Friday, 16 December 2011

Fantastic Fuchsia!

Fuchsia are very much a matter of taste - I see some that make my stomach churn (these tend to be the showy ones, and/or ones in what I think are a naff mix of colour). But there can be little to match (in my opinion) the beauty of the simple Fuchsia.
I grow a few, and the triphylla group of Fuchsia offer some of the best. The waxy flowers of Thallia offer a fantastic show when it gets going.................
One of the best things about Thallia is that it seems to bloom well deeper into autumn than most of my others do. Frost tender

F.magellanica on the other hand is fully hardy. This to my eyes is the classic shape of the Fuchsia..........
................the white variety, Hawkshead.
...................and David, a dwarf variety.

The variety "Blacky" is rather a showy one for me, but I love the darkness of the petals. Tender, but grows rapidly so I treat it as an annual.
Blacky is a good choice for hanging baskets.

Another tender annual that I grow is a variety called Satellite. It is what I would call the wrong colour for a Fuchsia, but the unusual petals make it a must have . It will grow up to a metre high in a summer.

Saving the best till last, F.perscandens is my favourite! One of the native New Zealand Fuchsias, it has a truly messy growth habit, but the unusual colour of the blooms with the blue pollen more than make up for that.
It blooms heavily twice a year, late spring and early autumn, only putting out the occasional bloom through the summer months.
The blooms are small (as are the leaves) and a little "shy" in the way that they hide on the underside of the plant. Unusually for a Fuchsia, the flowers do not only emerge from new growth. It is borderline hardy here in the UK, but well worth the effort!

Fuchsias will thrive in light shade. They also like to be kept moist - this is why I tend to grow mine in pots.