Hardy Fuchsias at Chickadee Gardens

Never in my years of gardening have I had an interest in fuchsias. If you say to me: "Fuchsias are awesome!" I'd flashback to the annual baskets my grandmother faithfully hung at her kitchen window. I remember the tedious but strangely satisfying job of pinching off the purple pods once the flower finished. That's it. End of experience and interest.

Then I started working at Joy Creek Nursery where we grow some 100 different cultivars. While not a fuchsia enthusiast per se I am a plant-saver, so when at the end of the growing season little 4" pots of fuchsias are ditched because they probably won't survive the winter, I hoard. I want to save ALL the plants. Which leads me to the many fuchsias now growing at Chickadee Gardens. Most are not mature shrubs so you will see only detail photos, but when they do fill in, me thinks I'll have more to share.

For now, on this rainy day post, let us sample that which I claim to have little interest, the humble fuchsia.

At Joy Creek Nursery we have a huge display garden where many of these beauties provide cutting material. Most of the plants are in full sun and we get a lot of questions about that. In the Pacific Northwest the light is such that they can handle our full sun so long as they receive enough irrigation. Most of the fuchsias in my garden are in shade to part sun. In hotter climates, at least part shade is preferred. Pictured is Fuchsia 'Nici's Findling', a very sweet low shrub at only about 16" x 16".

One of my very favorites is Fuchsia 'Exmoor Woods' because it has a light, airy habit and these little beauties are blooming in fairly heavy shade.

Detail of the flowers that are still going in mid-October. In fact, most of these will keep blooming until we have a hard frost.

One of my favorites is Fuchsia magellanica 'Aurea'. It has golden leaves and graceful red/purple flowers. The more sun it receives, the more golden the foliage. I would have thought this color combination garish but when it's juxtaposed with a sea of green shrubs in a woodland-like garden, it stands out as a breath of fresh air. By the way, the magellanica forms are said to be the hardiest for us in this region.

Another shot of 'Aurea', this one is in the garden at Joy Creek Nursery.

Another favorite is Fuchsia speciosa. That chubby, somewhat fuzzy foliage coupled with red-orange flower sepals make it super cool. This plant was started from a typical 4" pot from the nursery. Look at her now!

Detail of Fuchsia speciosa from today, a rainy October day.

One that I like for its foliage, Fuchsia 'Entstone' is a low, wide plant at 18" high by about 20" wide. It has light pink flowers, but this has never bloomed for me.

Fuchsia 'Little Beauty' was an accident, I took home the wrong one but stuck a couple in the ground all the same. They are very sweet, reach about 3' x 3' when mature, are at the front of a new bed that up until last year was a tangled mess of blackberry and wood scraps. Stay tuned for updates on the new areas that are completely planted now but immature.

Fuchsia 'Ocean Mist' has not only tiny, cute foliage but pure-white tiny flowers. These haven't bloomed for me yet but I look forward to seeing the white in the shade garden.

This photo is from the tables at work, I didn't get a good shot of Fuchsia 'Tom West' in my own garden. Here is another I grow for its foliage. It is another on the smaller side at 24" x 24".

Fuchsia 'Thomasina' at work. The ones I have in my garden are too new and are not blooming yet. Isn't she lovely?

This someday giant is Fuchsia 'Lechlade Magician' which, in the gardens of Joy Creek Nursery, is some 6' tall and that's after it was hacked back hard this spring. Plus, it has blue pollen. What's not to love?

A second shot of 'Lechlade Magician'

One I never would have bought intentionally but took home without a tag as a mystery, Fuchsia 'Remembrance' has grown on me.

Fuchsia 'Golden Gate' in the garden at Joy Creek Nursery. I have several of these as well as the similarly colored 'Aurea' as seen earlier in the post and for a long time did not notice a difference between them while at their immature size. Fast forward to larger plants and it's evident the leaf shape is much chubbier on this, the size of the shrub is smaller overall, and the flower sepals are recurved on 'Golden Gate'. Two totally different plants.

In my garden there are several of these at the edge of a shady area, so some receive more sun than others. This one gets a decent amount, thus the foliage is especially golden.

This is in more shade and the leaves are greener.

Another magellanica form, F. m. 'Alba'. Don't let the name alba fool you, though - it is a light pink color.

I like this photo because there's a spider hiding in that flower. This gets on the larger size at 5 - 6' or so tall.

Another grown for foliage, Fuchsia 'Steirerblut' does have gorgeous red pink flowers but this hasn't bloomed for me yet.

Fuchsia 'Globosa' is, according to Maurice, my boss, the most drought tolerant of hardy fuchsias we grow. I can say that I find it to be true in my own garden. These are also beautiful low and wide plants with red stems that compliment the flower color and rather large flowers.

Fuchsia 'Globosa' as seen mid-October.

Fuchsia 'Hawkshead', one of very few white fuchsias. We can't keep this one in stock at the nursery, it's so popular. It is about 3' x 3'.

Another in the super hardy camp is Fuchsia magellanica 'David'. Admittedly I purchased this one for Facilities Manager, as it bears his name. Not the best photo of this one but it is gorgeous in the gardens at Joy Creek Nursery, covered in small flowers with hummingbirds always nearby. It's about 3' x 3', a great size.

For a flower-size comparison, 'David' is on the left and 'Globosa' on the right.

And my helper always helps. Thank you, Hobbes.

