Few flowers offer such an interesting form and variety of hues as the fuchsia. The unique blossoms resemble layered swirling, brightly colored skirts. These plants can bloom throughout the growing season and have the added benefit of attracting hummingbirds. Plant them in a hanging basket near a garden bench to attract the birds.
The two different-color sets of petals that make up the intricate blooms of this plant actually aren't petals. The four outer "petals" are called sepals. These protect the inner parts of the flowers from damage. Once the sepals open, the true petals are revealed. Typically, there are four petals inside, often in a deep purple color. However, there are now many varieties with petals that swirl and twist to even more interesting shapes and color combinations.
Fuchsia Care Must-Knows
Fuchsias, as a whole, can be a little temperamental. Many species stop producing flowers in too much heat. In warmer climates, look for heat-tolerant selections so they don't wither away in the summer heat. One way to help prevent problems in the heat is to make sure your plants have shade from the afternoon sun.
Another important note is that fuchsia does not like to sit in water. The plant does, however, like to be consistently moist. Finding the right amount of water can be a little tricky. Plant them in a well-drained potting mix and keep them consistently watered. To help maintain the constant blooms of fuchsia, pinch off spent flowers. This will help plants focus more energy on creating new blooms instead of producing seed. If left on the plants, blooms may produce dark purple berries. These berries are edible and are often used to make a fuchsia berry preserve. While all varieties are edible, many modern types aren't tasty.
With over 100 known species of fuchsia, there are many varieties of growth habits. Fuchsias with a semi-trailing habit work well in hanging baskets or spilling over the side of a container. In more tropical climates where fuchsia can be overwintered as a perennial, they can be trained as shrubs and, in some cases, even small trees. This is typically done with upright varieties. These same varieties are great in garden beds, especially cultivars like the tried-and-true 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt.' Fuchsias can also be trained into small novelties like topiary plants and even bonsai specimens.
More Varieties of Fuchsia
Fuchsia 'Blacky' is an upright shrub with semidouble flowers that have red sepals and a skirt of almost-black petals. It grows 2 feet tall and wide. Zones 8-10
'Diva Coral and White' fuchsia
Fuchsia 'Diva Coral and White' features bright coral blooms with pendulous white petals on a compact, floriferous plant to 10 inches tall and wide. Zones 8-10
'Miss California' fuchsia
Fuchsia 'Miss California' is an upright grower that offers semidouble pink flowers and grows 18 inches tall and wide. It has good heat tolerance. Zones 8-10
Fuchsia Companion Plants
Browallia earns its nicknames of amethyst flower and sapphire flower for the richness of its small blue flowers, which pop out like jewels against the bright green of its foliage. A tidy mounding plant, it's great in containers or planted as edging in a neat row at the front of the border. Plant in a shady spot in spring after all danger of frost has passed. It likes rich soil high in organic matter, so add some compost at planting time. Keep well watered and mulch to keep soil cool and moist. It may not flower in areas where summers are very cool. It may overwinter in the warmest regions (Zones 10-11), especially if covered with loose autumn leaves, straw, or any other light, airy winter mulch.
This striking new trailing annual gives you a fresh, new way to work in elegant silver foliage into your container and other plantings. Perfect in a hanging basket, window box, or other container, this plant can trail up to 6 feet with showy, soft foliage like no other. Native to areas of the Southwest, it's also very heat- and drought-tolerant so you can count on it to look good all season long, even if it wilts a few times. It's a perennial in the very warmest parts of the U.S. but is treated like an annual elsewhere. It needs well-drained soil (another reason it's great for containers), so be careful to avoid wet spots if you're planting it directly in the ground.
What would we do without impatiens? It's the old reliable for shade gardens when you want eye-popping color all season long. The plants bloom in just about every color except true blue and are well suited to growing in containers or in the ground. If you have a bright spot indoors, you may be able to grow impatiens all year as an indoor plant.