February 26, 2024

Memories of Hanging Planters of Fuchsias

fuchsiaelizabeth1 I have so many great memories of playing hide & seek or some other childhood game with my cousins in my grandmother’s back yard.  Seeing the ever present, hanging baskets of fuchsias are a  big part of those memories.  Who knew a hanging plant could have so much of an effect on a child?  To me, they are one of the best things about this time of year. They are my personal favorites.  Early this month, I added two hanging wire baskets full of red and pink Fuchsias to my front porch and raised my eyes to the heavens thinking of my grandma.

I am not alone.  While reviewing materials in preparation for this post, I found that people spell fuchsia as many ways as the colors Fuchsias come in.  Fuschias, Fuchsia, Fusha, Fuchsias, Fushia, and Fuscia were all used to describe these beautiful plants.  No matter what you call them or how you spell it, Fuchsias are a favorite flower for many.  It’s one of the best selling plants in America!

Fuchsias are named for 16th-century botanist Leonard Fuchs.  The story goes that a British sailor saw the plant in it’s native South America and brought a small plant back to his wife in England.   When a nurseryman spotted the striking flower, he convinced the couple to let him purchase the plant and today they can be seen adorning the outdoor living spaces of many homes.

Native fuchsias found growing in South America are often large shrubs or small trees with rather inconspicuous flowers.  Modern hybrids, however, are anything but inconspicuous.  Hybridizers have developed these small flowers into gigantic single or double blooms that are up to 2 1/2 inches across.  Some are so heavy, the stems can barely support them.  Plant sizes vary across the country.  The smaller plants are generally used as hanging plants or planted in planter boxes while the largest ones can be trained as trees or shaped into hedges.

While these plants are hardy in a small portion of the U.S. (zones 8-10), they thrive as annuals almost everywhere else.  Pink, white, red, purple, and orange,  these flowers come in a variety of colors!

Fuchsias showy blooms attract admirers of all sizes and Hummingbirds especially love them.

Since fuchsias prefer mild weather, they usually don’t tolerate extreme heat, drought, or humidity, but some are more heat tolerant than others.  If you live in a hot climate like I do, ask your local nursery which cultivators work best in your area and plant them in a partially shaded area.

Trailing varieties are often displayed in hanging pots.  The upright varieties are used less often in colder climates but work equally well in container gardens as well as planting beds.

Fuchsias are fast vigorous growers and the have a big appetite.  Apply diluted liquid fertilizer to contain plants throughout the season to ensure strong growth and prolific blooms.  Be sure to water regularly, fuchsias are thirsty plants.  Once the plants are growing and thriving but before they are flowering, pinch the stems back to encourage fullness.  Pinching the stems back also forces the plant to produce side branches, which you can also pinch back.  Stop pinching 8-10 weeks before you want the plant to flower.

Yes, all this feeding, watering and pinching takes time, but it’s definitely worth it.  At bloom time, you’ll have a full well shaped plant that’s the pride and joy of your porch or patio.

For continuous blooms, remove the spent flowers regularly.  Don’t panic if the flowering stops during hot spells, as the flowering will resume as soon as it cools off a bit.

To produce extra plants, try taking tip cuttings.  Snip off the last two or three joints at the tip of a growing branch, dip the cut end into rooting compound and place it in a damp rooting medium.  you can also grow fuchsia from seed which is available through specialty seed catalogs.

Fuchsias can be overwintered in a cold dark basement, garden shed, or even your garage.  This way, you won’t have to buy new plants every year.  Prune lightly before storing and leave the in their containers, watering about once a month.  Cut back to live wood when you return the plants outdoors in spring.  Northern gardeners may want to jump start the plants indoors.  You can grow fuchsias as houseplants too!  Indoor planters need to be as large as the one it was in outside or even slightly larger.

Stop by our store and take a look at the beautiful hanging planters and other garden decorative items that we offer.  Shop around, come back often.  We love serving the people who love gardening as much as we do!

Happy Gardening!

P.S. For more information about Fuchsias, visit the American Fuchsia Society.  They are one of the oldest groups and they maintain a registry of all the new hybrids developed each year.  You can visit the American Fuchsia Society at www.americanfuchsiasociety.org

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