Fuchsia is a genus of showy, vibrant plants that bloom throughout summer with gorgeous teardrop-shaped flowers in a variety of vibrant colors.
When you picture fuchsia, you might picture a hanging basket on a covered porch adorned with pink and purple blooms cascading over the edge.
Or maybe you are imagining a shrub growing in a shady corner of the garden with dainty white flowers?
Bringing bright colors to those spots that don’t see much sunshine can be difficult, but fuchsia will bloom happily in the shade.
The familiar pink and purple-red hanging flowers are perhaps the most common, but you can also find fuchsias with long, tubular flowers in a single color.
Flowers can be “single” with four petals, “semi-double” with five to seven petals, or “full rim” double with eight or more petals. They come in a range of colors from soft pink, white, orange, maroon, lavender and blue to stunning two-tone variants.
I’ve heard some people say not to grow this showy plant because it’s picky and temperamental, but I disagree!
In the conditions she prefers, she will grow happily. Properly treated, it will show its rich color for months.
However, this plant is not just a pretty face. These elegant, vibrant flowers are both edible and decorative. As the flowers fade, small purple fruits form, some of which can be delicious.
When you’ve finished reading, you’ll be the resident gardening expert who can help all of your neighbors grow their own fuchsias to thrive.
What is fuchsia?
Fuchsia, pronounced “few-shuh,” is a genus of deciduous, perennial shrubs in the family Onagraceae.
There are over 100 species in the genus Fuchsia and thousands of named cultivars and hybrids growing in gardens around the world. Most plants available at garden centers and nurseries are hybrids.
Species can have one of two distinct growth habits: the trailing type that you often see in hanging baskets available at your local garden center each spring, and bushier, upright types that grow in the ground and are ideal for planting in containers. The latter can be trained in standards.
The upright varieties can reach a mature height of up to six feet, while dwarf varieties reach two to three feet in height.
This showy, vibrant plant is generally grown as a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 7-10, depending on the variety, while hardy fuchsias, like many hybrids and cultivars of F. magellanica, can thrive outdoors year-round in a slightly cooler range of growing zones , from 6 to 10.
Many people cannot resist the plant even if they don’t live in the right climate to survive the winter. Annual cultivation is an option, but containers can also be brought indoors for overwintering.
If you go this route, it’s easy to bring your potted plant inside for the winter and put it back in the garden in the spring. You don’t have to buy a new plant every year!
One look at the flowers and you can probably figure out why they are sometimes called lady’s ears or angel earrings.
Flowers bloom throughout summer in a riot of shapes and colors, showing off bright pinks, deep purples, bright reds, lavender blues, peach, and soft pinks and whites, depending on the species.
After flowering, 1/2 inch or slightly larger berries form. These become black or dark blue when ripe.
And they’re not just for show — believe it or not, these berries are actually edible. Depending on the variety, they can taste of grapes, figs or tart lemon. Some have an intense peppery afterbite.