Hailing from South America, the colorful fuchsia shrub grows to a height of up to 50 feet, but most varieties only grow 10 to 15 feet tall, and many gardeners only use them as potted plants. The brightly-flowered shade-lover adds vibrant life to any backyard garden or houseplant collection and, with the right care, can provide years of enjoyment.
Selecting a Plant
When purchasing a plant from a garden store or nursery, gardeners should inspect it carefully. The best way to ensure a hassle-free fuchsia-growing experience is to start with healthy plants. Gardeners should choose a plant that has bright flowers and non-wilted leaves, according to Clemson University Extension. During the inspection process, individuals should also watch for insect pests on the axils of the plant's leaves (where the leaf meets the fuchsia stem).
Fuchsias require light to full shade. Full sun will dry out the plant's foliage and burn its delicate flowers.
When watering the fuchsia shrub, gardeners should ensure the soil is kept perpetually moist. This can be accomplished with frequent watering combined with mulching and stirring organic material, such as compost, into the soil. Due to their tropical background, fuchsias also thrive in slightly humid conditions. When watering, the gardener should also get the plant's foliage wet. On houseplants, a spray bottle can be used to regularly mist the plant's leaves.
Mites and Aphids
Fuchsias are often attacked by mites and aphids, such as the spider mite and the green peach aphid. Though they're small, these insects can cause significant damage if left untreated. An application of standard insecticidal soap, obtained from most garden stores and nurseries, will successfully eradicate the pests.
The shrub needs a high amount of soil-borne nutrients for optimum growth and blossom production. Clemon University Extension recommends applying a soluble, complete fertilizer every 14 to 28 days during the spring and summer. Administer the fertilizer according to its labeled guidelines, as potency varies by product.
Fuchsias can't handle cold temperatures and should be overwintered indoors if they're not already grown inside. Bring the plant indoors before your area's first frost date. The plant will automatically enter dormancy and watering can be tapered off starting in October, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.