Check any list of the best flowers for hummingbirds, and you will see fuchsia near the top. Their brightly colored, dangling flowers have the perfect shape for hummingbird beaks, are long-blooming, and provide an energy boosting supply of nectar. Bees and butterflies are also attracted to them for many of the same reasons!
The Fuchsia genus has more than 100 species and over 2,000 cultivars, so they can be quite diverse, from our summer annual hanging basket type to the semi-woody, hardy type we are focusing on here. There is a wide range of growth habits from one kind of fuchsia to another—some are creeping or trailing while others may be semi-upright or upright and bushy. Foliage can also vary greatly from one species to the next—leaves can be opposite, alternate, or even whorled, depending on the species. No matter the growth habit of the plant, fuchsia flowers tend to be shaped similarly, but vary in size and color combinations. The flower resembles a hanging lantern; it is usually bi-colored with the sepal (outer flared petals) in one color, while the corolla (inner tubular petals) is a different color; often in combinations of pink/red and purple, but not always.
Extremely long blooming, hardy fuchsias begin flowering in late May or early June and continue blooming until frost! As they mature, each flower can form an edible berry-like fruit with a spicy cherry-grape flavor. Some fuchsia cultivars produce larger berries than others and many cultivars have subtle flavor differences. Fuchsias are native to Mexico, Central and South America, New Zealand, and Tahiti.
How to Grow Hardy Fuchsia
Light: best in full sun or at least 4 hours of sunlight for best flower production; some cultivars are more heat tolerant than others:
- Army Nurse
- Fuchsia magellanica
- Golden Gate
- Prince of Orange
- Tom Thumb
- Whiteknight’s Pearl
- Winston Churchill
Moisture: keep regularly watered until established, then water every week or two once mature
Soil: average, moderately well-draining soil
Planting: best done in spring or fall, plant 1–2 inches deeper in the ground and bury the crown or allow the soil to fill back in as it grows; can also be planted in containers, but may need cold protection in extreme conditions
Fertilizer: feed each spring when growth resumes (March/April) and again in late July or early August; all purpose fertilizer is ideal
Hardy: in-ground USDA Zones 7–9; some plants may benefit from a layer of mulch over the crown as extra winter protection
Pruning: avoid major pruning in fall and allow plant to remain as is until spring growth resumes, then cut back dead wood in spring
Size: varies by cultivar; unpruned plants may grow to be quite large (5–6 feet tall by 3–4 feet wide)
Pests: mostly considered to be low-maintenance; occasionally, fuchsias can be bothered by aphids, whitefly, spider mites, or thrips; water in morning and allow for good air circulation to avoid foliar diseases such as fuchsia rust; most fuchsias are considered deer resistant and are attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds