A very popular family of semi-evergreen, decorative shrubs with attractive pendulous flowers. Free flowering over a long period, from early summer into autumn. Both hardy and half hardy forms are available.
Family: Onagraceae (evening primrose family)
Botanical Name: Fuchsia
Foliage: Deciduous or evergreen simple ovate leaves, in shades of light and dark green to yellow (depending on variety). Variegated forms are also available.
Flowers: Colourful, tube-shaped, pendent flowers with pronounced stamen. Single or double. Colours range from white to pink, orange, red and purple. The flowers comprise an outer round or tubular calyx with four parts, and a corolla of four inner petals, often in a different colour.
Flowering Period: Early summer to early autumn.
Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.
Conditions: Sun or semi-shade. Best grown in a east, west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered possition.
Habit: Upright, bushy or trailing.
Type: Perennial shrub.
Origin: Central and South America and New Zealand.
Hardiness: Half-hardy to fully hardy in the UK (depending on variety). Protect tender forms from frost.
Bush forms are good for borders, containers and flower beds. Trailing and spreading forms are ideal for patio containers and hanging baskets.
Fuchsias grow well in both sunny or semi-shaded sites and will still flower reasonably well in part-shade.
Thrives best in a moist but well drained, deep loamy garden soil or compost.
Plant hardy forms in late spring. Plant out half-hardy (tender) forms in late spring once all danger of frost has passed.
Hardy varieties can be grown as a flowering hedge. A hardy bush fuchsia can also be made into a magnificent standard specimen by training a single leading shoot up a support.
Pinch out the shoots tips of bush varieties, if extra bushiness is required.
Water regularly during dry weather and water container grown plants daily.
To improve flowering, apply an all purpose flowering plant food (slightly higher in phosphorus and potassium) every few weeks, or use a slow release form.
In colder regions, mulch the crowns of hardy forms in autumn to protect from cold. Move tender forms to a frost free light place before the first frosts.
Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period.
Hardy fuchsias can be cut down to ground level in late autumn or spring and the roots protected. In milder coastal and southern regions hardy varieties can be left alone, except to prune out any dead wood in early spring.
Clip hardy fuchsia hedges in spring.
Tender varieties can be pulled up and discarded at the end of the season. Alternatively, they can be trimmed back, potted up and brought indoors for protection over-winter, in a frost free light place.
Susceptible to attack by aphids, capsid bug, fuchsia gall mite and vine weevil. Indoor plants can also suffer from whitefly and red spider mite.
Can be affected by fuchsia rust and grey moulds.
Can be quickly increased from soft tip cuttings taken in spring or summer. Cuttings can also be taken of semi-matured wood in autumn. Root in an open gritty compost in a propagator in moderate heat (15-18°C).
Cuttings of over wintered plants can be taken in early spring can then used for bedding or potted up for the patio. Once rooted, pot up, harden off and place outdoors towards end May, once all danger of frost has past.
Seeds of species can be sown in spring.
A number of species are available, along with an extensive range of named hybrids and cultivars.
Hardy varieties are mostly single flowered. Some of the best hardiest species and varieties include:
Fuchsia 'Alice Hoffman' is a compact semi-hardy fuchsia that forms a small upright deciduous shrub with bronze-tinged foliage and small semi-double pink-red and white flowers. Height and spread to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Gardening Express.
Fuchsia 'Beacon' is a bushy, upright fuchsia that bears flowers with rich mauve corollas and deep pink sepals. Height and spread to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Fuchsia 'Corallina' has lax spreading habit with large scarlet and purple flowers. Height to 3ft (90cm).
Fuchsia 'Delta Sarah' is an upright bush form with large white and violet-blue flowers that fade to maroon-purple. Good weather resistance. Height to 20in (50cm), spread to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Crocus.
Fuchsia 'Display' (RHS AGM winner) is a popular variety with an upright bushy habit and a profusion of two-toned deep pink flowers from June to September. Height to 30in (75cm). spread 20in (50cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Fuchsia 'Dollar Princess' is a classic bush form with pink and purple double flowers. RHS award of garden merit . For sale at Gardening Express.
Fuchsia 'Fusion' is a vigorous climbing fuchsia, with bright red and pink blooms. Supported height to 5ft (1.5 metres). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Fuchsia 'Genii' is a very attractive variety with lime-green leaves and purple flowers. For sale at You Garden.
