OK, I admit it, I am crazy about fuchsias!
I used to say that roses was my passion, then I got completely hooked on lilies and although I still grow both roses and lilies in my absolutely tiny, postage stamp size London garden – fuchsias has become my real passion. In a way, they suit my garden much better than roses, as my garden is west facing with a tall wall at the end so I have a lot of shade, part of the garden is in complete shade. Over the years I have bought some bog standard garden-centre fuchsias, and to my surprise seen that what they call tender or annual fuchsias are perennial in my garden.
A few years ago I started buying from nurseries and got some more unusual varieties, and this year I have complemented my collection with some really unusual ones including some miniatures – they are so incredibly dainty and beautiful and so different from the huge flowers of some of the trailing fuchsias I have.
The photos show:
2. Fuchsia 'Snowburner'
3. Fuchsia 'Bella Rosella'
4. Fuchsia bacillaris 'Cottinghamii'
5. Fuchsia 'Fuksie Foetsie'
6. Fuchsia 'Annabel'
7. Fuchsia 'Velvet Crush'
The first photo shows the ‘nursery shelves’ in my garden, as I don’t have a greenhouse or a shed or even a garage, everything I grow has to spend all winter outside in my garden. The shelves here at the side of my house have several degrees higher temperature than out in the garden and I keep the cuttings here over winter without any protection – not that I had to worry about this last winter, I actually didn’t have ANY frost at all during the winter, my thermometer never dipped down to zero or below.
As a consequence of that, my fuchsias didn’t go into dormancy, they all stayed in leaves, most of them flowered throughout the winter and only slowed down slightly through December and January. It was rather bizarre to have fuchsia flowers, snowdrops and crocuses together. I have never had ‘evergreen’ fuchsias before! And the fact that they didn’t go into dormancy presented a new problem to me, as I normally would have cut them down in February/March, but by then they all were back in full flower and growing like mad! I didn’t have the heart to cut off all those flowers so only Mrs Popple at the bottom of the garden got her usual trim, the rest got to keep their flowers and buds.
I grow fuchsias both in small pots, large containers and in the ground. I have for example 4 'Annabel' in one flowerbed, growing between evergreen bushes like dwarf rhododendron, skimmia and pieris. The idea was that the evergreens would protect 'Annabel' during the winter, but I am not sure she needs that as I have had one growing in a container for a good few years and she survives just fine every winter.
I have read that fuchsias are hungry plants, not sure my plants know about that, perhaps it depends on how many flowers you expect. I don’t use my fuchsias for exhibitions, they are here just for me to enjoy so I am happy with a steady trickle of flowers – normally 10 months a year, but as mentioned above, they never stopped this winter! I give all my fuchsias slow-release fertilisers once a year, usually in March or April. That’s it. Fertilisers are expensive and a lot of work applying, I am happy with the abundance my fuchsias are producing and my fuchsias seems happy. Those that grow in containers get new compost every other year or so and those in small pots get a bigger pot or a container when they have grown out of it. Some fuchsias grow incredibly fast!
Fuchsias are fun, beautiful and usually easy to grow, there are lots of different varieties ranging from the very tender to the extremely hardy. And the size are from tiny plants you can hold in one hand to large plants up to 12 feet tall. I have 18 named varieties of fuchsias in my garden, some I have just one plant of, others I have many plants of the same. You can find the rest of the list of my fuchsias on my grower page along with some of the other plants in my garden. I hope this got you inspired!