There are many types of fuchsias to choose from. Those that are recommended to be planted in the garden and left there during the winter months are listed as ‘Hardies’. For fuchsia plants to qualify under this heading, stringent tests must be carried out. Different varieties are distributed all over the British Isles and cultivated under normal conditions for several years. They are left exposed to the elements during the winter months. If after a predetermined time these plants manage to survive even the coldest climate, they are then categorised as Hardies. The British Fuchsia Society has an official list of fuchsia plants that are capable of being over wintered in the garden (see below). It would be advisable to only select from these if you wish to grow fuchsias in the garden and leave them there all the year round.
Fuchsias are not fussy as to the type of soil, but it’s most important to take a little care in the preparation before they are introduced to where they are expected to thrive for many years. Begin by digging the soil thoroughly and adding plenty of humus-forming material. If after digging the hole to accommodate the plant, the soil is a heavy water retaining clay, it will be advisable to include a few broken bricks or anything similar and a small amount of grit in the bottom, because fuchsias like a well drained soil.
The ideal period to plant young hardy fuchsias (which will in all probability have the ideal root growth which has no need to be disturbed) in the garden, is late May or early June. This will give them ample opportunity to establish a good root system during the warmer summer months.
Young plants are preferred because older ones seldom move well and they will most probably take a year or two before becoming established. Older plants that are grown in pots have generally produced a substantial rooting system and are too brittle to become successfully disengaged, so endeavouring to loosen them may result in a few becoming damaged, thus inadvertently preventing the root system becoming properly ‘anchored’.
Remember to remove the pot before planting. This may sound ridiculous, but it is not unknown for fuchsias to have been planted with the pot left in situ. When planting hardy fuchsias into the garden, it is advisable to plant them slightly deeper than the depth of the pot (see diagram). The line depicts the ground level. Planting at this depth not only has the benefit of protecting the roots from severe frost, but also the branches below ground level will usually produce extra root growth. Sprinkle a light dressing of an organic fertilizer (e.g. bonemeal) over the excavated soil and then gently fork it in. After positioning the plant at the suggested level, replace and gently firm the soil around the plant and insert a label with the name of the fuchsia.
Lastly, apply adequate water and keep the soil moist until the plant is well established. Planting is best completed before the end of August, thus allowing it time to become acclimatised to the elements before winter arrives.
As an extra precaution, a mulch of well rotted garden compost or any similar material spread copiously around the plant in the autumn should provide extra root protection during the winter.
It is an advantage to retain the branches intact on the plants during the winter. This not only prevents any disease entering the wounded stems caused by late pruning, but the extra cover will also help to give them a little protection during the very cold months. The best time to prune outdoor fuchsias is during early spring after the new shoots appear. Cut back every branch just above a pair of leaf buds to within three or four inches from the surface of the ground. This type of hard pruning will also induce new growth to sprout from below ground level. Repeat this procedure every year.
Do not prune any outdoor fuchsias until you are sure that all frosts are finished.
Any cultivar suggested to the BFS for the Hardy List must have survived at least five consecutive winters and begun to flower in July or early August. It does not necessarily mean that the fuchsias listed below will survive when left in the ground through every winter in every corner of the United Kingdom.
|A M Larwick
|Avalanche (Henderson 1896)
|Baby Blue Eyes
|C J Howlett
|E A Babbs
|Empress of Prussia
|F. magellanica var. aurea
|F. magellanica var. comber
|F. magellanica var. conica
|F. magellanica var. discolor
|F. magellanica var. globosa
|F. magellanica var. golden sharpitor
|F. magellanica var. gracilis
|F. magellanica var. longipendunculata
|F. magellanica var. macrostema
|F. magellanica var. molinae (alba)
|F. magellanica var. myrtifolia
|F. magellanica var. prostrata
|F. magellanica var. pumila
|F. magellanica var. sharpitor
|F. magellanica var. thompsonii
|F. magellanica var. tricolor
|F. magellanica var. variegata
|F. magellanica var. versicolor
|H G Brown
|Herbe de Jacques
|Mr A Huggett
|Mrs W P Wood
|Pee Wee Rose
|Queen of Derby
|Rose of Castile
|Rose of Castile Improved
|Son of Thumb
|W P Wood