Grown in containers or beds, the fuchsia's pink, purple, white and red hanging flowers brighten up gardens and patios through the summer and into the autumn. This deciduous shrub comes in a huge range of hybrids, all of which fall into three categories: hardy, half-hardy and standard. Hardy varieties survive outdoors in all but the northernmost parts of Britain. Half-hardy specimens can over-winter outdoors in the southern English counties in the absence of hard frosts. If you want to keep standards through the winter, they need the protection of a heated greenhouse. Fuchsia is frequently misspelled. The plant is named after 16th century botanist Leonard Fuchs --- remember that and you'll get the spelling right.
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Things you need
Plant fuchsias in a sheltered spot that gets some direct sunlight. Fuchsias grow happily in part shade but they need about four hours of direct light each day to flourish and flower strongly.
Water fuchsias regularly during dry spells in the growing season. The more mature your plant is, the less likely it is to need watering. Especially in their first year, water plants when the soil around them is dry. Container plants, no matter how old, need watering whenever the compost is dry to the touch.
Remove faded flowers to encourage more flowering. If you don't, the plant will concentrate on producing seeds instead of more flowers.
Spray the plants with insecticide if you see signs of insect infestation, such as greenfly or whitefly. Follow the insecticide manufacturer's instructions.
Prune out diseased leaves as soon as they appear. Fuchsias can suffer from rust, a fungal disease that causes yellow patches and powdery orange spots on the leaves.
Tips and warnings
- Encourage your fuchsias to flower profusely during the growing season by watering in a liquid plant food.
- Pinch out the early-season growing shoots of the fuchsia to encourage bushiness and flowering.
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