Fuchsia Festival 2015!

A celebration of all things fuchsia. Including top tips from the experts and customer blogs.

Trailing Fuchsias

Trailing fuchsias come in every colour combination imaginable. There are so many choices, from elegant single flowered fuchsias such as Fuchsia ‘Mandarin Cream’ to flamboyant double forms with carefree, ruffled blooms such as Fuchsia ‘Quasar’. They are particularly useful for bringing impressive displays to summer hanging baskets, window boxes and containers. Their lax stems gently cascade over the side of containers, allowing the dangling blooms to be viewed at their best. These versatile plants cope equally well in semi shade as they do in full sun. This makes them an ideal choice for brightening up those shadier corners of the patio.

trailing fuchsia

Some forms can produce colossal blooms reaching up to 10cm (4”) across eg Giants Collection.

Fuchsias are superb value too, flowering over a long period from early summer right through to September.

Growing trailing fuchsias really couldn’t be easier. Plant trailing fuchsias directly into baskets, window boxes, Flower Pouches™ and containers, in any well drained compost.  Grow them on in warm, frost free conditions.  Pitrailing fuchsianch out the growing tips of each plant while they are still small to promote bushier growth and more flowers. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise fuchsia plants to outdoor conditions over a 7 to 10 day period, prior to placing them in their final positions in sun or semi shade.

Throughout the growing season keep them well watered. It’s well worth feeding them every other week with a fertiliser such as Incredibloom® to promote an endless supply of flowers. Deadhead faded fuchsia flowers to prolong the flowering period.

These reliable plants are stalwarts of summer garden, bringing colour and movement to hanging baskets whether grown individually or as part of a mixed container.

Giant Fuchsias

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: why my focus is on giant flowered fuchsias for 2015.

Fuchsias are the star players of summer. You don’t need to be a skilled gardener to be able to recognise these iconic garden plants. I add all manner of unusual flowering plants to my seasonal displays, hoping to impress guests and visitors, but it is always the colourful blousy fuchsia blooms that get pointed out – even by friends who have little to no interest in gardening and can’t normally tell a sweet pea from a broad bean!

With so many fuchsia varieties to grow (more than 3,600!) it wasn’t until two years ago that I got around to trying my first ever giant flowering variety and wow was I impressed – sumptuous blooms 3 to 4 times the size I was used to.  The plant even made it through its first winter outside with no protection from frost, snow or winter rain.

I was left disappointed in the second year however, the plant just failed to put on the large flowers I hoped to see return. Despite regular feeding, only the first flush of flowers impressed – subsequent blooms were little bigger than you’d see on normal varieties.  Lesson learnt – treat giant flowered fuchsias as annuals despite their tolerance to winter conditions – order new plants every year!

giant fuchsias

So this year I’ll be starting fresh with the Thompson & Morgan Fuchsia ‘Giants Collection’ – a turbo-charged mix, guaranteed to put on a stunning display of frilly bi-colour flowers.  Outside the collection I’ll also aim to grow Fuchsia ‘White King’ for a bit of pure elegance amongst all that colour.

All offer a compact trailing habit making them perfect for hanging baskets and window boxes, so I’ll be setting at least one plant per hanging basket as the star attractions of my summer container display.

Hardy Fuchsia

There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. There is a lovely range of hardy fuchsias in the market, many with different colour foliage and form.

hardy fuchsiaFuchsia Genii is a more unusual fuchsia variety, with distinctive yellow foliage. The flowers have inky blue petals backed by magenta tepals, and these blooms are set against golden, glowing foliage. Genii is an easy to grow shrub that will grow happily in sun or part-shade giving your borders a magnificent display.

Fuchsia Hawkshead is a customer favourite and has been awarded RHS Garden Merit. Hawkshead is an upright and bushy cultivar which blooms non-stop from early summer to autumn making a lovely addition to your beds and borders.

 

hardy fuchsiaNew and exclusive to Thompson & Morgan is Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’, the best climbing fuchsia you will grow. The vigorous upright stems can extend by up to 1.5m (5ft) in a single season, making it perfect for covering walls, fences, arches and obelisks.

How to care for hardy fuchsia plants in winter

Hardy fuchsia plants are ideal for growing in sheltered borders all year round. These cultivars range from neat compact varieties such as Fuchsia ‘Tom Thumb’ that reaches just 30cm (12″) tall, up to Fuchsia magellanica which can reach a colossal height and spread of 3m (10’) in ideal conditions. Hardy fuchsias are best planted deeply in the ground to protect the crown during cold winter weather. Further winter protection can be provided by applying a deep mulch of bark chips, leaf mould or straw in late autumn each year.

