Fuchsias, a few more good words or a good few more words.

I did a blog on Fuchsias in August but wanted to revisit them because there are several flowering now that weren’t then and because they really are contributing hugely to the late season flower display. Most of what was flowering then still is, to a greater or lesser degree.

Our garden club speaker this month was talking about preparing Fuchsias for overwintering. She grows them for showing and has done pretty well in local shows, so I was interested in what she had to say.  She pruned the plant back pretty hard, removing most of what it had produced this year, then stripped any remaining leaves to help control rust. She then stripped all the compost from the roots, trimmed the roots and repotted into a pot perhaps a third smaller than the one it had been in. This was her defence against vine weevil, the reasoning being that the adults would by now have finished laying eggs so by removing the compost any eggs or young larvae would be removed with it. While she was demonstrating this, she found a few vine weevil eggs which she passed around the audience. They were granules of controlled release fertilizer.

I leave my potted fuchsias in their pots and today treated them with nematodes in order to control vine weevil. Generally I cut them back pretty hard and put them under the bench where they are kept fairly dry but not parched, until about February when they get brought out into more light as they start into growth. Most varieties perform satisfactorily on this regime but there are a few that are naturally late flowering and I will not cut them back so hard this year, in the hope that they will come into flower before October.

All the Fuchsias in the garden will be left unpruned until late winter and depending on how harsh the winter has been, will either be cut to a few inches from the ground or not pruned at all. Generally pruning hard results in a later but much better flower display than not pruning and is what we do to most bushes. Some of the hardiest varieties, microphylla for example, can flower all winter and if the winter is kind, will just keep going into a new season. I’m trying to grow ‘Delta’s Sarah’ and ‘Lady in Black’ up a wooden arch, so I want a mild winter with little or no damage inflicted upon them.
Hardiness is never an easy concept to nail down and we had several varieties survive in the ground through last winter with no ill effects. In mild areas, or mild winters, or with some protection, the range that can be left in the ground expands.

Here are some pictures of varieties flowering today that did not feature in the August blog.


Fuchsia ‘Annie Guerts’. The weird arrangement of the petals is known as a split corolla. Sprawly basket plant.


Fuchsia arborescens. Species with tiny flowers in large heads.


Fuchsia ‘Comperen Lutea’. Very beautiful large white flowers.


Fuchsia ‘Cotta Bright Star’. I have reservations about the accuracy of the name, but none about the quality of the plant.


Fuchsia ‘Genii’. Yellow leaves and elegant red and violet flowers on a tall growing hardy plant.


Fuchsia glazioviana. Hardy species; short, elegant and classy.


Fuchsia ‘Hampshire Blue’. ‘Delta’s Sarah’ is better in every way.


Fuchsia ‘Harti’s Olivia’. Large, elegant flowers.


Fuchsia hatschbachii. Hardy species with tall willowy stems, narrow sub glossy leaves and elegant slender flowers.


Fuchsia ‘Ian Storey’. Tall, very upright hardy that always performs well.


Fuchsia ‘Jorma van Eyjk’. Big blowsy blooms in an unusual coral pink.


Fuchsia ‘Lechlade Debutante’. Species cross; F. paniculata x F. lampadaria. Large open plant with medium sized blooms.


Fuchsia ‘Marlies de Keijzer’. Encliandra type with tiny silvery leaves and minute vivid pink flowers. Came through last winter in the ground and now about 45cms high.


Fuchsia obconica. Fairly sure that name is wrong but an excellent variety nonetheless. Tall willowy growth with tiny leaves. Tiny flowers open white but gradually turn light pink.


Fuchsia ‘Phaidra’. Tender and late flowering with us.


Fuchsia ‘Quasar’. Massive flowers that don’t stand up well to life outdoors. This stayed in the ground last winter and to our surprise survived and grew bigger than ever this year.


Fuchsia ‘Tom West’. Widely grown hardy variegated variety often wrongly sold as ‘Sunray’, which is similar but distinct.


Six on Saturday – 6/10/2018

I was expecting to wake to rain this morning, but it still hasn’t arrived. It’s not far away but it’s not moving either. Hey ho.

Six things happening in the garden now, no problem.

