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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hardy Fuchsias, my favorite plant in the garden this week.

 
In the gardens of my Alaskan hometown, many a fuchsia basket was hung and appreciated.   They seemed so exotic with their loud flower colors and generosity of bloom.  Imagine my surprise many years ago when I left a fuchsia basket outside during the winter in my first Washington garden and it  sprouted new leaves and flowers the next summer.   I may still occasionally fall for a particularly lovely fuchsia basket but now I mostly enjoy the hardy varieties that are planted in the ground and form upright shrubs.

If the winter is mild, they bloom from June until December or whenever the first hard freeze hits.

Pollinators, including humming birds love fuchsias both planted in the ground and in the ubiquitous (at least here) hanging baskets. 



The hardier varieties tend to have smaller, more dainty flowers but they are produced in abundance.


Unlike their hanging basket cousins, these can tolerate full sun in costal areas.

Color combinations range from loud and garish (yum!) to subtle and tasteful.

Some people think they look like dancers with their long legs and twirling skirts.

Although some may eschew fuchsias as too common, I enjoy their unsophisticated splendor!  (Stolen directly from Rebecca's blog.)


They're blooming their heads off at a nursery near you right now!   I hope to visit Joy Creek Nursery near Portland soon as they always have a wide variety of these gems. (Because one can never have too many plants, right?)

'Gartenmeister' is not fully hardy here so it gets spend the winter under glass. 

I admire the way the dark foliage contrasts so nicely with the brilliant orange flowers!
 
Golly, I almost forgot one of my favorite foliage plants, Fuchsia Autumnale.  I didn't take a picture of it earlier and now it's dark outside but this is a hardy fuchsia whose blooms are actually secondary  in beauty to it's gorgeous leaves.  To see a bunch of lovely images of it go here.
 
To learn more, go here,  and check out the Northwest Fuchsia Society's page here.  The hardy fuchsias in this post, with the exception of the last one, are hardy from zones 8a - 10b, tolerate light shade to full sun, and like rich soil. 
 
Be sure to click on over to Danger Garden, the host of this meme to see other gardeners' favorite plants this week!

36 comments:

  1. Gorgeous pictures! especially the one with the bee or whatever it is.

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  2. Oh I do love a Fuchsia or many . We'll have to all meet up at Joy Creek when you come down ?

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    1. I'd love to meet you at Joy Creek! What fun we'd have!

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  3. What a treat to discover something you loved as an annual, you can now have all year round. I love Fuchsias, they remind me of dancing fairies and their colours are always so beautiful. I've never seen the light coloured ones in your photo #8 and I really like this pale colour.

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    1. Recently I've seen a greater variety of the tiny white ones. This one has a hint of lavender but some are pure white and some have light green on the petals of the corolla. It is a treat to see these come back year after year!

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  4. I love hardy fuchsias too, and when we moved from Massachusetts to Washington, I was thrilled to discover that they are hardy here. My F. autmnale isn't doing that well. It's kind of sprawling open almost like it thinks it's a carpet-type plant, is that normal? Maybe I'm not giving it enough water. It gets a good long watering about once a week.

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    1. Autumnale doesn't grow up much but is more of a sprawler (procumbent) so you're not doing anything wrong. These look particularly stunning if planted at the top of a wall where they can tumble over the edge.

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  5. Stunning pictures, Peter!
    What a beauty is these fuchsias!

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    1. Thank you Nadezda! I'm glad that you like fuchsias!

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  6. Such lovely, colorful dancers, Peter. I like fuchsias as well, but they don't like me/my taking care of them... Either they get aphids or they don't bloom..

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    1. They are sweet dancers, Satu. I'm sorry that fuchsias aren't happy with you!

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  7. Nobody grows Fuchsia like Deanne. Mine sulk-especially in the heat of summer. Beautiful though and my lack of success doesn't keep me from trying :).

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    1. She's got the magic touch alright; I've admired pictures of hers on her blog! Fortunately/unfortunately, we don't get the same amount of heat and humidity here as you do so our fuchsias stay happy all summer.

