Fuchsias deserve to be more than just a shade in the balcony. With proper care, several varieties of fuchsias planted in the flower bed also thrive in the sun.
Fuchsias are a species-rich genus. Over 100 wild species and varieties are known today. Most come from the mountain forests of Central and South America, with a few species found in Tahiti and New Zealand. The fuchsia is known as a genus of plants since 1696. The French Charles Plumier discovered the first species on his trip to Santo Domingo, today's Dominican Republic. He named it after the botanist Leonhart Fuchs. In the 19th century, the fuchsias became popular ornamental plants in Europe. Even the breeders embraced the fuchsia.
Appearance and Growth
The different types of fuchsia differ greatly in their appearance. There are low-growing species such as Fuchsia procumbens, which are often used in rock gardens, or Fuchsia species such as Fuchsia excorticata, which grow into magnificent trees almost 32.8 feet high. Most fuchsia species grow as shrubs, but can also be put on a trellis.
Fuchsias fascinate with graceful bel-shapedl blossoms, hundreds of which sit on the shrubs. They tolerate shade, are easy to propagate and overwinter - and these are just a few reasons why the flower ballerinas are a lot of fun. There is no sign of a decrease in flowering, at least not in the case of Fuchsia . Whereas, other summer blooms disappear by August, your flower bells dance for a longer time in the summer sun. Only on impending first frosts does the busy blooming season come to an end.
Location and Soil
Fuchsias are not only suitable for partially shaded and fully shaded areas, as previously stated. There are varieties that tolerate the sun very well, for example the grape-shaped fuchsias (Triphylla hybrids). Basically, the sun tolerance depends on the environment (neighboring plants, humidity), on the supply of water and nutrients and on the genetic characteristics of the variety. Fuchsias that grow in pots or window boxes are best placed in a place with mild morning or late afternoon sun. Midday sun and excessive heat are problematic. Above all, avoid the root ball from heating up. Cover the container that can get warm.
Contrary to popular belief, planted fuchsias also tolerate a sunny location. The plants then develop a compact growth and bloom more abundantly than in a shaded place. The prerequisite, however, is that you cover the root area, keep it cool and sufficiently moist.
A thin layer of bark mulch or understory planting of periwinkle ground cover such as three-leaved Waldsteinia, ivy, lesser periwinkle or Japanese spurge. Incidentally, underplanted fuchsias are easier to care for and the dense, evergreen foliage makes additional winter protection unnecessary.
Where to plant
Fuchsias are suitable for use in small groups in the border and on the forest edges. You can also combine fuchsias with other shrubs, but bear in mind that fuchsias sprout quite late, suitable partners are, for example, early bloomers such as Columbine and ornamental leeks, forest perennials and grasses.
It is best to only water the plants in the morning or in the evening as required. Check whether the root ball has dried off a bit since the last watering. You should not water a damp root ball. In high temperatures and dry weather, it is also necessary to spray the plants regularly with water. If the humidity is too low, the buds wither and the leaves fall off prematurely.
Caution: In case of extreme temperatures, the fuchsias let the leaves hang to protect them from evaporation, even if the root ball is damp. Now it must not be watered, the roots cannot absorb the water. As soon as the heat subsides, the leaves straighten again. If the root ball is dry, you can place the plants in a shaded place and water it with tempered water. But never pour cold water on a warm root ball.
You must fertilize your Fuchsias regularly. A liquid fertilizer that is slightly high in potassium and contains little phosphorus works well (for example N-P-K 16: 9: 22). But only fertilize the plants that are completely rooted in the pot. In addition, you should not add too much fertilizer every week, it is best to divide the fertilizer over two waterings. Important: Never fertilize on dry soil or in extreme heat.
You should also clean the fuchsias at least once a week, that is, remove everything that has withered: the fallen leaves and especially the ovaries. Also, check conspicuous leaves for diseases and pests.
The fuchsia is one of the most popular balcony plants; apart from a few varieties, most of them are not winter hardy. If you repot the newly purchased or overwintered fuchsias in the spring, you must be careful not to use containers that are too large, otherwise the plants will not develop a stable root ball.
In general, repotting more often is better. In the new pot you should be able to gently press the fresh soil around the existing root ball with your fingers. Plant five to seven plants on 3.28 feet of balcony boxes, and three plants in hanging baskets from 7.87 inches in diameter. For a dense, bushy plant structure cut back the soft, not yet woody shoot tips, because where the shoot tip is missing, two or more side shoots develop. This cutting back for a delayed start of flowering, the best time for stripping is therefore early spring.
In the case of compact bushes, which are encouraged to branch well by frequent removal of the tips, all last year's leading shoots are shortened by a third in spring, the side shoots to one or two pairs of leaf buds. With high stems, all unbranched shoots in the crown are cut back to one or two pairs of buds. If you haven't cut a trunk for a long time, you can rejuvenate the crown with one cut into the old wood. A fuchsia column, in which all of the horizontal side shoots that exit along a straight main shoot are kept the same length, is cut back to just a few pairs of buds. On the other hand, hanging fuchsias should not be shortened much. In this case, it is sufficient to cut the overhanging shoots down to the last pair of leaves below the edge of the pot.
In the winter quarters fuchsias must be protected from the first frost. Remove all flowers and unripe, soft shoots. A 41 to 50 degree Fahrenheit cold cellar, which can also be dark, is suitable for wintering because the plants lose their foliage here. If the fuchsias remain warm in winter, they retain their leaves and need light.
You can raise the offspring of your favorite fuchsia yourself with cuttings. This can be done both in spring and in August. For this purpose, shoot tips 2.75 to 3.93 inches in length are cut. The offsets are cut above a pair of leaves. Remove the bottom leaves and place in a mixture of soil and sand. Place in the shade and keep moist. Rooting is also possible in water: simply place the cut shoots in a glass of water. Roots will form after two weeks.
Picture gallery: New and old varieties
Diseases and Pests
Fuchsias are actually quite resistant to diseases and pests. However, improper care can lead to fungal diseases such as fuchsia rust, powdery mildew or gray mold. Pests such as aphids, whiteflies, red spiders or weevils can also occur.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you overwinter fuchsias?
Fuchsias must be brought into winter quarters before the first frost. Overwintering fuchsias in winter gardens or greenhouses at temperatures between 37.4 and 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit has proven successful. Alternatively, you can overwinter fuchsias in a 41 to 50 degree Fahrenheit cold cellar - this can also be dark. However, in this case you should remove the leaves. Outdoor fuchsias require winter protection in the form of of leaves, straw, fir branches or bark mulch.
When can fuchsias be kept outside?
If the fuchsias have already developed shoots, they can be kept outside again after the last heavy frosts. If the bushes have been overwintered cold, they can be put back on the terrace from around April.
When can you repot fuchsias?
It is best to repot fuchsias immediately after they have been overwintered. In order for fuchsias to develop a stable root ball, the new pot should not be much larger than the old one.
Can you cut back fuchsias?
Fuchsias can be cut back in fall. In addition to dead twigs and dried-up flowers, only the shoots that have grown in the same year are removed.