20 Aug Fuchsia Fanatics: The Fancy Plants of Late Summer
Not a whole lot’s blooming in our garden (now that our passion flowers are giving way to passionfruit!) — with one silky exception.
Our fuchsia plant is, yes, sorry, no other way to say it, on fleek right now. One of the shadiest spots in the yard is also the most colorful thanks to these pendulous, gem-toned flowers that resemble a brigade of flying party dresses.
This is the same ‘Voodoo’ fuchsia we picked up during our visit to Weidner’s two years ago. For the last six weeks, the shrub has been dangling its dramatically scrolled blossoms from stems reaching over four feet in length, growing from a repurposed ship whistle.
Fuchsia is an awesome, wide-ranging genus, and home to about 110 species and over 8,000 varieties, according to SF Gate. You can find them in bush form, vine form, as upright plants/trees or (often) hanging fancily from baskets. Many fuchsias are native to South America, but you’ll also find some indigenous to Central America, Mexico, Oceana, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. Cultivars like ‘Molonae’ and ‘Neon Tricolor’ are hardy to Zone 7a, down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sunlight and heat tolerances can vary, but most of the fuchsias we’ve encountered prefer bright shade, and get zapped by high temperatures and humidity levels. Under the cool canopy of our tangerine tree, our ‘Voodoo’ has unleashed its silky sorcery.
Some care tips (from the pros at Weidners):
Plus, fuchsias are edible! You can eat the leaves, the flowers, the berries; fruit flavors can range from insipid to odd to delicious. So delicious you can make jam. Check it out below: We experimented with eating the flowers and using them as a cocktail garnish. Turns out, fuchsia branches also make great arrangements. How are fuchsia bouquets not more of a thing?
For care, history and inspiration, Fuchsias in the City is a rabbit hole of deep fuchsia knowledge. R. Theo Margelony grows his plants among the high-rises of Manhattan alongside other “shady urban things” like hostas, ferns and astilbes. His garden is fascinating, his blog is super fun, and he has a great guide on where to buy.
So, readers, what’s happening in your late-summer garden? Let us know in the comments!