Not one, but two bulging packets arrived in the post yesterday, next year’s seeds. I stuck with Kings for my main veg order, on the basis of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The other one was a departure for me, sparked by my following a link from Nadia’s blog a couple of weeks ago to a seed company called Seedaholic. (Thank you Nadia) I can tell you that first impressions are excellent. Each seed packet is attached to a sheet containing a full description, growing instructions and background information.

It’s the time of year for contemplating the herculean task of squeezing all our pot grown plants which have spent the summer outdoors back into a greenhouse for the winter. I’ve made a start with Fuchsias. My first step was to update my inventory of what we have. I am a massive list maker, I can’t help myself. It means I can tell you we have 99 varieties and a total of 265 plants. Some are in the ground, 48 in fact, the rest in pots ranging from 9cm to 7.5 litre. The hardy varieties amongst the pots will go in the tunnel, the rest under glass, having been trimmed and stripped of leaves. Quite a few are still looking very good and will be left for now.

I also updated my inventory of Camellias this week. More lists. The most pressing job needing to be done is to get nematodes to treat them for vine weevil. I took out a dead plant yesterday which had been barked completely below soil level, squashed two grubs. I have camellias in the ground, up the allotment and in pots. Some are young plants that I have propagated for one reason or another, like because the National Collection only has one and should have a back-up. In truth, I could not give you a convincing reason why I have so many. 203 varieties, excluding the cuttings on the mist bed. I have two Camellia sasanqua varieties flowering in the tunnel now, ‘Crimson King’ and ‘Gay Sue’.

Nerines. Compared to last year, my Nerines are terrible this year. The bulbs seemed to survive the cold and leafed out fine, so it seems they haven’t produced a lot of flower buds because of the dry, which I find very surprising, having hoped for the opposite effect.

Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’. Most of my Dahlias were a bit slow to get going in the spring, perhaps because the ground was colder than usual. Once they were under way though, they made up for lost time and have been flowering for many weeks in most cases. Not this one, which decided to wait until October to open its first bloom. Very dark blooms are interesting and dramatic, but stand back a few feet and they don’t contribute much to the overall flowery look of the garden. I’m happy with that, I want both.

Blechnum tabulare. Not to be confused with Blechnum chilense, though it often is. That’s the rampant spreading one I’m trying to get rid of. This one is from sub Saharan Africa and only borderline hardy in milder parts of the UK. I have it in a pot so it can be moved under protection if the weather turns nasty. It has grown strongly and is now in a 20L pot with a crown over a metre across. In time it will develop a trunk. Like a lot of plants grown mainly for foliage, it looks much the same year round and risks missing out on its deserved SoS slot because there is no point when it does something to grab my attention.

That’s how early autumn is looking in my neck of the woods. As ever it will be interesting to compare notes with lots of gardeners at a similar point in the cycle and to be inspired by a few who are way ahead or behind. Links to fellow sixers as ever from The Propagator’s missive. (Ooh!, it’s finally started raining, how exciting)

Fuchsias; a good word for.

Fuchsia-procumbensFuchsias are a terrific group of plants for providing colour in the late summer /autumn period, especially in gardens that are a bit on the shady side. In this garden they have the further great merit of not being touched by slugs. Just need to sort out the capsids. We have a good number, both planted in the ground and grown in pots, on the basis that the hardy varieties are left permanently in the ground while the non-hardies can be moved under protection in winter.

If ever there was a dodgy concept in gardening then it is hardiness. This winter was almost frost free until the beast from the east struck in February. We had a couple of nights below -5°C, with daytime temperatures around 0. The cold spell lasted a few weeks.

We have mostly had very mild winters in the last few years, with little frost. The number of Fuchsias not regarded as hardy that we have planted out has grown. Perhaps something gets planted for the summer and we don’t get around to lifting it, or we have an old plant and we’ve propagated a new younger one, so the old one goes out to sink or swim. In some cases there is little information available and the only way to find out if it is hardy is to leave it out.

Of the supposedly tender varieties in the garden I don’t think we lost a single one last winter. We usually plant them fairly deep, a couple of inches below soil level, and we leave the top growth on until late winter for the protection it affords. F.perscandens and F. x colensoi came through with no top growth die back at all. F. boliviana and F. splendens, which have been in the ground for many years, were as usual killed to the ground but came back up in spring, albeit a little later than usual. If they have not grown as well as hoped it is because of the recent hot dry weather. Among cultivars that by rights shouldn’t have survived are ‘Quasar’, ‘Marlies de Keijzer’, ‘Remember Eric’, ‘Waldis Simon’, ‘Maxima’, ‘Jadi Messingtetra’ and ‘Delta’s Parade’.  Usually amongst our hardiest are F. microphylla and ‘F. ‘Rading’s Karin’, both tiny flowered encliandra types. They have come through some recent winters without stopping flowering or dropping a leaf. Not so this year; killed to ground level and very slow to stage a comeback, with flowering still not even starting.


Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’, a good bright yellow, fully hardy and very reliable.

It seems with hardiness that new information or experience merely adds to my ignorance. It would be possible to hypothesize any number of explanations for what we see, but which, if any, is the correct one, and ultimately, how much does it matter. If there is a risk of losing something over winter, we take cuttings and overwinter small plants under cover. If something dies, it is all too quickly forgotten and the space filled with something else.

The range of Fuchsias available in garden centres is very small, with the same varieties offered everywhere. I know a lot of people aren’t keen on them and I know that some of those people would look again if offered some of the species, or species crosses. You’re not likely to see them offered outside of specialist nurseries however and the number of them left is shrinking. There are three National Collections, holding a total of just 284 varieties between them, which considering that the website FuchsiaFinder lists over 17,000, doesn’t seem many. We have 100 ourselves. Here are some that were flowering today.


Fuchsia ‘Adalbert Bogner’. Large, very double flowers.


Fuchsia magellanica gracilis ‘Variegata’. Pretty, graceful variegated form that is hardy but less easy to propagate than most.


Fuchsia ‘Loeky’


Fuchsia ‘Coralle’. One of the triphylla group.


Fuchsia ‘Galadriel’


Fuchsia ‘Dying Embers’. Dark maroon-red flowers, dark stems and neat glossy leaves. Hardy.


Fuchsia ‘Dying Embers’


Fuchsia magellanica form. There are several forms, rather similar, amongst the hardiest of the genus.


Fuchsia ‘Lechlade Magician’. Hybrid between F. magellanica and the New Zealand species F. excorticate, from which it gets its blue pollen. In mild areas should make a small tree with lovely peeling bark.


Fuchsia ‘Lady in Black’. Like the popular F. ‘Lady Boothby’ this has long stems that with support will “climb” to a fair height.


Fuchsia boliviana. Usually grown inside, this has been in our garden for years. It is killed to the ground by the first frost but comes back in spring to about a metre in height, flowering very late in autumn.


Fuchsia ‘Charming’. Hardy variety which looks very like a lot of others.


Fuchsia ‘Remember Eric’. Has survived three winters in the ground.


Fuchsia ‘Falmouth’. Large showy flowers and seems hardy.


Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead. A magellanica type with green tipped white flowers. Fully hardy.


Fuchsia ‘Jadi Messingtetra’. Lovely pale lilac flared flowers; this survived last winter in the ground, to our surprise.


Fuchsia ‘Red Sunlight’. Somewhat lacking vigour, this is a non-hardy basket variety.


Fuchsia ‘Maxima’, not known as a hardy but has come through 3 outdoor winters with us.


Fuchsia ‘Cornish Pixie’. A supposedly dwarf form of F. microphylla that is usually evergreen and flowers all year round.


Fuchsia ‘Roesse Belinda’. We oh so nearly lost this and have coaxed it back from the brink. Not hardy.


Fuchsia ‘Olga Storey’. Hardy variety with showy flowers set against red veined bright yellow leaves.


Fuchsia ‘Delta’s Sarah’. Hardy variety that can get very tall if not cut down by cold winters. A neighbour has one 10 feet tall over her front door.


Fuchsia ‘Shuna Lindsay’. Very like the species F. denticulata but smaller.


Fuchsia procumbens. Fairly hardy New Zealand species that creeps and forms mats.


Fuchsia ‘Delta’s Parade’. Large magenta toned flowers and shouldn’t be hardy, but seemingly is.


Fuchsia ‘Catharina’. Very handsome foliage but a somewhat reluctant flowerer, very late if at all most years.