Far Out Flora – Far Out Fuschia

Wow, we can’t believe that the winter rains are nipping at our heels. Seems like it was just Fogust. Great thing about our rainy season is it’s a great time to get plants established in your garden. If you are searching for something that flowers like crazy, you need a fuchsia. Be warned: After you plant one, you’re gonna want more.

Fuchsias are prolific flowering shrubs. Depending on the type, they typically bloom continuously between early spring to late fall. The blooms are long and slender, often compared to a twirling ballerina. Here’s little guy we planted last spring. We were a little surprised that it already bloomed this season, but they are vigorous growers.

These guys love our climate here along the coast. Between the consistent cool ocean breezes and summertime fog, they will grow in part shade to full sun. Also, they do need water during our summertime drought. We water ours about once per week, then let them dry out between waterings. Your soil should be fast-draining, which shouldn’t be a problem out here in the Ocean Beach area.

Quick history lesson: There was a big scare back in the early ’80s when the fuchsia gall mite (Aculops fuchsiae) found its way to California. This nasty microscopic pest wreaked havoc on Fuchsias everywhere, attacking new growth and causing the flowers to look all mangled. Since then, horticulturalists have identified the mite-resistant species and developed a bunch of new cultivars that hold up to this devilish beast.

It’s project time. With the winter rains just starting, this is the prefect time to get your fuchsia ready and establish now, so that it’s ready to enjoy early next year. Here are a few we see growing around the ’hood and would suggest giving a try:

  • Fuchsia ‘“Fanfare” – tall-growing shrub with 3-inch-long, orangey-red blooms
  • Fuchsia denticulate – mid-sized shrub with tons of red flowers with green bracts
  • Fuchsia glazioviana – mid-sized shrub with showy blue-and-pink flowers
  • Fuchsia thymifolia – has thyme-like leaves with small flowers (shown below)

We (Matti and Megan) live in San Francisco near Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. Plants are awesome. We like to do interesting things with them. Succulents, bromeliads, carnivores and other unusual plants are our favorites. Both of us graduated from UW-Madison with art degrees. Matti works for an art gallery and Megan works for a home staging company. We’re originally from the great state of Wisconsin. Before moving to San Francisco we lived in Madison off of Willy Street Our dog Max is too smart for his own good. He makes us check out beaches all over the coast.

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