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  8. I've never been blown away by fuchsias because they're so ubiquitous here but you may be bringing me around . . .

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    1. There are some with beautiful golden foliage, others with variegated foliage. Flowers very tiny/subtle to big as your head with screaming colors. Truly there's something for just about everyone. I'll bet that they're blooming their head's off at Joy Creek right now. Maybe you should check them out and notice some other plants while you're there. Of course, once you're on highway 30, you might as well stop at Means and Cistus as well. Really, who needs to pay the mortgage or buy food?

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  9. We have 'Golden Gate' growing up and over the front deck railings and the hummingbirds forget that we are here in their foraging frenzy. Now here's a question: do the flowers refill with nectar or do the hummers have to keep searching through them all to find the ones that haven't already been sucked dry?

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    1. Ooh! I love 'Golden Gate' & have it in a couple of spots in my garden. Good nectar question. I've no idea.

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  10. I was amazed at the fuchsias out there. They can't take our heat and humidity here in the south. I do see them at local nurseries, especially in hanging baskets, but it is a waste of money to buy them. They won't last.

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    1. One more reason to move west young man! How frustrating it must be to see them at nurseries and know that they'll not be happy in your garden!

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  11. I'm glad that there are plenty enough of hardy varieties of fuchsias to choose from. They do add a wonderful splash of colour to any garden (or basket/tubs!).

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    1. Indeed. They're pretty undemanding and give a lot in return.

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  12. I love the dangling bicolor flowers, especially the blue-white. Shocking confession: I have never grown fucsias, annual or otherwise.

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    1. I agree. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me!

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  13. Fuschia's are amazing and come in so many colours and varieties. Lovely pics too.

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  14. The perennial buyer at Swanson's told me that many of the tender fuchsias are hardy if planted deeply.

    Deirdre

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    1. I've also heard that and have found it to be true In my own experience.

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  15. I was just reading on another blog about the hardy fuchsia bushes you can grow there. I'm so envious. Loud and gaudy can be good when it comes to fuchsias! I think they look like ballerinas.

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    1. Oh L.R. you could always leave Denver and come further west! You might miss the snow and cold winters though.

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  16. Whenever I hear talk (or read words) about fuchsias I get a pang of guilt thinking of the ones Andrew mowed down at our first house (which we were renting) here in Portland. He thought they were weeds, seriously.

    You've got quite the collection, but yes, clearly you need several more...

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    1. Funny! did they come back? They're pretty tough customers. Is this why Andrew no longer mows the lawn?

      One can never have too many agaves ooops, I meant fuchsias:)

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  17. Be still, my heart! That's the difference between your zone 8b and my zone 8b. Here they faint in the heat and humidity. The only time I've seen Fuchsias thrive in Georgia, they were in a greenhouse with refrigerated COOLING.

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    1. Well, I'm really only 8a even though the new USDA map says I'm zone 9. Although this last winter was very mild and would qualify as an 8b - 9a sort of thing. Crazy! Anyway, our summers are really wonderful and we usually don't get much above 75. In my neck of the woods, if we get a string of days above the 80's they call it a heat wave. So we're lucky to be able to grow some things that don't like a lot of heat. On the other hand, heat lovers like melons, peaches, large tomatoes, etc. do much better in areas of the pacific northwest that get get more summer heat.

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  18. I'm in love with fuschias myself right now! They're going to make up a hefty portion of my 20% off order from Annie's. That Gartenmeister is huge! Are you familiar with 'Firecracker'? As a lover of all things variegated (and tricolor) that one just about has it all for me!

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  19. I enjoyed seeing all your great photos of your twirly dancers especially since I used to have some great hardy fuchsias but thanks to "global warming" we get erratic severe cold snaps that wiped them all out. I'm at a little higher altitude. I did buy one this year and hope to see it bloom soon. I think I'll have to put winter protection over it. BTW Fuchsias form edible fruit (but not necessarily palatable) and the flowers are also edible, so some people like to try them raw or cooked, some are astringent, some taste sweet.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.