The genus fuchsia encompasses many different plants, though all types require the same basic care. Fuchsia x hybrida, the most commonly grown variety, exhibits many attractive features, including ornamental flowers and pendulous stems. Because of the plant's tropical origins, it cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Gardeners in the United States typically grow the plants indoors. Blooming usually lasts several seasons in the wild, but indoor plants can only maintain blossoms for three to four months at a time.
Site and Soil
Fuchsia performs best in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight, such as an east-, south- or west-facing window. A fertile, well-drained potting soil provides the best growing medium. Fuchsia prefers cool temperatures, between 60 and 70 degrees F during the day, and an average of 10 degrees colder at night. Flowering ceases when temperatures rise above 76 degrees F, so monitor the plant's environment carefully.
Fuchsia grows best with soil kept consistently moist at all times. Checking the soil daily and watering when dry yields the best growth results. At each watering, apply enough water to thoroughly soak the growing medium, but not enough to allow standing water to accumulate. Draining excess moisture several minutes after watering helps prevent root rot and fungal diseases.
Fuchsia prefers moderate humidity, especially during extremely hot weather. When temperatures rise to 70 degrees F or higher, fuchsia benefits from misting twice a day, once during the morning and again in the early afternoon. As long as temperatures stay cool, the plant requires no extra humidity.
Fuschias are heavy feeders and require feeding with a complete 20-20-20 fertilizer once every two to four weeks during the spring and summer months. Read the instructions provided on the product label for proper dosage and application of the fertilizer. Because the plant requires a winter rest period, cease fertilizing in fall about two weeks prior to the first frost of the season. Resume the regular schedule the following spring to initiate new growth.
Fuchsia flower buds form on new growth, so cutting the plant back to about 6 inches in height in late winter results in numerous flowers the following season. To promote a bushy, thick growth habit, pinch each new shoot after it produces two sets of leaves. This promotes branching and yields a plant that fills the entire container.
Fuchsia plants require a winter dormancy period, which begins just after the first frost of fall. Transferring the plant to a cooler location, with regular temperatures around 45 to 50 degrees F, provides the proper environment. The plant uses less water during this period, so reducing watering to only when the soil almost dries out benefits the plant greatly. After winter ends, move the fuchsia plant back to its original location.