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How to grow Fuchsias

How to grow Fuchsias

There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. These exotic looking beauties are firm favourites for their pendant flowers in a wonderful range of colour combinations.

How to grow Fuchsias

There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. These exotic looking beauties are firm favourites for their pendant flowers in a wonderful range of colour combinations.

Fuchsias may be deciduous or evergreen depending on their variety and growing conditions. They’re versatile too, growing happily in sun or semi shade. These hard working shrubs will flower virtually all summer long, filling borders, beds, window boxes, hanging baskets and patio containers - in fact, they will bring colour to almost any position that you can think of.

Read on to learn how to grow fuchsias, and buy some fuchsia plants online today.

Fuchsia growth habits

Fuchsia growth habits

Fuchsias come in all shapes and sizes too, so there is something to suit every garden no matter how large or small.

Trailing fuchsias

Perfect for hanging baskets and patio containers.

Upright / Bush fuchsias

Bushy rounded shrubs which are ideal for growing in borders and patio containers. Some of the larger varieties such as Fuchsia magellanica and F. riccortonii make good hedging plants too.

Climbing fuchsias

Some fuchsias have a very rapid growth habit and long, lax stems that makes them ideal for training onto large obelisks or tying-in to walls and fences for a spectacular vertical display.

Standard fuchsias

Upright or bush fuchsias can be trained as standards which make superb specimen plants for patio containers.

Fuchsia fruits

Many people are unaware that the small purple fuchsia fruits are entirely edible - although some are more palatable than others! Fuchsia splendens is often considered to have the best flavour. The citrus flavoured berries have a peppery aftertaste and are best used in jams to sweeten them.

Our favourite fuchsias

There are so many types of fuchsia plants to choose from that it can be hard to decide which ones to grow. If you are spoiled for choice or don’t know where to start then try some of our favourite fuchsia plants from the list below, or take a look at this video to see some of the best fuchsias on our trials ground.

FuchsiaBest featuresHardinessHabitIdeal for
Fuchsia ‘Genii’Golden foliage that contrasts with the bright pink/ purple flowersHardyBushBorders/ Containers
Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead'Simple and elegant. White blooms on rounded, bushy plantsHardyBushBorders/ Containers
Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’A free flowering climber that blooms along the length of the stemHardyClimbingWalls/ Fences/ Obelisk
Fuchsia arborescensClusters of small flowers followed by large purple fruitsFrost tenderBushFrost free conservatories
Fuchsia ‘Eruption’Particularly free flowering, producing unusual tubular pink flowers.Half hardyTrailingHanging baskets
Fuchsia ‘Giants Collection’Big, frilly blooms. Fabulous showstoppers in a wonderful mix of coloursHalf hardyTrailingHanging baskets

How to grow Fuchsias

Pot up fuchsia plug plants using a good quality, well drained compost such as John Innes No.3, and grow them on in warm, frost-free conditions. Trailing fuchsia plug plants may be planted directly into baskets, window boxes and containers. These should also be grown on in warm, frost free conditions until they are well developed.

Pinch out the growing tips of each plant while they are still small to promote bushier growth and more flowers. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise fuchsia plants to outdoor conditions over a 7 to 10 day period, before moving them (or planting them out) in their final positions. Watch our helpful video to learn how to pinch out Fuchsia stems.

Fuchsias are very versatile and can be grown in sun or semi shade in any fertile, moist well drained soil, although they will appreciate some shade during the hottest part of the day. Choose a position that offers shelter from cold, drying winds.

When growing hardy fuchsias in the ground they are best planted so that the base of the stem is 5cm (2") below the soil surface. This will help to protect the crown of the plant during cold winter weather.

Feeding and watering fuchsias

Water fuchsias regularly to maintain moist but not waterlogged conditions. Fuchsias that are grown in containers will need frequent watering depending on the size of the container and weather conditions. Hanging baskets should be watered at least once a day during hot summer weather. Fuchsias that are planted directly into borders will become more self sufficient once established.

Although many fuchsia plants are naturally floriferous, it is well worth feeding them every few weeks throughout the summer, especially those grown in hanging baskets and containers. Use a soluble fertiliser such as Chempak Fuchsia Feed. Regular feeding will encourage an endless supply of flowers and frequent deadheading will also prolong the flowering period.

How to care for fuchsia plants in winter

Half hardy fuchsias tend to be grown as annuals in many UK gardens, but can be easily overwintered in a dry, frost free greenhouse during the coldest months. Many of the most popular fuchsia cultivars for hanging baskets and patio pots are half hardy fuchsias.

Hardy fuchsia plants are ideal for growing in sheltered borders all year round. These cultivars range from neat compact varieties such as Fuchsia ‘Tom Thumb’ that reaches just 30cm (12") tall, up to Fuchsia magellanica which can reach a colossal height and spread of 3m (10’) in ideal conditions. Hardy fuchsias are best planted deeply in the ground to protect the crown during cold winter weather. Further winter protection can be provided by applying a deep mulch of bark chips, leaf mould or straw in late autumn each year.

Standard fuchsias will need to be moved to a frost free position during the winter months to protect their vulnerable stem from frost damage, regardless of how hardy the variety is.

Training and pruning fuchsias

Upright / Bush fuchsias

Bush Fuchsias are best pruned in spring. Cut back the stems to a permanent low framework.

Climbing fuchsias

Prune out the oldest stems in spring when the fresh buds begin to break, and reduce the remaining stems to restrict their vigorous growth to the available space.

How to train a standard fuchsia

How to train a standard fuchsia

Growing fuchsia standards is not a difficult as it might appear. Fuchsia standards have a clear main stem topped with a dense head of foliage created through pinch pruning and make superb specimen plants. However patience is required as they may take up to 18 months of careful training to achieve.

Allow a young fuchsia stem to grow upright, whilst removing all of the sideshoots as they develop. Do not remove the leaves from the mail stem however, as these will feed the plant.

Tie the main stem in to a cane to provide support as it grows.

Once the fuchsia plant reaches 20cm (8") taller than the desired height, pinch out the stem tip.

New sideshoots will be produced at the top of the plant and these will form the head of the standard. Pinch out the tips of each sideshoot when it reaches 2 to 4 sets of leaves. Continue pinch pruning until a rounded head has formed.

The leaves on the main stem will be shed naturally in time, or can be carefully removed.

Sue Sanderson T&M horticulturalist

Written by: Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.