Often sold as annuals, fuchsia (Fuchsia hybridia) is a popular colorful evergreen shrub that flowers from early summer to the first frost. Fuchsia are perennials in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 and higher and are annuals in zones lower than 10. Fuchsias thrive in cool climates with fog and frostless winters. In the warmest zones, the plants must be misted and in colder zones, they should be protected from frost or brought indoors.
About the Flower
All fuchsias have two-tone flowers, according to the 1997 Sunset National Garden Book. The lower, bell-shaped portion of the flower is called the corolla and may be white, blue-violet, purple, pink, red or nearly orange. The top, or flat part of the flower, is called the sepal, which is always white, pink or red. Flowers may be single- or double-petaled and, depending on the size of the plant, as small as a peanut or as large as a apricot. The colorful flowers and foliage cascade, making the fuchsia a popular hanging plant.
Soil and Care
Fuchsia's thrive in porous soil with lots of organic components. While the soil should be well-draining, it should also hold water, so you may add mulch to help retain water. Plants should be kept moist and fertilized with an all-purpose fertilizer once a month. Plants thrive in partial shade and blooms may wilt in strong, direct sun. Old flowers should be picked off and if plants become leggy, pinch back. Prune plants regularly to encourage new growth.
Fuchsias are named after German doctor Leonard Fuchs, who lived in the 1500s, but the fuchsias that are available today originated almost exclusively in South and Central America, New Zealand and Tahiti, according to Squidoo.com. These plants originally were available in about 100 varieties, but there are now many more due to hybridizing.