A couple of pointers we tell customers at Joy Creek Nursery are to wait to cut back any wood on your hardy fuchsia in springtime until you see new growth emerge. It may regrow from the roots, but it may also regrow from woody stems if it's been a mild winter, so wait to see where it breaks and let that be your guide. Also, if you are worried about inclement winter weather, protect them with branch boughs or a light covering. Most of what I have listed here are hardy for us and have been reliable in my garden for up to four years. Many in the Joy Creek gardens have been there over 20 years. Sometimes they do up and die but . . . that's gardening for you. For the most part. they perform year after year here in the Pacific Northwest.

While I used to think all fuchsia flowers look the same and I glossed over this vast and interesting genus of plants, admittedly I have regained sanity and fallen in love with them. While no expert whatsoever, I am more in the "appreciator" category. For some serious fuchsia information, may I suggest my friends over at the fabulous blog Fuchsias in the City, recently transplanted from New York, we are so thrilled they are part of the Pacific Northwest gardening and fuchsia community.

Other resources include:

There are a bazillion fuchsias out there. It's mind-boggling, really and I just can't go down that rabbit hole - but I'll happily stay in my little kitty nest of fuchsias. Also growing in the gardens here at Chickadee Gardens but not pictured (yet) are the following:

Fuchsia 'Autumnale'
Fuchsia 'Dying Embers'
Fuchsia 'Galadriel'
Fuchsia hatschbachii
Fuchsia 'Little Beauty'
Fuchsia magellanica heirloom cross
Fuchsia procumbens 'Variegata'
Fuchsia regia
Fuchsia regia supb. regia
Fuchsia regia supb. reitzii
Fuchsia 'Roswitha'
Fuchsia 'Whiteknight's Cheeky'

Ok, that's a colorful wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you! Do you have a favorite hardy fuchsia? Share with us all! Happy gardening, everyone! Oh, and LET"S VOTE!


  1. Congrats on successfully embracing an entirely new type of plant! There were several exuberantly flowering in Evan's garden last weekend (we missed you!) and I tried to find the appeal, but nope. It just ain't there for me. Never say never, but not yet.

    1. Ha ha...only in gardening can we congratulate one another for embracing another obsession. Woo hoo! OK, to be fair, I'm not obsessed but I do appreciate them, especially species and small flowered ones.

      Never say never, Miss D!

  2. You have so many lovely fuchsias in your garden. Seeing fuchsias grown in gardens vs baskets I have come to prefer the daintier blooms of the species over the larger flouncy doubles. Growing up in the PNW of BC everyone grew huge shrub-sized fuchsias and I grew to love them. Alas, here on the Prairies they are treated as annuals but I grow them every year anyway. My particular favourite is Fuchsia boliviensis: very long cherry pink blooms on soft fuzzy grey foliage. It is gorgeous!

    1. I prefer the daintier blooms, too. We grow so many large flowered ones (well, all kinds really) at Joy Creek, but the little ones always appeal.

      Even as annuals they bring much needed cheer. I'll look up Fuchsia boliviensis - it sounds familiar...sounds lovely!

  3. You have quite the collection, Tamara! Thanks for sharing it. I fell in love with these plants years ago when I found they flourished in my former shady garden. Sadly, although we moved just 15 miles south, they appear to hate my current garden. Although we can see the ocean, we don't get the cooling ocean breezes enjoyed by our former garden. Fuchsias were among the first plants I tried in containers in my shade house when it was constructed but I still haven't struck the right balance to ensure their happiness. The drying winds we get nearly every afternoon don't help. But I haven't given up yet!

    1. Ah, isn't that interesting, just 15 miles away and you are in a totally different climate. It illustrates how diverse gardening conditions can be!

      Too bad you don't get those cooling ocean breezes, that sounds sooo lovely. And yes, don't give up. Maybe try F. 'Globosa' - ? It really is more drought tolerant than any others I've encountered. Just a thought ;)

  4. Hm. My 'Steierblut' didn't bloom this year, either, even though this was it's second summer. It did bloom a little last summer. Then again, some of my other fuchsias didn't bloom or bloomed poorly this year, too. Not really sure why, except in the case of denticulata, which I know had a mole persistently burrowing around it and drying it out. I'm developing a fondness for regia and others that will grow through other plants.

    1. Hmm...I think mine is in too much shade. But that doesn't explain yours if it did bloom last summer.

      Interesting that others didn't bloom. Many of the ones I have in deep-ish shade don't bloom, but that's ok. I really like regia and other species - also hatschbachii.

  5. I've been collecting Fuchsias since the 70's. There was an interruption at the height of the gall-mite infestation -I tossed every one and had none at all for a few years. Gradually I began introducing mite-resistant varieties . It is a challenge in any case because I am inland and they fare better on the coast , and this year the summer was so hot I had to move all of the plants that I had in morning sun -even that was too much . Fuchsias are not as readily available as they used to be back in the 80's and 90's here-there used to be a nursery called Fuchsiarama just north of Ft Bragg on our Mendocino coast-I loved that place and they had a huge selection. Now I buy most of mine from Joy Creek ! Your photos have put a few on my list--oh and have you ever popped them ? It's pretty fun.

    1. Wowsers! Since the 70's - you know your fuchsias! I heard about someone else talking about mites and fuchsias, I didn't realize it is an issue. Call it blissful ignorance.

      The nursery you mention sounds cool, I would have frequented it too. Joy Creek...oh yes, we have so many. What are you adding to your list?? :)

      And popping them - is that like what you do with snapdragons? Please educate me! :)

  6. Wonderful blog as always Tamara. I think you are among the best bloggers that I read. Smart, beautiful, thoughtful stuff. And you are an amazing gardener.

    1. Oh, Paul, you are too kind. That is high praise coming from you, and I feel the same way about your amazing blog and Xera Plants. Thank you thank you, it means the world to me to hear this. You are always welcome here as I hope you know. :)


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