Many of us have small yards or no yards, just a patio or balcony, and not a lot of sunlight. While this might not be great for growing veggies, we can have lots of colorful flowers if we know which ones to plant. Fuchsias are one of my favorites. The plants come in upright and hanging forms and the flowers have such beautiful colors and interesting shapes. They are actually pretty easy to grow, if you plant them in the right spot and follow these tips.
Where to Plant Fuchsias
Fuchsias like morning sun or all day dappled shade. Protect them from wind and hot afternoon sun by planting in a sheltered location. They prefer moist soil so apply mulch (2″ – 3″ deep) to conserve moisture. They are great plants for containers. I grow mine in pots under the trees in my yard. This gives them the dappled shade they like and brightens up the area under the trees where not much will grow in the ground due to the tree roots. I use clay pots rather than plastic because plastic pots heat up faster and fuchsias don’t like ‘hot feet’. If you plant your fuchsias in hanging baskets (which look amazing!), you’ll need to water them more often. Note that fuchsias planted in the ground can tolerate more heat than those in pots or baskets (pots heat up faster).
How to Plant Fuchsias
When planting in the ground make sure that the soil drains well, fuchsias do not like ‘wet feet’. Dig a hole as deep as the container the plant comes in and twice as wide. Mix soil amendment and fertilizer into the excavated soil. Place the plant into the hole and back fill with amended soil. Water well.
If your soil does not drain well (ie: clay), plant fuchsias in pots. Choose a good quality acid potting mix and a good size container (I like 14″ or so). Of course, it must have drainage holes.
‘Pinching Back’ Fuchsias
Fuchsias bloom on new growth only. In February, cut back the plants to encourage new growth and vigorous branching. For upright and shrub types, cut back by a third or up to one half for young vigorous plants. For hanging basket types, cut to 4″ above the soil. Clean all fallen leaves and flowers from the soil surface and discard. Freshen pots and baskets by digging out about 1/4 of the soil around the edges (it’s ok to get some roots) and replace with new acid potting mix. Once the plant has made three pairs of new leaves, pinch off the top pair to make the plant branch more. More branches equals more flowers! Pinch off spent blooms to encourage continued flowering.
Feed Me, Water Me!
Fuchsias are heavy feeders. Fertilize in February after you prune and monthly while they are blooming, always follow fertilizer package instructions for how much to use.
Water fuchsias regularly. Do not let them dry out but do not over water either. Soggy soil can result in root rot.