A hanging-basket star, hummingbird magnet, and shade-tolerant bloomer? Yes, please! Fuchsias are loaded with stunning, two-toned flowers and showy foliage. This beauty isn’t high-maintenance, but you do need to know its growing requirements. Learn how to grow and care for fuchsia plants—and keep those blooms coming!
Often featuring bicolor flowers, fuchsias come in various colors, but most often in gorgeous bright reds, pinks, and salmons, with white or purple centers. The flower’s outer portion comprises colored sepals, which protect the inner petals and reproductive bits.
Fuchsias are a favorite for hummingbirds, who are attracted to the colors and long, bell-shaped flowers which hang and droop beautifully from hanging baskets, containers, and planters. The blossoms are also beloved by other pollinators including bees, butterflies, and moths. Fuchsia plants can be bushy or vining and trailing.
Many fuchsias will slow or stop blooming when temperatures rise above 80 degrees, but some heat-loving varieties are available.
Are Fuchsias Perennials or Annuals?
While fuchsias are grown as perennial garden shrubs in mild climates worldwide, they are treated as a cool-season plant used as an annual, primarily as potted flowering plants and in hanging baskets in the United States and Canada.
That said, fuchsia can survive over winter by storing it in the winter at 40° F. While in storage, water once a month and then in February cut back to the woody sections to promote new growth in spring.
Fuchsias are considered part-shade plants, which is an excellent opportunity for gardeners; however, they do need at least four hours of light to bloom—either dappled sunlight all day or direct morning sun. They prefer summer temperatures below 85°F and cool nights. So those in southern locations should place their fuchsias in a spot with afternoon shade or even all-day protection.
However, fuchsias are not too fussy if their moisture needs are met and the soil does not get soggy wet nor bown dry. Neutral to slightly acidic pH is fine, in the 6.0 to 7.0 range. Most commercially available potting mixes are close to neutral pH already. If you are filling your containers from a bag and not mixing your own, chances are your soil will be fine.
When to Plant Fuchsias
Fuchsias like cool temperatures and can be planted in spring as soon as night temperatures stabilize above about 40 degrees. They grow best in the cool nights and temperate days of late spring and early summer.
How to Plant Fuchsias
If your fuchsia is destined for a hanging basket, fill it with potting mix and some organic material to retain moisture.
A wooden or fiber pot will not dry out as quickly as a clay pot and allow the plant to breath.
Make sure any container has drainage holes. Fuchsias don’t like to sit in water, even though they want their soil slightly moist.
If your planter is large enough, tuck in two or three fuchsias to make a luscious and overflowing planter display.
Those in warmer locations can also grow fuchsias as outdoor perennials. Like a planter, select a site with dappled sunlight or light shade, and ensure you provide adequate drainage.
Mulching will go a long way toward keeping the soil around your fuchsia at a more even moisture level and keeping the soil surface cooler.
Containers need to be watered, usually once a day. Water when the surface of the growing medium becomes dry or hot but also don’t let the soil become soggy. Keeping soil evenly moist in a hanging basket can be difficult. Add some compost to your potting mix, and check them daily, especially if the basket hangs under an overhang from a roof or porch.
Fuchsias are heavy-feeders. If you’re growing fuchsia in a container and watering frequently, you must fertilize as watering leaches nutrients. In the spring, fertilize every 2 weeks with a water soluble, complete fertilizer half-strength; once the plants set buds, water with a “bloom” formula. Stop fertilizing in the fall at least two weeks before you anticipate bringing the plant indoors.
Deadheading your fuchsia will provide more blooms, allowing the plant to focus energy on flowering instead of making berries and seeds. If the flower has dropped off and the little green berry is left behind, pinch that off too.
If your fuchsia is wilting, dropping flowers, or the tips of the leaves are turning brown, it could be underwatering. But do not water a wilted plant midday if the soil is still wet as this suffocates the roots!
Fuchsias in a container or basket can be brought inside to overwinter. Bring the pot in before the first fall frost and store it in an unheated basement or other unlit areas where the temperature will remain about 45 to 55 degrees. If your plant is large, it’s fine to cut back to the rim of the container or leave 6-inch stubs. Check for insects before bringing plants indoors.
Water it occasionally (every 4 weeks) to keep the soil from becoming bone dry, but don’t keep it as moist as it was all growing season. The foliage will fall off, and it might look dead. Don’t give up.
In the spring, move the plant to a bright window indoors or under a grow light and resume watering; when new growth appears, refresh the potting soil in the pot and return plant to same pot.
When the first two set of leaves emerge, pinch each new growing tip to promote branching. Keep pinching all summer for the bushiest plant!
Hardy bush fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica). Wide varieties are available, some reaching as tall as ten feet. Hardy to USDA zone 6-9, these are some of the most cold-tolerant fuchsias. As the name implies, they have a bush habit and are loaded with pendant flowers.
‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ (Fuchsia triphylla) is a hardy fuchsia with an upright form, unusual darker bronzed foliage, and long, trumpet-shaped dark cherry blooms.
‘Rapunzel’ is a hanging basket star featuring violet and pale pink flowers and incredibly long, trailing stems.
‘Voodoo’ hybrid fuchsia is a trailing variety with gorgeous double flowers. Deep pink sepals with velvet violet petals in ruffles make this a hanging basket special.
‘Swingtime’ is a hybrid with a classical display of double white petals and bright apple-red sepals.
Another way to keep your fuchsias going or increase your number of fuchsias is to take cuttings. In the spring, cut a young green shoot (non-flowering) about 6 inches long. Remove the bottom pair of leaves and dip the end in a moist rooting medium of equal parts of peat and perlite down to where those leaves grew. Then put the cutting in a plastic bag and set in a warm place with bright, indirect sunlight for a few weeks. Then insert the rooted cuttings into pots of ordinary potting mix and pinch the tips to begin forming well-balanced plants.