Fuchsias are named after the 16th century German doctor, Leonhart Fuchs, who gained horticultural credibility by publishing a herbal in the 1540s but never actually laid his eyes on a fuchsia. It’s useful to know his surname, though, because it helps us remember how to spell the plant’s name– simply ‘Fuchs’ with an ‘ia’ at the end.

There are more than 100 species of fuchsias in nature, but most garden fuchsias are hybrids that have been bred for their showy flowers. These flowers are often quite large and pendulous, which means they’re easily damaged. The clue, then, is to keep the plants in a sheltered position that isn’t exposed to strong winds. Fuchsia plants prefer gentle conditions with plenty of water, good drainage, no temperature extremes and protection from the hottest sun.

Some of the pendulous varieties are ideally grown in a hanging basket or pot so that the flowers can be seen from below. Fuchsia flowers usually have sepals (the petal-like parts at the top of the flower) that blend or contrast in colour with the softer single or double petals that flair out below. Stamens protrude from beneath the petals, looking like a bunch of skinny, dangling legs. The effect can be totally charming – like a cluster of full-skirted ballerinas waiting to move onto the stage


How to grow fuchsia in a garden

  1. Choose a sheltered spot in the garden and prepare the planting area well by digging in Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed.  Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugar cane or pea straw, keeping it away from the base of the plant.
  5. Feed occasionally with Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food to ensure strong root development, healthy green leaves and promote more flower growth.

     
blue forget me nots petals
blue forget me nots


How to grow fuchsia in a pot

  1. Choose a pot or hanging basket at least 300mm wide and deep. Position in a sheltered spot. If planting in a hanging basket choose a pendulous variety which is perfect for pots or hanging baskets so that the flowers can be seen from below.
  2. Fill chosen pots or hanging baskets with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter
  3. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots.
  4. Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  5. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the base of the plant.
  6. eed occasionally with Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food to ensure strong root development, healthy green leaves and promote more flower growth.

Growing tips

  • Fuchsias don’t like temperature extremes and will require protection from the hot midday and afternoon sun.
  • Fuchsias aren’t rapid growers so their fertiliser requirements aren’t all that high. 
  • Remove any spent flowers to encourage further blooms.
  • Fuchsias can recover from a harsh prune. It is best to give them a light prune just after flowering to promote bushy growth.
  • Because fuchsias flower on new wood, it’s helpful to prune regularly and thereby encourage new flower-promoting growth. Cut plants back hard in late winter (spring in cold areas) and give a tidy up in mid-summer. Pinch back the soft growing tips to encourage bushiness.
  • Pests and diseases
  • The vine moth caterpillar (the striped one that eats its way through grape vines) is attracted to fuchsias. Try to squash by hand or treat serious infestations with Dipel or Success.
  • Watch for sap-sucking pests, especially on plants growing in dry spots under leaves. Use Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray to treat thrips, aphids and mites and Yates Rose Shield to control fungal diseases like powdery mildew.

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