height x Spread
1 to 6 feet x 1 to 5 feet
attracts beneficials, attracts hummingbirds, deer resistant
Fuchsia is a large group of flowers that are grouped either as trailing plants often seen in hanging baskets or upright plants that can be featured in a container or the garden equally as well. Upright fuchsias tend to have smaller sized flowers. They are a perennial in warmer climates, but are grown in New England as an annual. Some gardeners, like me, have overwintered them indoors as houseplants and kept the plants for a number of years. The downward-facing flowers come in an amazing array of color combinations. While some varieties are all one color, most varieties have at least two-colors paired together making these great show pieces grouped together or standing alone. Hummingbirds also love fuchsias.
Where, When and How to Plant
The easiest way to grow fuchsias is to purchase seedlings at the local garden center. Fuchsias seed is not readily available. Plant trailing fuchsia varieties in containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes. Plant upright varieties in garden beds or large containers. Plant fuchsias after all danger of frost has passed in well-drained soil, in a part sun or shade location They’re well-adapted to our sometimes, cool summers, Fuchsias don’t like high heat, humidity or drought.
Keep plants well watered, especially if growing in sun or in containers. Fuchsias roots don’t like to dry out. The more sun they get, the more water they will need. Fertilize monthly with an organic plant food. Pinch back the growing tips to stimulate new flowers if the plant stems grow leggy.
Regional Advice and Care
Watch for white flies on fuchsia plants. Check under the leaves periodically for infestations and spray with insecticidal soap if you start seeing clouds of white insects flying off the leaves when they’re jostled. To overwinter favorite varieties, bring plants indoors in winter, cut them back, reduce the watering and place in a sunny window until spring.
Companion Planting and Design
Fuchsias are so showy in and of themselves they often don’t need any other flower in the container or ground near them. However, they do look attractive when paired with shade-loving foliage plants such as coleus or ferns. Grow fuchsias near other part shade-loving flowers such as begonias and torenia as well.
Some colorful trailing varieties to try include ‘Dark Eyes’ with its purple flowers and red sepals (petals), ‘Trailblazer’ with double pink colored flowers, The ‘Diva Series’ has white, pink or coral-colored flowers, and ‘Marinka’ has red and pink colored flowers. Some good upright varieties to try include ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ with orange colored flowers on a 3-foot tall plant. It also has greenish-purple colored leaves. ‘Black Prince’ has dark violet and red flowers on a compact 2-foot tall plant.
Excerpted from my book, New England Getting Started Garden Guide.