Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Perennials
Fuchsia Flair (page 3 of 3)
by Joseph F. Williamson
Protection through Cold Winters
If winter lows will drop down into the mid-20s or lower, bring potted fuchsias indoors, and put them in a cool place until spring. Small container plants can stay outdoors if laid on their sides pot and all, and covered with sawdust. For plants in the ground, cut back branches and cover the base of the plants with sawdust.
Among the hundreds of fuchsia varieties sold in the United States, 14 are so good and so readily adaptable that they are sold, bought, displayed, and enjoyed everywhere that fuchsias can possibly be grown: the Pacific Coast; the Great Lakes regions; the Atlantic coast from the Carolinas north; and in New England. These varieties do not enjoy hot, steamy nights, but they tolerate them better than other varieties do. Flowers are single, semidouble, and double. The single flowers have four petals, the semidouble flowers five to eight petals, and double flowers more than eight.
To give you an idea of how long fuchsias have been popular and how many countries grow them, I've included the country and year of introduction for each variety. The kinds of fuchsia described here are all varieties of F. hybrida. Flowers of F. magellanica are always red and purple -- it's in plant size and growth habit that many named varieties differ.
'Autumnale' (Europe, 1880). Red and reddish violet flowers. Variegated yellow-and-green leaves turn to copper red. Hanging plant or shrub. Remarkably heat-tolerant.
'Billy Green' (Britain, 1966). Single salmon pink flowers. Vigorous shrub.
'Cascade' (United States, 1937). Single red and white flowers. Hanging-basket type.
'Checkerboard' (United States, 1948). Many single red-and-white flowers. Vigorous bush type. Remarkably heat-tolerant.
'Display' (Britain, 1881). Single flowers in violet and shades of pink. Bush type. Notably hardy.
'Dollar Princess' (France, 1912). Small, profuse double flowers are cherry red and rich violet. Bush type. Notably hardy. Remarkably heat-tolerant.
'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' (Germany, 1905). Long, tubular orange-red flowers. Dark bronze red-green leaves. Bush type.
'Hidcote Beauty' (Britain, 1949). Many single medium-sized flowers in cream and pale salmon pink. Bush type. Remarkably heat-tolerant.
'Lena' (Britain, 1862). Many semidouble flowers in coral pink and deep pink. Vigorous bush type. Hardy.
'Marinka' (France, 1902). The most popular fuchsia of all, with many medium-sized single red flowers. Hanging plant.
'Mary' (Germany, 1894). Bright scarlet single flowers. Dark green leaves with reddish purple veins. Bush form.
'Swingtime' (United States, 1950). Many scarlet, milky white, and cherry red flowers on vigorous plants. Hanging plant.
'Thalia' (Germany, 1905). Long, slender, light orange-red flowers. Bushy shrub. Fairly tender.
'Tom Thumb' (France, 1850). Carmine and mauve-violet flowers. Bushy and hardy.
Joseph F. Williamson is a former editor at Sunset Magazine, and a principal author of Sunset's Western Garden Book (Sunset Publishing Corp., 2001; $37)
Photography by Suzanne DeJohn/National Gardening Association