Fuchsia is a dancer
Dancing on her toes,
Clad in red and purple,
By a cottage wall;
Sometimes in a greenhouse,
In frilly white and rose,
Dressed in her best for the fairies' evening ball!
The genus Fuchsia includes about 100 species. There are 3,000 to 5,000 cultivars. Many of these cultivars are available with upright or trailing growth habits. The most commonly grown, Fuchsia x hybrida, or ladies’ eardrops, is a hybrid derived from Fuchsia fulgens and F. magellanica, natives of Mexico and southern Chile and Argentina, respectively.
Fuchsias are ideally suited for hanging baskets because of their drooping stems and colorful, bell-shaped flowers.
Although fuchsias may flower almost continuously from spring to fall outdoors, they are unlikely to bloom indoors for more than three or four months at a time. The flowers appear in pairs from each leaf axil on thin, usually drooping 1- to 2-inch long stalks.
Flower color can be almost any combination of white, pink, red, magenta and purple.
In general, fuchsias prefer cool daytime temperatures (60 to 70 °F) and a nighttime temperature of 10 degrees lower. The cool night temperatures are especially important during early spring growth when new growth is pinched and flower buds are developing. Flowering ceases when the average daily temperature rises above 76 °F.
During the growing season, water when the soil surface feels dry. In the fall, gradually reduce watering and extend the periods between watering to prepare the fuchsia for a winter rest.
Plants grown outside during the summer must be brought inside before the first fall frost. Very large plants may be cut back to the rim of the pot, or you can leave 6-inch stubs. Fuchsias can be successfully overwintered in a cool (45 to 50 °F) location. During the rest period, water sparingly, just enough to prevent the potting mixture from becoming completely dry.
Before bringing the plant indoors, check the remaining scaffold branches for signs of insects. Control any insect pests before bringing your fuchsia indoors.
In the spring move the plant to a warmer, well-lit location and resume regular watering. When new growth appears, repot the plant. Shake off the old potting mixture and return the plant to the same pot (or one slightly larger) with fresh potting soil comprised of equal parts of peat moss, vermiculite, potting soil and coarse sand.
Pinch each new shoot after it has produced two full sets of leaves. Pinching the growing tips early will promote branching, and the result will be a plant that fills and covers the container. Stop pinching about a month before the first frost date in the fall.
Take softwood cuttings about 6 inches long with two or three pairs of leaves from young, green shoots in the spring. Remove the bottom pair of leaves and insert the cutting into a moist rooting medium as far as the base of the lowest pair of leaves. A well-drained rooting medium comprised of equal parts of peat and perlite is fine. Enclose each potted cutting in a plastic bag and keep it in a warm place that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Rooting occurs in about three or four weeks. Move the rooted cuttings into pots of ordinary potting mix and pinch the tips to begin forming well-balanced plants.