Fuchsias occur in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes. There are hundreds of named varieties of F. hybrida, with the familiar bell-shaped flowers hanging from the stems. These blooms may be single, semi-double or double, with colour combinations of white, pink, red or purple. A collection of these hybrids can provide blooms from spring to fall, and some experts regard the Fuchsia as the most satisfactory of all flowering house outdoor plants.
Unfortunately nearly all of the outdoor plants bought for home decoration or as gifts are consigned to the dustbin once flowering stops and the leaves begin to fall. It is, however, quite easy to overwinter the plant in a cool room.
The leaves will fall but growth begins again in the spring and with proper care the plant can be kept for many years. Flowers are borne on new growth, so cut back the stems in early spring just before growth begins.
Regular training and pruning are necessary to keep the plant free-flowering and shapely. With young plants pinch out the stem tips to promote bushy growth, and with flowering plants remove dead blooms to induce bud formation.
Types of Fuchsias
Fuchsia hybrida is deservedly a popular house plant. There are hundreds of named hybrids – in nearly all cases the colour is derived from both the showy sepals and petals, which may or may not be the same colour. These are the familiar Fuchsia flowers – single, semi-double or double bells on soft-stemmed bushes. To induce bushiness, pinch out the tip after 3 sets of leaves have formed. When each of the resulting side shoots has developed 3 sets of leaves, repeat the pinching-out operation. Remove dead flowers to promote bud formation.
In addition to the familiar hooped-skirt types, there are the Clustered Hybrids or Honeysuckle Fuchsias, generally derived from F. triphylla. Here the colour of the bloom comes from the sepals – the petals are either insignificant or absent.
Fuchsias are usually grown as bushes, although the trailing types are widely used in hanging baskets. Examples of trailing Fuchsias include Marinka (red), Golden Marinka (red, variegated foliage), Red Ribbons (white and red) and Pink Galore (pink).
Secrets of success
Temperature: Cool or average warmth – plant may suffer if temperature exceeds 70*F.
Light: Bring light away from direct sunshine.
Water: Keep compost moist at all times from spring to fall. Water sparingly in winter.
Repotting: Repot in spring every year.
Propagation: Take stem cuttings in spring or summer. Use a rooting hormone.