Fuchsia 'Hawkshead' is one of the hardiest Fuchsias available. It produces slender green-tipped white flowers throughout summer and autumn. For sale at Gardening Express.
Fuchsia 'Lady Thumb' is a bush type with small with red and white blooms. Height to 12in (30cm). For sale at Crocus.
Fuchsia 'Madame Cornelissen' is a medium size bush variety with large, semi-double, white and carmine red flowers. Height and spread to 18in (45cm).
Fuchsia magellanica, a tall bush form that can grow to 6ft (1.8m) with red flowers with long, tapered sepals. Variety gracilis 'Versicolor' has grey-green leaves, tinted pink when young and variegated creamy white. Not as hardy. Height to 4ft (1.3m).
Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple' is a strong, vigorous large bush fuchsia with large scarlet and violet flowers. Height and spread to 3ft (90cm). For sale at Crocus.
Fuchsia 'Riccartonii' produces arching stems with bronze tinted, dark green leaves, bearing small red and purple flowers in June- October. May reach a height and spread of 6ft (1.8m) or more in the mildest gardens. For sale at Crocus.
Fuchsia Sunray is a hardy fuchsia with glorious, cream-variegated foliage, flushed pink at the margin, followed by purple-centred, bright pink flowers. For sale at You Garden.
Fuchsia 'Tom Thumb' is a miniature dwarf bush type with small red and dark mauve flowers. Height to 20in (50cm). For sale at Crocus.
Fuchsia 'Tom West' is a hardy bush/trailing form with attractive variegated foliage (green, red, pink and cream with red stems and veins) and colourful red flowers, with a purple corolla. Ideal for pots and containers.
Tender forms can be grown outdoors for the summer in beds, borders, containers and hanging baskets.
Fuchsia arborescens (Mexican blueberry) is an upright, shrubby fuchsia, sometimes referred to as a 'tree fuchsia'. The juicy, soft, edible fruits appear in abundance, after the unusual sprays of lilac-like pink blooms. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Annabel' is a lovely trailing form with pretty white double flowers. Height to 18in (40cm), spread to 2ft (60cm).
Fuchsia 'Bella Olivia' is a semi-trailing form with mauve purple blooms and contrasting pale pink sepals. Ideal for containers. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Bella Sophia' is a cascading form with pure white petals and contrasting pale pink sepals. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Blacky' semi-bush variety that bears deep purple central corolla contrasting with the fuchsia pink sepals. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Cascade' is a good trailing form with pinky-white and deep pink flowers. Ideal for hanging baskets.
Fuchsia 'Fairy Blue' is a compact form with dainty white and purple-blue flowers. Height and spread to 28in (70cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Fuchsia 'Flying Scotsman' bears white and pink blooms in a lax habit making it ideal for hanging baskets. Height to 12in (30cm), spread 18in (45cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Fuchsita Flamingo Blue' is a compact form that bears pastel blue fuchsia flowers from May to October. Larger than normal flowers. For sale at Van Meuwen.
Fuchsia fulgens produces clusters of long pendulous vermilion flowers. Its leaves are larger than most other species. Variety 'gesneriana' has laxer growth and shorter flowers. 'Rubra grandiflora' is one of the best forms.
Fuchsia 'Golden Swingtime' is a trailing form with mid green leaves with gold edging. Bears frilly pinky-white flowers.
Fuchsia 'La Campanella' is a lax trailing form with purple-pink petals that age to light violet. Height to 18in (40cm), spread to 2ft (60cm).
Fuchsia 'Lambada' is an upright compact form with brightly coloured pink and violet flowers. Height and spread to 14in (35cm).
Fuchsia 'Patio Princess' is an upright form with striking pink and white flowers. Height to 18in (40cm).
Fuchsia 'Pink Elephant' bears large, candy-pink double trumpet blooms. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Purple Rain' is a giant flowered fuchsia that bears an abundance of lavish, heavily ruffled, purple petals beneath bright pink sepals. Perfect for baskets and containers. Height to 12in (30cm), spread 18in (45cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Rocket Fire' is free-flowering variety that produces a lavish display of large, 3-toned, double blooms. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia 'Royal Mosaic' is a trailing form that produces very large blooms that are frosted, marbled and stripey. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Fuchsia Swingtime bears fat red buds that burst open to frilly bicoloured flowers on trailing stems. For sale at Crocus.
Fuchsia thymifolia (thyme-leafed fuchsia) is a pretty little species with small leaves and delicate, deep pink flowers.