- Author: Polly Nelson
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Polly Nelson UCCE Master Gardener
California Fuchsia (Zauschneria, or Epilobium canum)
Planting Zone: Sunset 2-11, 14-24; USDA 7-10
Size: 0.5-4 feet, depending on cultivar; equal width
Bloom season: Late summer to fall
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Pruning needs: Prune established plants to the ground after fall bloom, lightly prune tips in spring to encourage bushy growth.
Water needs: Low once established, but some varieties bloom better with occasional summer water.
Narrative: California fuchsias offer a punch of color and nectar for hummingbirds in the hot days of late summer and fall. Blooms are tubular in shape, just right for hummingbirds, and generally are scarlet to orange but some varieties have pink or white blossoms. This shrubby perennial has lance-shaped, 0.5-1.5 inch gray-green leaves. It is not picky about soil and tolerates containers and areas with little irrigation.
For new plantings, dig a hole one inch less than the depth of the container and two times the width; fill with water and it let soak in. Center the root ball, back-fill halfway with native soil and water, finish back-filling and build a basin to prevent run off. Water well. Irrigate well for the first year until it is established.
Propagated with seeds, stem cuttings, or divided plants. Sow seeds in good potting mix, barely covered, and keep moist until germination. Stem cuttings may be taken any time. Choose an area near the growing tip with several leaves included. Divisions should be made in fall or winter, after bloom is completed. Separate several stems with roots and rhizomes attached; water well in the new locations. Continuously remove seedlings and young shoots you don't want, as some varieties can grow aggressively and crowd other plants in the area.
California fuchsia pairs well with native grasses, sedges, milkweed and native sages. Look to California fuchsia to line a path, spill over a wall or join your native garden for a splash of color.