FUCHSIA CULTIVATION TECHNIQUES

No one can decry the beauty of the Fuchsia in flower – beautiful pendent bells with swept-back sepals in a choice of colours. White, mauve, violet, cream, red, pink… often with two or even three colours on a single bloom. magellanica and its varieties belong in the shrub border and are dealt with in The Tree & Shrub Expert.hybrida derived from complex crosses involving F. magellanica, F. fulgens and several other species.

These hybrids are not difficult to grow, and have an outstandingly long Flowering period: – from March to October under glass and from July to October or even later outdoors. There are pests and diseases, of course, as with all living things but the Fuchsia is generally a healthy plant when grown under good conditions. The real problem is hardiness – some varieties are tender and need to be kept indoors for their whole life span in order to flower to their full extent. At the other end of the scale there are many varieties which with proper management will survive outdoors, although frost may cut down the top growth each winter. Between the two are the bedding varieties which will flourish and flower in the garden if planted outdoors in late May or early June and then brought indoors for the winter.

A beautiful flower, then, but it may seem strange that it has been singled out for inclusion with the Hobby Plants. It is not as popular outdoors as the Sweet Pea, the Tulip, the Carnation, etc – all of which have been omitted. Although it does indeed fall down in universal popularity, the Fuchsia does have many of the other attributes of the Hobby Plant. There are innumerable varieties with a complex classification. There is much to learn about flower forms, growth habits and hardiness, and their cultivation can either be easy or exacting – depending on the effect desired. There are varieties and techniques for almost all situations – rockery, flower bed, hanging basket, windowsill, greenhouse or conservatory. You can grow it as a bush or turn it into a standard or pyramid – no wonder its devotees show such enthusiasm. There is a British Fuchsia Society – join if the Fuchsia bug bites you.

Calyx of sepals

Tube

Stamens

Style

DOUBLE ‘Alice Hoffman’ ‘Fascination’ ‘Lena’ ‘Pink Galore’ ‘R.A.F.’ ‘Swingtime’

FLOWER FORMS

SINGLE ‘Bon Accord’ ‘Brutus’ ‘Cascade’ ‘Citation ‘Mission Bells’ ‘Marinka’

The colour of the flower is generally derived from the4sepals and the cluster of petals. In the Single varieties there are 4 petals – in the Double varieties there are many more. Between the two in petal number are the Semi-double varieties. Shapes and sizes vary – the usual bloom is 2-4 in. long with wide-open sepalsandadistinct corolla tube. In ‘Snowcap’ the sepals are short and not reflexed-in ‘Avocef they are long and completely reflexed. The Clustered Fuchsias do not have the standard open-bell pattern – here the colour is derived from the long tube and the back of the sepals. The corolla is insignificant or absent.

CLUSTERED ‘Thalia’

F. corymbiflora

F. fulgens

F. triphylla

SEMI-DOUBLE ‘Snowcap’ ‘Satellite’ ‘Margaret’ ‘Texas Longhorn’ ‘Tennessee Waltz’ ‘Pink Flamingo’

LOCATION

OUTDOORS

BED or BORDER Examples: ‘Brilliant’ (scarlet sepals, magenta corolla), ‘Peggy King’ (red sepals, purple corolla), ‘Mrs Popple’ (red sepals, purple corolla), ‘Brutus’ (red sepals, purple corolla), ‘Tennessee Waltz’ (pink sepals, lilac corolla) and ‘Mme Comelissen’ (red sepals, white corolla).

BEDDING

Treat as a summer bedding plant – plant in the garden when all danger of frost is past and take indoors before the first frosts of winter Examples: ‘Avocet’ (red sepals, white corolla), ‘Bon Accord’ (white sepals, lilac corolla), ‘Royal Velvet’ (red sepals, purple corolla), ‘Snowcap’ (red sepals, white corolla), ‘Satellite’ (red sepals, white corolla), ‘Ting-a-ling’ (white sepals and corolla), ‘Mission Bells’ (red sepals, purple corolla), ‘Fascination’(deeppinksepals,palepinkcorolla),’Dollar Princess’(red sepals, lilaccorolla),’Heidi Ann’(red sepals, mauve corolla),’Rufusthe Red’(red sepalsand corolla),’Checkerboard’(red and whitesepals.redcorolla),’Display’(pinksepals,deeppinkcorolla)and’R.A.F.’(red sepals, palepink corolla).

GREENHOUSE

Not really suitable for outdoors – best treated as an indoor plant Examples: ‘Winston Churchill’ (deep pink sepals, purple corolla), ‘Candlelight’ (white sepals, mauve corolla), ‘Texas Longhorn’ (red sepals, white corolla), ‘Jack French’ (red sepals, purple corolla) and ‘Sophisticated Lady’ (pale pink sepals, white corolla).

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