Fuchsias – The Big Bloomers

At Thompson & Morgan, we have been selling plants for over 20 years now, including thousands, if not millions, of fuchsias! Our customers love a good fuchsia; from the small-flowered, table top style to the glorious trailing varieties. But, for now, we’re talking about the ‘big Daddies’ of the fuchsia world; the giant-flowered trailers!

fuchsias

They may look fancy, exotic and drenched in colour, but the giant-flowered fuchsias are actually English-bred, and guaranteed to perform in our ever-changeable English climate! As easy to grow as any other fuchsia, they’ll feel most at home in a dappled, shady corner, so are ideal for jazzing up a front door or garage that doesn’t get the sun!

fuchsias

Each bloom is filled out by an extra layer or two of petals, giving flamboyance and a bloom that swells to almost 6 inches in diameter! Some of my favourite varieties include the dark, mysterious ‘Voodoo’, the playful, brightly coloured ‘Cecile’ and marbled ‘Bicentennial’. The key to more fuchsia blooms is an early pinching of your plants. But, don’t get over-zealous with this, just 2 pinches will be enough.

The blooms can be twice the size of a standard fuchsia flower such as ‘Swingtime’, and you’re sure to love them! Bear in mind you might get a few less blooms than the usual trailing fuchsias, but this is only because each bloom is bigger and they take up more space! But, I urge you to try some for yourself, giant-flowered types aren’t ready available in the garden centres, so snap some up while you can!

My Fuchsia Experience so far – by Lucas Hatch

fuchsia festivalLast year I bought the Thompson & Morgan Fuchsia ‘Giant Collection’. It included some of the biggest fuchsia flowers I had ever seen, Bella Rosella, Bicentennial, Quasar, Seventh Heaven and voodoo. It amazed me how quickly they grew and how well they flowered.

Why I love fuchsias

I like how fuchsias look very exotic especially the ones with variegated blooms. The standard fuchsias look great and give added height to flower beds. I like fuchsias because they are not too difficult to take cuttings from, but they need good attention daily. I would recommend you buy the garden ready plants.

Lucas HatchTop tips on growing your fuchsias

You will need to use good compost like the standard multipurpose compost, with plenty of grit to improve drainage, or John Innes No.1.

When you come to potting your fuchsias up, I recommend that you add some of Thompson & Morgan’s Incredibloom®. I had great success with this product when I was preparing petunias for my show garden last year – masses of blooms!

To encourage the development of bushy side shoots and to be covered in summer flowers, it is essential to pinch out the soft growing tips of the fuchsia plant. I had read somewhere if you pinch out the tips a couple of times, it will stop the plants becoming too leggy and continue an abundance of flowers through into autumn. This really needs to be done April-June. It just takes a few minutes per plant.

If you want to grow in a greenhouse or a conservatory, make sure you don’t crowd them to allow ventilation. Make sure your greenhouse or conservatory is well ventilated in warm weather, and make sure you don’t over-water them. If they are grown in a greenhouse or conservatory, check regularly for fungal and insect attack and treat as appropriately. Remember always to dead head your fuchsias to prolong the flowering period.

In the future I am keen to try some other varieties. I will let you know how I get on.

How to grow fuchsias

There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. These exotic looking beauties are firm favourites for their pendant flowers in a wonderful range of colour combinations. Fuchsias may be deciduous or evergreen depending on their variety and growing conditions. They’re versatile too, growing happily in sun or semi shade. These hard working shrubs will flower virtually all summer long, filling borders, beds, window boxes, hanging baskets and patio containers – in fact, they will bring colour to almost any position that you can think of.

FuchsiaHow to grow Fuchsias

Pot up fuchsia plug plants using a good quality, well drained compost such as John Innes No.3, and grow them on in warm, frost-free conditions. Trailing fuchsia plug plants may be planted directly into baskets, window boxes and containers. These should also be grown on in warm, frost free conditions until they are well developed.

Pinch out the growing tips of each plant while they are still small to promote bushier growth and more flowers. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise fuchsia plants to outdoor conditions over a 7 to 10 day period, before moving them (or planting them out) in their final positions. Watch our helpful video to learn how to pinch out Fuchsia stems.

Fuchsias are very versatile and can be grown in sun or semi shade in any fertile, moist well drained soil, although they will appreciate some shade during the hottest part of the day. Choose a position that offers shelter from cold, drying winds.

When growing hardy fuchsias in the ground they are best planted so that the base of the stem is 5cm (2″) below the soil surface. This will help to protect the crown of the plant during cold winter weather.

Feeding and watering fuchsias

Water fuchsias regularly to maintain moist, but not waterlogged conditions. Fuchsias that are grown in containers will need frequent watering depending on the size of the container and weather conditions. Hanging baskets should be watered at least once a day during hot summer weather. Fuchsias that are planted directly into borders will become more self sufficient once established.

