The fuchsia belongs to the Onagraceae family of plants. It is regarded as an evergreen shrub in mild climates (regions that do not experience frost) and a deciduous shrub in climates that experience frost. Fuchsias can be grown in hanging baskets, or as shrubs or trees, and some varieties can often reach heights of 3 to 12 feet. Fuchsia flowers range in size, from 1-5 inches; and color, from white and pink, to various shades of purple and even red.
Planting a Fuchsia in the Ground
Purchase a fuchsia plant from your local nursery or garden center.
Decide where you want to plant your fuchsia--in a hanging basket, a container like a barrel, or in an area in your flower garden. (See section below titled "Growing Fuchsia in a Container" on instructions for container planting.) Bear in mind that many varieties of the hybrid fuchsia need space to grow, and all varieties of fuchsia require very good drainage.
Loosen and turn the soil over with your garden fork or shovel. Lilymiller.com recommends digging a 4- to 6-inch deep hole, then adding 1/4 cup of 16-16-16 (16% nitrogen, 16% phosphorus and 16% potassium) fertilizer and 1 to 2 cups of alfalfa pellets (or, any good organic matter). Saturate the hole with water, letting it completely drain off.
Remove your fuchsia from its receptacle. If the root ball appears bound, loosen the roots gently using your fingers.
Place your fuchsia into the hole. Make sure the stem is straight and level and the base of the stem is just slightly lower than the level of the surrounding topsoil (about 1 to 2 inches). Fill up the hole halfway with soil, water, and let the water drain off. Fill the remainder of the hole up with soil. Water thoroughly and slowly, to ensure the water reaches your fuchsia's roots. (For care and maintenance of your fuchsia, see Tips.)
Planting Fuchsia in a Container
Purchase a good quality potting mix that has perlite and rock in it. Jim Lewark of the American Fuchsia Society suggests using a potting mix which has salt-free cocoa fiber for the base, and consists of 2/3 perlite and rock, such as crushed lava rock.
Choose a planting container for your fuchsia. If your region experiences excessive heat (above 90 degrees F) , concrete, clay, wood, pulp pots or moss baskets can be regarded are generally a better choice than plastic. Fill up the container to about 1/3 full, and water the medium thoroughly.
Remove your fuchsia from its pot and gently loosen the roots, as mentioned in Step 4 above.
Center the fuchsia in the pot, making sure the stem is straight and level. With your trowel, scoop in dirt around the fuchsia until the pot is full of potting mix. Water the pot thoroughly, don't saturate the leaves or stems. Place your fuchsia in a location where the pot will receive filtered light, and where its roots will not be exposed to direct heat.
Things You Will Need
- Fuchsia plant
- Potting soil
- Alfalfa pellets
- Compost, or other organic material
- Shovel or garden fork
- Planting container; hanging basket, barrel or clay pot
- Do not plant your fuchsia in a plastic growing receptacle, since plastic pots can create excessive heat and the roots of fuchsias do not like heat.
- Placing 4 to 6 inches of mulch around your fuchsia after the first frost, or right before the first hard freeze of the season, can help prevent the crown of your fuchsia from freezing.
- Fertilizer your fuchsia regularly (weekly) during the growing season; fuchsias are plentiful feeding plants. Lilymiller.com suggests using a 16-16-16 (16% nitrogen, 16% phosphorus and 16% potassium) liquid based fertilizer.
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