A Beginner's Guide to Growing and Caring For Fuchsia Plant

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by Max - last update on July 30, 2019, 5:40 am
Fuchsia Plant

Fuchsia plants create beautiful two-toned draping flowers that last from spring through fall, but they need to be well-taken care of regarding frequent waterings and protection from too much sun and too low or too high temperatures.

We'll go into more details about how to take of this stunning plant below.

Quick Facts

OriginSouth and Central America
Scientific Name:Fuchsia
Common NamesFuchsia
FamilyOnagraceae
TypePerennial flowering shrub or small tree
WateringMaintain moist soil
LightPartial sunlight with afternoon shade
Height2 feet
HumidityAverage humidity
ToxicNon-toxic
PestsAphids, caterpillars, thrips, vine weevil, fuchsia gall mites, whitefly

Varieties

There are over one hundred different varieties of Fuchsia, with cultivated types running into the thousands (Better Homes and Gardens). Different varieties can be more or less tolerant of some conditions, so it should be possible to seek out a variety that is perfectly suited to your climate. Some of the most popular varieties include: Hardy Fuchsia, Swingtime Fuchsia, Aurea Fuchsia, Tree Fuchsia, Paniculata Fuchsia

Watering

The level of water required by a Fuchsia can differ depending on the cultivar, but in general, Fuchsias need to be kept in continually moist soil. You need to strike a good balance between too much and too little water because although Fuchsia’s like moist soil, they do not like wet or waterlogged soil. They key to this is knowing when to add more water and when to refrain, but also to ensure that your Fuchsias are planted in well-draining soil so that any excess water will be able to drain away and not lead to root rot in your plant.

A good way to know when to add more water is simply to dip your finger into the top of the soil. If the soil is dry to the touch, then you can water the plant, but if you can still feel moisture in the soil, then it does not need to be watered again just yet. The frequency with which your Fuchsia will need water will depend on both the conditions it is growing in, and whether it is planted in a container or directly in the ground.

As with most plants, the weather has a big impact on how often you should water your Fuchsia. Hot and dry summers will mean you need to water the plant more frequently, whereas cooler climates with some rainfall will need less watering. Fuchsias planted in containers will need more frequent watering than those planted directly in the ground, as their roots cannot seek out extra moisture and are reliant solely on the moisture contained within the pot. It is not unusual to have to water your Fuchsias daily or even twice a day during the height of summer, though you should water based on the condition of the soil, and not a watering schedule.

Once Fuchsias are established, those planted in the ground will survive on less frequent waterings, though those planted in containers will continue to need consistently moist soil (Royal Horticultural Society).

Temperature

Fuchsia flowers in vintage garden

Fuchsias are exotic plants native to Central and South America, where temperatures are typically high. Because of this, Fuchsia plants thrive in warm climates and cannot tolerate low temperatures. They will need to be brought inside before the first frost arrives to be overwintered indoors. You have two options on how to approach this. First, you can move your Fuchsia plant inside and allow its light and heat to keep it alive and enjoy the plant in your home over winter.

Alternatively, you can encourage your Fuchsia to enter dormancy over winter. To do this, place the plant in a dark place, such as a basement or garage, and reduce waterings down to around once a month. The temperature should be maintained at around 50º F. During its dormancy, the plant will not flower but will remain alive. It will undergo very little growth, if any, and will be storing up energy ready for the next growing season.

Around a month before the last expected frost, you should prune your plant back to around half its size and gradually allow it more indirect daylight to prepare it for returning back outside. After the final frost, it can be moved back outside to its original position and continue care as normal.

Humidity

Fuchsias can be quite picky when it comes to humidity. If humidity is continually very high, then they will decline and eventually die, whereas very dry air can be a problem too. Average humidity levels will be best for this plant, so if your local climate is very dry, then a regular misting spray will help to keep these plants in good condition.

Light

Beautiful fuchsia flowers hanging from the pot under the sunlight

Most Fuchsia’s do not appreciate being in full sun conditions. Too much direct sun will cause their flowers to wilt and drop. Instead, allow the plant some direct sun ideally in the morning when it is not at its strongest, and then, protect the plant from the afternoon sun with some shade. The temperature of soil will also have a bearing on how much sun the plant can tolerate.

Fuchsia plants like to have cool soil, and when this is achieved, they can tolerate more sun. Fuchsias with hot soil will struggle to thrive in the sun, and instead should be grown in the shade. Fuchsias in containers will typically have hotter soil than those grown in the ground, and the type of container can affect soil temperature too. Plastic containers get hotter than terracotta ones, so Fuchsia plants kept in plastic containers will likely be better positioned in full to partial shade.

Propagation

Fuchsia plants can be easily propagated with stem cuttings. The ideal time to take a cutting is during spring, but they can be taken right up until fall for successful propagation. Take a new growth cutting of between two and four inches, pinching it off above a set of leaves. Remove the lowest pair of leaves and insert the raw end of the stem directly into a moist growing medium. You can dip the stem into a rooting hormone to encourage rooting if you wish, but Fuchsias tend to root easily, and this step isn’t necessary. Put the pot in a bright and warm location such as a windowsill. The cuttings should root within four weeks.

Pruning

If desired, Fuchsia plants can be pruned into a particular shape, but otherwise, you will only need to prune dead or damaged growth. Flowers will only appear on new growth. Therefore it is safe to prune any old growth without risking a loss of new blooms. Pruning the plant will actually encourage flower production.

Flowering

Fuchsia flower

What makes Fuchsia plants so popular are their exotic-looking flowers that bloom all summer long. The typically appear in early or mid-spring, and will persist right through to fall. The flowers themselves are an unusual shape, in a delicate draping style with two-tone coloring. They are quite showy and make beautiful displays in hanging baskets, as well as when grown as shrubs or small trees.

Common Pests and Diseases

Keep a close eye on your Fuchsia plant for pests of diseases; these are always easier to clear up when caught early. Common pests on Fuchsia’s include:

  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Thrips
  • Vine weevil
  • Fuchsia gall mites
  • Whitefly

Diseases to watch out for include the following.

Fuchsia rust. This can be diagnosed by the telltale orange pustules, which typically affect leaves. Remove any infected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide. This is the most deadly disease for Fuchsias.

Gray mold (botrytis). This is a gray and fluffy mold that occurs on dense plants or those grown in dark conditions. Fungicide is the best treatment for this disease.

How much luck have you had growing Fuchsia plants? Do you have any other tips for our readers? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to share this page with other exotic flower enthusiasts!

A Beginner's Guide to Growing and Caring For Fuchsia Plant

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