Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pink Ballerinas in the Back Gardens



The first image that comes to mind for me is the movie "Fantasia". Very time I see Fuchsias in bloom I think of the tiny ballet dancers. I have a number of hardy Fuchsias in the gardens. I'm going to plant a few in pots this year and see how they winter over. I love to experiment to see how good plants really are. The problem is that a fuchsia is not a drought tolerant plant but I kind of baby them a little more than the other plants. I do have one planted out in the side garden under the Clerodendrum trichotomum, so far it has been okay. It stays a lot dryer out there than in the back gardens.

Nearly all fuchsia species come from the West Indies and Latin America, from Mexico and southwards. They are trees or shrubs with flowers borne singly or in racemes and bloom on new shoots. The wood is hard and the bark flaky. The hardiest species comes from southern Chile near the Straits of Magellan - Fuchsia magellanica - where the climate is damp and cool. Fuchsias grow in rock crevices and at the edges of forests where the soil is rich and well-drained. They also grow at high altitudes, the nearer the equator the higher the altitude, in misty cloud forests, cool but light. The magellanica fuchsias are the best winter hardy varieties that you can plant. In the wild, fuchsias are often pollinated by hummingbirds, but in Europe, it's mainly bees, bumble bees, and wasps. Wild fuchsia species are of a woody nature, ranging in their natural habitat from trees, such as Fuchsia excorticata, 30 feet or more high, to prostrate, creeping plants such as Fuchsia procumbens with small, petal-less, yellow/green/brown flowers. The majority are vigorous shrubs, found on high, rain-drenched, moisture laiden mountain slopes in the Andes or in dense, evergreen forests or jungles.

USDA hardiness zone 5 to zone 8

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