Although many fuchsia plants are naturally floriferous, it is well worth feeding them every few weeks throughout the summer, especially those grown in hanging baskets and containers. Use a soluble fertiliser such as Chempak Fuchsia Feed. Regular feeding will encourage an endless supply of flowers and frequent deadheading will also prolong the flowering period.

Fuchsia Festival at Driftwood

It’s like a fuchsia festival every summer in my garden! I have been collecting them since inheriting 2 standard specimens from family members, one from my Aunt, Margaret Grindrod, in 2004 (plant pictured in 2005 on left) and one from my father, Ron Stonebanks, in 2007, (plant pictured in  2007 on right).  My own enjoyment of fuchsias has clearly stemmed from these very first two. Dad and Auntie Margaret can be seen, sat together in my courtyard garden in North London, back in 2003 before we moved to Bishopstone, the following year.

fuchsias at driftwood

They had been very keen gardeners themselves, so after their deaths, I needed to make sure the plants did well and lived on in my new garden here on the south coast. Dad’s, I am led to believe is an Empress of Prussia and my Aunt’s a Geneii. My mother tells me that my Dad had bought the standard Empress for their ruby wedding anniversary back in 1990. Today, I still have both their original plants and have since propagated many specimens from them to either sell on when I open for the National Gardens Scheme every summer, or indeed to plant additional specimens in my own amazing garden, Driftwood.

fuchsia winston churchillIn addition to their original plants, I probably now have over 20  different fuchsias and maybe over 50 different plants, a mixture of trailing, standard and bushes both in the ground, in pots or raised beds! Some hardy and some not! They are the perfect addition to my coastal garden and one in particular, Winston Churchill. This variety thrives really well in my front garden, which directly faces the sea and takes the brunt of the salt laden winds we have here! You can see it protected by the upturned railway sleepers acting as wind breaks.

fuchsia festivalThe back garden has been described as an exuberant yet immaculate seaside garden, split into several garden rooms. It has an eclectic palette, creating a layered tapestry of coloured plantings, beautifully integrating wooden and rusted metal features with the landscape. The heavy, dense plantings (over 600 plants) with no lawn and no exposed soil create an illusion of a much bigger garden. Fuchsias delicate and intricate blooms have always drawn attention from the 10000 plus visitors to the garden in recent years. They love a story and to hear the provenance of the plants, so the one to tell of the Empress of Prussia and Geneii, go down very well. In the picture to the left, you can see one of the Geneii here on the left an Empress on the right with magellicana versicolour centre and Quasar and Pink Temptation in the foreground and Riccartonii in the background! To the right, a flower from Empress of Prussia.

 

In 2013 Thompson and Morgan sent me some Duke of Wellington plugs and 3 are doing really well in the garden now and are very easy to grow and seem to cope well with what the weather throws at them here. As is the stunning Quasar that were sent as a trial plant in 2014. Their enormous blooms making a real statement in any garden.  I also inherited some lovely terracotta wall pots from my Aunt as well and each summer I plant them up with two of my favourite fuchsias, Pink Temptation (a bushy, trailing and floriferous fuchsia with bright, fresh looking flowers) and  Lena ( a medium-sized deciduous shrub of open habit ) They seem to flower all summer long and look so dramatic tumbling out over the wall creating a stunning display of mini ballerinas!

fuchsia duke of wellington

That said, another pretty bloom that looks great in wall pots tumbling down is Ballet Girl which I have had in the garden for the last 3 years! It really is amazing the different colour palettes to be had with fuchsias. Another pretty one we’ve had for a few years is Miss California, another that does not seem to mind the weather conditions down here on the coast! A great coloured variety that looks great in any bed, mine are grown in a raised bed and large pot, are Lady in Black with stunning dark flower heads! No matter what the type, the bees seem to love fuchsias and flock to them in the garden each summer.

fuchsia variety

Last summer I decided to create a bed dominated by fuchsias as they just do not let you down with their beautiful, long lasting displays in the garden! The 2 images above are  Ballet Girl and Duke of Wellington. Other beds last summer had  mixes of Riccartonni,  Lady Boothby, Empress of Prussia, and Lady in Black, which looked amazing all through the summer.

fuchsia varietyLast year I bought a new hardy fuchsia, Versicolour Magellicana and put one in the front garden and one in a raised bed in the back garden and both have done really well flowering prolifically until the first frosts! Here you can see it dominate the raised bed with a Quasar and Pink Temptation in the foreground.

I would have no hesitation in recommending fuchsias to any garden owner wanting long lasting and interesting colour in their garden in 2015. There are so many to choose from that there can be no question of not being able to match the colour palette you want to create.

