I bought my fuchsia three years ago in the spring. It stopped flowering in the fall and has not flowered well since. I keep it outside in the summer and bring it in over the winter. I cut it back in the spring, and it's usually August before I see a few blooms.
I see other gardens where they bloom profusely, what would you suggest I do to have a better performance from this plant?
The thing about fuchsias is they're just close to the edge of hardiness here in the Northwest. The big gorgeous trailing one you might buy in the garden center is probably not a hardy one. They are prized for the large colorful blooms the plant produces. It's a blooming machine as long as you keep the nutrients and water coming, remove the spent blooms, see to it that it is getting the right amount of sunlight, yet not too much sun. All that sounds like a tall order, but it must be worth it to us since we the buying public make the trailing fuchsia basket one of the top sellers in garden shops all over America.
The fuchsia I believe you are hoping for is (a little) more hardy but not quite as showy; it is more of a shrublike plant. With time they can be a show stopper in the right place. If you are lucky enough to have a dappled shaded garden that is protected from winter's cold and is to the plant's liking you too might have a lovely plant that stops traffic. I have a friend whose home is on the bank of the Washougal River. Next to her front door is a huge (guessing 6- by 10-feet wide) plant that is a mass of dainty powder pink blooms all summer and fall. I've discovered I need to not visit her garden too often, as I make a real fool of myself swooning over it while I'm in her yard.
These plants are more upright, and many have the very dainty blooms, while some others have the colorful two or more sturdy-looking blooms.
These are usually offered in gallon cans and are intended to go into the ground or into a container as a replacement for a spent early-blooming plant. With the right placement in the landscape (perhaps a small microclimate of its own) they may be closer to the hardiness we desire, and may be a traffic stopper in our own garden.
I'd suggest you plant it in a protected spot in your garden. Plant it deep, about 12 inches or so. It will be late to merge in spring but be patient and it may escape the most chilly spring mornings by the time it gets to the soil line. The worst that could happen is it would die — but you will have learned something. Try again every year — you may get lucky, one year it may take off. Don't give up.
I have some plants given to me over the hot summer that I didn't want to expose to the extreme summer conditions.
Now that it's raining can't I safely plant them, and it seems to me they wouldn't need much water into the planting hole. I remember you always say to have a hose trickle into the planting hole, but in this case there has been so much rain lately do I really need to drag my hoses around?
This is a question I receive often. I have answered it countless times and ways, but since I had two emails this week asking basically the same question that tells me readers are somewhere in-between on already knowing the answer, or weren't paying attention, since they didn't have plants to get into the ground right then.
In my opinion, all plants (tiny 4 inch, up to trees) need to be watered into the ground at planting time. Even if it's raining cats and dogs. (Did I hear someone say meow?) The hose should be run into the planting hole, or a splash of water on the roots as it settles into the hole you've prepared for it. It's important because it helps incorporate the roots with the native soil, and gives it a better start.
It's true some plants' need for moisture differ, but all plants' root systems will benefit from that little boost of moisture as it's placed into its spot in the landscape. The grains of soil settle into the tiny roots, and make the settling in a better involvement for a new planting. Most benefit additionally from the monitoring of the moisture at the roots for a varied amount of time, but all benefit from the watering in at the time of being added to the landscape.
Celeste Lindsay is a WSU-certified master gardener. Send questions to email@example.com