Botanical Name: Fuchsia x hybrida
Good fuchsia plant care will reward you with a long-blooming season. Whether you put these gorgeous flowers indoors or on your shaded patio -- you'll enjoy their magnificent blooms from spring through late fall. And they're perennials, so you can keep them year after year.
The blooms are spectacular, with 4 flared sepals (that's the top part of the bloom) often in a contrasting color to the bell-shaped petals. The petals may be single, semi-double or double, with stamens and pistils extending from the blooms. Thousands of hybrids offer rich colors to choose from -- in any combination of white, pink, red, lavender, or purple.
Some varieties have an upright habit. But those most often sold in garden centers and nurseries are trailing -- making a cascading fuchsia basket.
Shed some (indirect) light. Fuchsias make easy indoor plants, if you can provide the bright light they need to grow. Place your fuchsia plant near a window, where it'll get filtered sunlight. Moving your plant outdoors for the summer will really help it to thrive. Just keep it in a shady spot and be sure to bring it back inside when the temperature drops below 45°F/7°C at night. Fuchsias won't tolerate frost.
Pinch your plant. In spring and early summer, pinch off growing tips to encourage the plant branch out. You'll have a fuller fuchsia plant this way. You can propagate those stem tips, if you want, for more plants.
Pruning tip: Prune stems in early spring to promote vigorous new growth and to give your plant and attractive shape. Take care not to cut off any flower buds while pruning. Use sharp pruners and cut at a 45° angle above a leaf axil.
Give it a rest. Fuchsias go dormant in winter. Keep your plant in a cool place (with a minimum of 45°F/7°C). Cut back on watering during this time, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
Repot every spring. Fuchsia plant blooms best when slightly pot-bound, and it has shallow roots, so don't be in a big hurry to move it to a larger pot. When the plant reaches the size you want, you can repot it in the same container, just to refresh the soil.
Out of 100 species and 1,000s of cultivars, Fuchsia x hybrida is most commonly grown for cultivation. It's a hybrid of Fuchsia magellanica and F. fulgens.
Newly purchased plants may drop their flowers when moved to a new location, so it's a good idea to choose a plant with plenty of unopened flower buds.
Many cultivars are available. Fuchsia 'Little Charmer' is a miniature variety -- ideal for an indoor plant. 'Cascade' is striking with white sepals and bright red petals... 'Checkerboard' has red and white sepals with red petals.
For hanging baskets...red-and-white 'Swingtime' and pink-and-lavender 'Starry Trail' are showy trailing fuchsias.
Origin: Mexico, Argentina and Chile
Height: Up to 3 ft (90 cm), dwarf varieties are much smaller.
Light: Bright light, but no direct sun.
Water: Water thoroughly spring through fall, keeping the soil evenly moist. Plants in hanging baskets dry out quickly, so check them often especially if they're outside. Cut back on watering in the winter, while the plant is dormant.
Humidity: Aim to maintain 40% relative humidity or higher. Leaf and flower drop is probably caused by dry, hot air. New plants that go from a humid greenhouse to a dry home are in shock and may shed its leaves and flowers. Move your fuchsia plant to a cooler spot and raise the humidity around it by placing the pot on a tray of wet pebbles.
Temperature: Keep it cool at night -- 50-55°F/10-13°C and warmer 60-70°F/16-21°C during the day. Give it a cool rest in winter with a minimum temperature of 45°F/7°C.
Soil: All-purpose good-quality potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer with balanced water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take 3 in (7 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring and root in moist potting mix.