- Author: Linda Lewis Griffith
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Linda Lewis Griffith UCCE Master Gardener
Common Name: Fuchsia
Planting Zone: Zones vary by species
Size: Varies by species
Bloom Season: Most bloom from late spring until first frost
Exposure: Prefer all-day filtered sun under trees; will tolerate early morning sun
Pruning Needs: As desired to maintain size and shape.
Water Needs: Regular watering
Narrative: Fuchsias are shade-loving plants with showy flowers. Most are native to the wet, mountainous regions of Central and South America; a few come from as far away as New Zealand and Tahiti. The genus includes 110 separate species that range in size from 6 inch spreading shrubs to 10-foot trees. Fuchsias begin growing in early spring and continue through October and November when they go dormant. Fuchsias may be planted directly into the ground in cool areas. However, most are planted in pots using a good commercial mix with adequate drainage and aeration. Plants must be kept moist but not wet, preferring watering in early morning or late evening.
Fuchsias are considered heavy feeders and do best with a monthly application of balanced liquid fertilizer. Flowers appear on new wood and should be pruned before spring growth appears. Pinch or cut out the growing tips of new growth to encourage the development of lateral branches. Remove seedpods during the growing season so the plants continue to produce new blooms. Fuchsias are susceptible to fuchsia gall mites, a microscopic wormlike mite that was accidentally introduced from South America in the 1980s. The pests cause leaves and shoots to become thickened and distorted, and the formation of unsightly galls. This problem is prevalent in coastal San Luis Obispo where summers are cool. Whiteflies and spider mites are other common pests. Minimize infestations by planting resistant varieties of fuchsias and checking nursery stock carefully for the presence of pests. Monitor plants carefully for any signs of disease. Pinch back or remove and destroy affected foliage. Do not compost as it encourages the spread of pathogens. Consider replacing severely impacted plants. Fuchsias are readily propagated by using cuttings or seeds.