About Fuchsias

Overview

The Fuchsia is of the Onagraceae family and the genus Fuchsia. The genus takes its name from Leonhard Fuchs (1501-1566) and was so-named in 1703. The Fuchsia is a shrub native to South America, Central America and New Zealand. It grows best in warm climates, zones 9 to 11 in the United States. The flowers may be purple, red or pink and generally hang down. As of 2009, approximately 110 species of Fuchsia had been identified.

Planting Fuchsias

You can buy Fuchsia as a potted plant or as a dormant plant. For potted plants, dig a planting hole that is twice the width of the root-ball and as deep as the pot. Center the Fuchsia in the planting hole and back-fill with soil. Depending on the species of Fuchsia and the type of soil you have, you may need to amend the soil (pH 5.5 to 7.5). Refer to the growing tag that comes with the Fuchsia for amendments. Water the newly planted Fuchsia. Mulch the Fuchsia with 3 inches of mulch or compost. If you have a dormant plant, soak the roots in a bucket of water for at least eight hours. Make the planting hole wide enough to spread the roots out at the bottom of the hole. For the depth, look at the plant---you will usually see discoloration to show how deeply the plant was previously planted. Use the discoloration to determine the depth of the planting hole. Fill the hole with water, center the Fuchsia in the planting hole, then back-fill with soil. Mulch the Fuchsia with 3 inches of mulch or compost.

Pests

Thrips---small, winged insects---attack Fuchsias during hot, dry conditions. You can control them with sticky strips and pesticides. Spider mites also attack Fuchsias. Treat them with miticides, but if you keep weeds at bay, you'll help to keep these pests away from your Fuchsias. Mealybugs are also a common Fuchsia pest. Introduce lady beetles to the Fuchsias, because they are the mealybugs' natural enemy. If the lady beetles do not eliminate the mealybugs, you can spray your plants with insecticides.

Fungus and Disease

Fuchsias contract verticillium wilt from infected seed, old plant leaves or infected soil. The fungus starts in the cool, moist season. To keep it from spreading, prune out infected plants and do not use nitrogen-heavy fertilizer. Rusts and powdery mildew are also common fungi that attack the Fuchsia. Keeping weeds under control, watering from the bottom and using fungicides control rusts and powdery mildew. Always remove infected plants, even when treating, to better control the problems.

Watering

Water the Fuchsia with at least an inch of water per week. The soil should be well-draining. Always water deeply, because shallow watering keeps the plant weak.

Fertilizer

Fertilize the Fuchsia during the first year with a phosphorus-based fertilizer to encourage the Fuchsia to root well. Each year after, fertilize in the spring with flowering shrub and tree fertilizer. The Fuchsia is a shrub, so only needs to be fertilized with a good fertilizer once in the spring.

Keywords: fuchsias, fuchsia, shrubs

About this Author

Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.