Hardy fuchsia plants are excellent all-rounders, showcasing a fabulous range of flower forms throughout the season. From delicate four-petalled blooms to blowsy giants, they’re a great way to brighten up gloomy or problem areas of your garden. Here, T&M blogger Caroline Broome explains how she put her two newest fuchsias to excellent use…
Hardy Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’
I think hardy fuchsias are the unsung heroes of the shady garden. I’ve had the same Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’ shrub for nearly twenty years now. It came with us when we moved to our present house 17 years ago, and when it got too big for its space 2 years ago, we moved it to a larger site. It now thrives, giving us a profusion of delicate pinky cream tear-drop flowers on its 4ft high frame every summer.
Mind you, moving it was no mean feat! We waited until the end of March (the worst frosts are pretty much over by then in London) and with fingers firmly crossed, cut all its ½ inch thick stems back to 6 inch stumps. The root ball was 18 inches wide and it took both of us to shift it 10ft to its new home. David had to use a pickaxe to dig it up and then again to dig its new hole, our soil being solid clay by 8 inches down. But within 1 month, small green shoots were appearing around the base and it looked fantastic!
I can’t think of many plants that provide so much interest for up to 6 months of the year. Especially in inhospitable and difficult conditions like dry shade, where they often require very little attention. All I do is cut ours back to about 20cm from ground level in late March, and apply some specialised T&M granular fuchsia fertiliser and manure mulch. I water the base of the plant thoroughly about once a week or every ten days throughout the growing season. If it gets too large, I trim it back to fit its space. As it flowers most of the way down the stem, this doesn’t affect its performance. I’ve partnered it up with Abelia grandiflora ‘Edward Goucher’, which mirrors it in size and colour.
Half-hardy Fuchsia ‘Springtime’
This autumn I planted Fuchsia ‘Swingtime’, by contrast a miniature half-hardy bush. At about 18 inches high and 18 inches wide, it’s still flowering in winter in semi-shade. Fuchsia ‘Swingtime’ produces large white and pink flowers, which look lovely paired with the cool white and green foliage of my Pittosporum. The shelter of surrounding evergreens and a trellis in well-drained and mulched soil should be enough to keep the shrub insulated from frost, but that depends on what this January brings. Watch this space!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this excellent blog post about fuchsias. Visit our fuchsias hub page for more resources to help with growing and caring for your fuchsia plants. Remember to share your fuchsias with us over on our social channels. We love seeing your gardens!
By Caroline Broome.
Caroline Broome has been gardening for more than 20 years. Having passed the RHS General Certificate, she has since developed her East Finchley garden into a “personal paradise” that she and her husband invite the public to visit each year via the National Garden Scheme. Learn more about our contributor using T&M’s ‘Meet the experts’ page.