The Fuchsia is a truly international flower. It was first found growing on the Spanish island of Hispaniola (now known as Haiti); it was recorded by a French monk around called Charles Plumia 1697; charitably he did not name it after himself but after a Bavarian botanist called Leonhard Fuchs. The first hybridisation of the Fuchsia was carried out by British gardeners; and then French, American and German gardeners had a go at it as well.
There are now over a hundred different species of fuchsia in the world, ranging in height from a few centimetres right up to about 15 meters tall.
Absolutely. The flowers can make a very attractive garnish and the seeds can be eaten as well. Most of these don't taste terribly good but a lot of work is being done on producing hybrids that are tasty.
No, your cat or dog can eat as many as it wishes without any adverse effects (within reason of course!)
No. You can propagate them easily from cuttings. Theoretically you could buy just one plant and by next summer your garden could be full of colour! There is in fact the occasional local competition held by gardening clubs to see who can produce the most from one single tot.
If you want to be really, really economical buy your first plant at the start of the season and it should cost you a lot less than a pound. You then need a very sharp knife; a 'Stanley' or similar craft knife is ideal; and then cut off all the healthy shoots. Nip off any flower buds.
These cuttings should be about 3 inches long but if you have more time to spare you can use smaller ones provided that they hold a pair of leaves each, trimming them off just below the leaves. You could even go further by slicing your cutting vertically, leaving two cuttings each with a single leaf. These will of course be slower to grow.
Hormone powder is not necessary; simply put the cuttings into pots of fresh compost, water them from below and set them aside to drain. Cover each pot with a polythene bag.
Leave them in a sheltered spot out of direct sun for perhaps three or four weeks and then you can separate each root into it's own individual pot.
Once your baby plants are strong enough you can move them into a sunnier spot. They can then be left to flower or, if you want to propagate them further, you can crop the tips of the plants. This encourages sideshoots, which can then be used to start the whole process all over again!
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