Fuchsia Today I want to talk about a plant we have not discussed in-depth in this column: fuchsias. I have always liked them and, indeed, have had a couple of hanging baskets on my patio for years. Hummingbirds love them.
This shade-lover is relatively easy to grow. But my interest in them seems to have soared. This past weekend I was I was at the Ithaca Book Sale. I picked up five different books on the plant, great books at only $1.50 each. Once I started reading and studying the pictures I was enthralled. Then I went on to the Internet. Then I ordered 25 different varieties from a nursery in Oregon. They are not here yet, but I am truly excited. I even found other different varieties at a nursery north of Seattle. I’m tempted, but I will wait until I get the first batch growing.
While a few species are native to New Zealand, the bulk of the nearly 110 species are native to areas throughout South America, a few to Mexico and other parts of Central America. Of course, species are important, but as we look into this plant, the most beautiful types are the hybrids, and there are literally thousands of them. Their size ranges from small, foot-tall plants to very large shrubs. In our Pacific Northwest and along our mid-Atlantic Coast, the plants thrive because of the temperate climate. Most fuchsias are tropical or sub-tropical. No, they are not hardy in our area, but do well in large pots and are easy to over-winter. I’ll talk about that in a bit.
The flowers are teardrop-shaped. Many are bi-colored and what makes them even more interesting is that the stamens and anthers generally hang below the flower, adding interest and making it easier for birds, especially hummingbirds, to get to the nectar.
The two main types are upright and trailing; there are hundreds of hybrids in the trailing division. They are the fuchsias that are most often seen in our area. All those hanging baskets are trailers and the most popular hybrids are black beauty and black prince. Care is very easy. Hang those plants where they will get partial to full shade. They just do not do well in high heat and full sun. Move the baskets indoors or to the coolest spot in your garden when the temperatures get above 80 degrees. With too much heat, you will have bloom failure.
Fuchsias like a lot of water, but do not want to sit in water. So water thoroughly and let dry a bit before watering. And during the growing season, spring and summer, they should be fed with a liquid fertilizer about every three weeks. Keep a wary eye out for insects during the summer season. The plants are especially favored by aphids and mealy bugs. They are easily controlled if you do not let them get ahead of you. If you are fortunate enough to have fantastic growth, it might be wise to prune away some of the branches for better air circulations and to let light get through to all the leaves.
Stop fertilization in the fall, when you move them indoors. To over-winter your plants, you need to move them indoors before the first frost or when there is a significant drop in temperatures. Once indoors, prune the plant back significantly and store it in a place, garage or cold basement where the temperature hovers between 40 to 50 degrees. While in storage, it would be good to give a cup of water a month to normal (10-12-inch) baskets.
So much for the hanging basket fuchsias. Let’s take a look at the upright types. The color range is fantastic, ranging from the most delicate pinks to burgundy, from deep purple to an almost blue. The whites are spectacular. But the most fascinating are the bi-colors. I am out of space, so let us look at the uprights next week.
Carmen Cosentino operates Cosentino's Florist with his daughter, Jessica. He was elected to the National Floriculture Hall of Fame in 1998, and in 2008, received the Tommy Bright award for lifetime achievements in floral education. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 253-5316.
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Fuchsia Fun Facts Fun Facts about Fuchsia...
How well do you know your colors? :)
Fuchsia has got to be one of the MOST misspelled words in the English language. On this site you will see it spelled a million ways, fushia, fuschia, fucshia, fuchia, etc. etc. Even I spell it wrong ALL the time. The correct spelling is fuchsia. Here are some fun (and random :) facts about this color I LOVE:
1. The color fuchsia is actually named after the fuchsia plant (see pic).
2. The fuchsia plant is named after a botanist named Leonard Fuchs.
3. There are actually several shades of fuchsia. What shade of fuchsia are you using? My fuchsia is the Hollywood cerise shade (also called fashion fuchsia).
4. The first recorded use of fuchsia as a color was in 1892.
5. Also, according to Wikipedia, in gay slang, a beautiful, attractive woman is known as a fuchsia queen and wearing a fuchsia bandana means you have a spanking fetish LOL. I don't know how accurate that is, it's Wikipedia! Hahahaha
Fuchsia Facts Fuchsia, also known as lady's eardrop, is bushy plant that belongs to the family evening primrose. It originates from Chile, Argentina and Mexico. There are more than 100 species and numerous varieties of fuchsia that grow in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. Fuchsia can be found from the sea level to the altitude of 13.900 feet. These plants were discovered at the end of 17th century and named in honor of the famous German botanist Leonhart Fuchs. Ever since that time, popularity of fuchsias is growing and today they represent one of the most cultivated ornamental plants in the world.
Fuchsia usually grows in the form of shrub that can reach from 8 inches to more than 13 feet in height, depending on the variety.
Fuchsia has simple, lanceolate leaves gathered in whorls or arranged in opposite pairs on the branches. Margins can be whole or serrated.
Fuchsia develops drooping, tubular or bell-shaped flowers. They can be seen during the summer and autumn in subtropical areas or all year round in tropics. Flowers last few days.
Majority of species of fuchsia develop brightly colored flowers, composed of red sepals and purple petals. Some varieties of fuchsia produce white, yellowish, orange, dark red and purple-blue colored flowers.
Colorful flowers attract hummingbirds, main pollinators of fuchsia.
Fruit of fuchsia are berries. They can be reddish green, red or purple-colored, depending on the variety. Berries are filled with numerous miniature seed.
All parts of fuchsia are edible, but berries are the most popular and most commonly used in human diet. Their taste ranges from acidic to sweet, depending on the cultivar. Berries are usually consumed in the form of jams.
Native Americans used root of fuchsia as a source of black pigment for coloring of wool.
Unlike other species of fuchsia, Fuchsia excorticata grows as tree. Its wood is so dense and hard that it cannot be used as firewood. Wood of Fuchsia excorticata is used for carving and manufacture of various long-lasting objects (such as combs).
Indigenous people of New Zealand (Maori) were using blue pollen from the flowers of Fuchsia excorticata as a source of make-up.
Fuchsia is a symbol of "good taste" in Japan, and "confiding love" and "amiability" in the western societies.
Fuchsia is often cultivated in gardens because of its beautiful flowers and longevity. Fuchsia can be grown as shrub, trailing vine, miniature tree or bedding plant.
Mites, aphids, caterpillars and various moths feed on fuchsia and negatively affect growth and development of this plant.
Word "fuchsia" can be used to describe bright, purple-pink color. This shade is also known as magenta.
Fuchsia can survive for hundreds of years. Oldest known fuchsia (that still lives) was planted in 1899.