Fuchsias produce ornate pink and purple flowers and full, bushy foliage. The drooping petals and long stamens give the fuchsia its exotic look. While technically a perennial, fuchsias don’t tolerate prolonged freezes, so are often grown as annuals. They can flower for four or more months when properly cared for.
Fuchsias grow well in both pots and beds, but in areas with winter freezing they will die during winter if planted outdoors. Instead, grow them in pots placed outdoors an overwinter them indoors. Regardless of where they are grown, they need well-drained soil as they don’t tolerate soggy conditions. Fuchsias grow well in brightly lit areas out of direct sunlight. They bloom best when temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and they stop flowering when temperatures are above 76 degrees, so provide some protection from midday heat.
Keep the soil moist in spring and summer when the fuchsias are actively growing. Water potted fuchsias when the soil surface begins to feel dry — as often as once a day when pots are kept outdoors. Bedded plants require once weekly watering in spring but may require more frequent watering in summer when the soil dries out more quickly. Use mulch over the fuchsia bed to help prevent the soil from drying out. Reduce watering in fall gradually to force the fuchsias into a rest period.
Fuchsia plants require frequent fertilization to produce healthy foliage and blooms. Fertilize potted fuchsias in spring and summer. Use a soluble complete fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20 analysis, every two weeks at the package recommended rate. Soluble fertilizers at the same rate are suitable for bedded plants, or incorporate a slow-release fertilizer into the soil every two to four months in spring and summer.
These plants require only minimal pruning. Pinch back overgrown stems to a leaf bud near the desired stem height as needed to prevent the plant from becoming leggy. Fuchsias benefit from regular deadheading, since removing the spent flowers prevents them from forming seeds. Once the fuchsia begins forming seeds it stops flowering.
Cut back the foliage after the first light frost causes the plant to die back. Bring potted plants indoors and store them in an unheated, cool area such as a garage or shed. Water lightly once monthly so the soil doesn’t dry out completely. In spring, once frost danger has passed, resume regular watering and fertilization to encourage new growth. Leave fuchsias outdoors only in areas with minimal frost or if you prefer to grow them as annuals. Covering the plants with a layer of mulch helps insulate and protect them during cold weather.