There are a considerable number of fuchsias which are considered hardy and the British Fuchsia Society has an official list of these plants. People have started to want more hardy fuchsias possibly because of the availability of those fuchsias that look like those summer patio favourites. There are a considerable number available at nurseries and garden centres so seek them out. By hardy it is meant that they will come up year after year, flowering from early spring through to late autumn, when the frosts arrive, with a wonderful show of flowers.
Fuchsias can only be regarded as hardy when they are planted out in the garden on a permanent basis. For fuchsias which are kept in pots these will have to be brought into a frost free environment in winter. If pots cannot be brought in ensure that the roots are covered in plenty of compost and wrap the plants in fleece.
Hardy fuchsias should be planted out in May/June once the last frost has been and gone. They need time to establish themselves with a good root run before autumn descends. The plants need to be of a reasonable size, 13cm (5”) pot size are ideal. Plant the fuchsia at least 5cm (2”) lower than they were in the pot to protect the crown of the plant in well prepared ground i.e ground which has been dug over and to which plenty of humus-forming material such as well rotted compost, manure and fertiliser has been added. Remember to remove the pot before planting and insert a label with the fuchsia name
It is better to try and build up a good root system in the first year so water well with a liquid fertiliser (say a quarter strength every watering) until the plant is well established. Watering should not be required in ensuing years unless we experience drought conditions. In the autumn apply plenty of soil, compost, leaf mould around the plant to give it extra protection against hard frosts.
Pruning of these fuchsias should be carried out in spring when there is evidence of plant growth. Plant growth can appear from the crown of the plant and/or from the stems of the plant. Trim the stems back to where new growth appears for a larger plant. If hard pruning is required cut the woody stems back to ground level. It is advisable to apply a feed at this time such as well rotted manure, a chemical feed such as bonemeal to give the plant a well deserved boost.
Never prune in the autumn. It is preferable to retain the branches on the fuchsia during winter to prevent diseases entering the wounded stems and also to give them more protection during the cold winter months.
Fuchsia can be used for hedges. They should be treated as hardy fuchsias with pruning required as necessary. A fuchsia hedge is a superb sight.
This list is specific to classification for BFS shows. There may well be plants that are hardy for you which are not included in this list. For such plants we would suggest that you take a cutting for overwintering in case your outside plant does not survive
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