Fuchsia magellanica

Hardy Fuchsia
ONAGRACEAE, The Evening primrose family

Becky and David have a big fuchsia bush next to their covered patio. It has long, dangling red flowers on very long peduncles. I’ve found they make wonderful, if ephemeral, earrings. This should be no surprise, coming from someone who frequently wore a petunia on her nose as a child.

Fuchsias like partial shade in sheltered locations, preferably with cool, humid weather. They are about the worst thing to grow in a hanging basket, where they easily dry out and are subject to breezes. They attract hummingbirds and have edible berries.

Linnaeus name Fuchsia for German scientist Leohart Fuchs (1501-66). In botanical latin, when proper names are the source of generic or specific names, their original pronunciation should be preserved within the latinized spelling (the ending). Sometimes the stress has to change. Therefore Fuchsia should be said “FOOKS-ee-uh,” not “FEW-shuh.” But whatever.

(Side note on the word “hardy”. A pet peeve. Cusomers pick up a plant and ask “Is this a hardy one?” referring to that individual plant. They want to know if it is ‘healthy’, or ‘vigorous’. In horticulture, ‘hardy’ refers to a plant’s ability to survive winter temperatures, which is relative depending on where you are gardening. Generally, people say a plant is hardy when it can survive freezing. If it can live through short periods of temperatures around freezing, but not extended bouts below 32 F, then it is called half-hardy. “Tender” mean a plant can take no frost. What’s a blog good for if not for venting once in a while?)

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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