 

So come gardeners across the UK go out and plant some stunning fuchsias for the Thompson & Morgan Fuchsia Festival 2015!

Fuchsias

It’s the beginning of Thompson & Morgan’s Fuchsia Festival; and we think you’re heading for a long, colourful and care-free summer!

In the UK, we know fuchsias quite well. Even if you’re a non-gardener, I bet you’ll have had a grandma or uncle who grew fuchsias of some kind in their garden. They are the quintessential English garden plant; for any area of the garden, sun or shade; they will sit quietly and do their thing, with minimum fuss, and often producing flowers up until the first signs frosts.

Fuchsia-Swingtime

Fuchsia ‘Swingtime’

Let me take you on a tour of the fuchsia garden, right now! First up, think about adorning the walls of your house, whether it’s with hanging baskets or window-boxes. The trailing fuchsias really come into their own for this; we have the traditional varieties such as Swingtime, Marinka and Dark Eyes, which are still much-loved and purchased in their 1000’s every year. But, the newer kids on the block are gaining momentum too. Our Giants Collection is UK-bred, so you know these plants will perform during any UK summer! The blooms are 4-6 inches across, unapologetically showy and they drip like expensive jewellery from the cascading plants.

fuchsia bella collection

Fuchsia ‘Bella Nora’

Window boxes shouldn’t be overlooked either, and our new Fuchsia ‘Bella’ range is ideal. The dinky blooms are produced in their hundreds, and are upward and outward facing, so aren’t nestled in the foliage. Pot some up into small pots and sit them onto outdoor tables. We expect this range of fuchsias to grow over the next few years; they’re naturally bushy, zero maintenance and there’s many more colours to come!

Fuchisa-hawkshead

Fuchsia Hawkshead

Don’t forget to dress the patio too; there’s a range of bushy fuchsias which are compact and adorned with jewel-like blooms throughout the summer; I love Hawkshead, which can also be grown in the garden as a mini hedge. The dainty blooms are pure white, and quite different to the loud basket fuchsias. The hardy fuchsias are also great for large patio pots, or the border. Shrimp Cocktail and Delta’s Sarah are the pick of the bunch, with fun, colourful blooms. They’re almost like miniature shrubs for the border too; easy to prune and lasting for years!

Fuchsia-Pink-Fizz

Fuchsia Pink Fizz

Lastly, and how could we forget, we have climbing fuchsias, which can fit in towards the back of the border, covering fences, walls, or even for growing over archways and up patio obelisks. Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ is brand new, English-bred and grows up to 6 foot in a single season. Try something different to Clematis and Honeysuckle!

So, that’s our little fuchsia garden tour, what do you think? Will you be growing some this season?

The Fuchsia Festival

We will be celebrating all things fuchsia in 2015 with a filled fuchsia festival calendar of online activities running right through to autumn. We have top growing advice from our experts, exciting blogs from customers and staff and on top of that we are launching more than 20 new fuchsia varieties to inspire UK gardeners into using fuchsias more effectively in their summer garden.

We would love all our customers to be a part of the festival by sharing their passion and growing experiences throughout the growing season.

“We’re hoping to build an online community of fuchsia fanatics all eager to share their tips and show off their plants via our Facebook and Twitter feeds and our blogging community. The fuchsia has a firm place in the hearts, and gardens, of our customers thanks to endless summer flowering, ability to grow in sun or shade, and their relaxed attitude to whatever the UK weather throws at them! We’ve chosen to celebrate these garden favourites throughout 2015! We’ve got some fantastic new varieties to show off, growing tips to share, as well as some exciting give-aways and competitions”. New Product Development Manager, Michael Perry.

Our fuchsia range includes several exclusive varieties that can’t be found anywhere else. From window box to giant varieties, there’s something for every gardener. One of our favourite picks is Fuchsia ‘Bella Sophia’. This new variety is unlike any traditional fuchsia. The blooms of the innovative ‘Bella’ range have outward and upward facing flowers, meaning no more hidden blooms!

fuchsia bella sophia

Fuchsia ‘Bella Sophia’

Up next, we have a blog by expert Michael Perry where he will share with you his love for fuchsias. From January onwards we will be providing practical fuchsia articles, how-to videos from experts, customers and British Fuchsia Society members.

Five reasons fuchsias are fabulous:

1)     Great for hanging baskets and Tower Pots

2)     Weather-proof. They’ll perform come rain or shine

3)     Many shapes and sizes

4)     Long-lasting – they’ll keep going right through to the winter frosts

5)     Easy to grow – they’ll perform with minimal fuss and attention

 

Do you want to take part? Then get in touch web@thompson-morgan.com

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