With a name like fuchsia, you know the blooms on this plant have to be spectacular. This flowering beauty does not disappoint. Glossy green leaves cover pendulous, arching stems that droop to trumpet or bell shaped, frilly finial blooms. Bi-colored flowers in combinations of white, purple, pink, and red swing freely like jewelry adorning this wildly popular plant. Warm climate zones enjoy fuchsias as a perennial bedding plant. Typically an annual bedding plant in zones lower than 10, fuchsias may be treated as a perennial when grown in containers if overwintered properly.
Choose a bedding site with shade or filtered sunlight and protection from harsh afternoon sun. Containers should be placed in similar conditions, as the fuchsia is not heat tolerant.
Prepare the site or containers by ensuring good drainage. Choose pots with drainage holes and line hanging baskets with sphagnum moss. Fill containers with a good quality potting mix. Beds should be cultivated with organic matter, such as composted pine bark, to provide soil nutrients.
Plant fuchsias close together in containers to provide a fuller and more pleasing look as they mature. Fuchsia starts in beds 8 to 12 inches apart, which will encourage air circulation between plants and discourage the spread of disease.
Water well after planting fuchsia starts. Without adequate water, fuchsias will quickly wilt, drop flowers, and discontinue bloom production entirely. Over watering is also dangerous as this plant is susceptible to crown and root rot in soggy soil.
Fertilize fuchsia plants with a liquid fertilizer every two to four weeks throughout the growing season. If you plan to over winter your container grown fuchsias, halt fertilizer applications two weeks prior to the first frost in your area to prepare for dormancy.
Compost fuchsia basket plants and bedding plants in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 9 at the end of the growing season. Zones 10 and above may enjoy the fuchsia as a perennial bedding plant, while colder winter climate zones can only save fuchsias over winter that are container grown and carefully monitored.
Move container grown fuchsias to a cool, dark place for the dormancy period. 40 to 45 degree Fahrenheit temperatures though winter are optimal with occasional watering just to prevent the soil from completely drying out.
Move overwintered containers to a sunny, warmer location in early spring and begin watering regularly. New growth is the signal to fill larger pot with fresh soil and re-plant your container grown fuchsia for a new season.