With an exotic appearance and beautiful, delicate flowers, what's not to love about fuchsias? These plants grow striking multi-colored flowers, are low-maintenance, and can be grown both indoors and out. A rightfully popular plant, the fuchsia comes in over 110 varieties. This impressive selection means you can get a fuchsia in just about any color and for just about any climate, from hardiness zones 6 through 11. Fuchsias are a great plant for beginner gardeners looking to add some flare to their plots.
Fuchsias thrive in partial to full shade, where they will not get too dry. Pick a spot with well-draining soil and mix in some peat moss and compost before planting your fuchsia. If you're planting in a pot, use a 12 to 16-inch pot and make sure the potting soil you choose drains well. Indoor fuchsias prefer more sun than outdoor plants, but keep the sunlight indirect.
Fuchsias prefer a moist environment and should be watered frequently. If your fuchsia is in a pot, water it up until the water begins leaking from the base. Fuchsias that are planted directly in the garden should be watered until the 6-inch diameter around the plant's base is moist. Water your fuchsia in this capacity one to three times per week, depending on temperatures.
During the blooming season, fuchsias require frequent fertilization. Once every 2 weeks during this annual period, apply a diluted liquid fertilizer to your plants. As flowers die, pinch off the dead blooms to increase new growth. Fuchsias are quite low-maintenance and don't need anything more than fertilization, regular watering, and pinching off old flowers.
Fuchsias can be purchased at garden stores or propagated from clippings. When propagating your own fuchsia, start in the springtime, cutting 2 to 4 inches off a stem with good foliage. Remove the bottom leaves and dip the base in a rooting hormone. Plant your clipping in a planting tray full of seed-starting soil and cover it in clear, thin plastic. Keep it in a warm place for about three weeks, then uncover the fuchsia and place the pot in indirect sunlight. When your clipping forms new foliage, it can be repotted and moved outdoors.
Fuchsias are vulnerable to whiteflies, aphids, moths, and mites. Unfortunately, bringing the plants inside over the winter increases the risk that they will attract these pests. Signs include chew marks, discoloration, and disfiguration of the leaves. If you notice moths on your fuchsia, remove them by hand. For other pests, remove and discard the affected leaves, and spray your plant with insecticidal soap.
Fuchsia rust, a fungal disease that thrives in moist environments, is the most common disease to afflict fuchsia plants. Identified by red spots on the tops of leaves and orange bumps on the undersides, when left untreated, this disease leads to stunted growth. To minimize your fuchsia's chances of developing rust, remove dead leaves and any debris from your plant regularly and ensure it has good air circulation. If rust occurs, remove the affected areas and thin out your fuchsia to improve airflow. Fungicides can be too strong for fragile fuchsias, so unless the rust is extremely persistent or widespread, avoid using them.
In lower hardiness zones, fuchsias can be kept as perennials, often losing all their leaves over winter. In colder areas, fuchsias may not survive the winter and are best kept as annuals. If you are set on having a perennial fuchsia in a cooler climate, try bringing your fuchsia indoors throughout the winter.
Hardy fuchsias are varieties that can survive in hardiness zones as low as 6 and grow as upright, deciduous shrubs. For a smaller shrub with red and frilly white flowers and bronze tinged leaves, try the Alice Hoffman fuchsia. If you're looking for more of a classic red and purple-flowered shrub, Mrs. Popple is the way to go; it starts blooming early and is one of the last to stop. If a unique shrub is more up your alley, try the Hawkshead fuchsia, an elegant and vigorous bush that blooms many slim white flowers.
Nonhardy varieties of fuchsias can grow as trailing plants instead of upright shrubs. For flowers that are red topped with a frilly white inside, give the Swingtime fuchsia a try. For pendant-like, white and deep purple flowers, try the Rapunzel fuchsia. If a unicolor flower is what you're after, the Harry Gray blooms slightly rosy, double white flowers.
Fuchsia plants themselves add to the aesthetic appeal of your garden, but they also attract a few other favorable friends. The colorful flowers are a favorite source of nectar for a variety of hummingbirds and they are also known to attract bumblebees! Once you've planted your fuchsia, keep an eye out for these visitors.