Privilege Blog

Object of Desire: One Fuchsia In A Pot

Fuchsias. First of all, notice the spelling. Fuch-See-Ya. Even though it’s pronounced Fyusha. One of the most frequently misspelled words in the English language.

Second, nod to Aussie blogger extraordinaire, Faux Fuchsia. I appreciate her consistent authenticity and her authentic consistency.

Third, and the project for today, think about planting the actual plant. Oh, wait, pause for a lovely moment to admire their grace. The anthropomorphic silhouette.

Fuchsia by Mark Robinson

I’m looking to refurbish the corner below, its inhabitants long since withered or repatriated to more hospitable climes. Ms. Bougainvillea needed more sun than I’ve got in this corner, off to my sister. Mr. Delphinium (tripartite leaves peeking out below purple basil in the lower right hand pot) found a happy home with my stepmother.


For the moment,  I’ve stuck my Auspicious Pinwheel in a container of expiring violas, next to some orange kalanchoe, and called it a day. Not the best showing.


And the big pot sits sad and lonely.


The bad news is fuchsias spawn clubs, like roses and orchids. The by-laws, instructions, and language of species clubs seem designed to frighten. Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Pinkly Enter Here! But keep your chin up, and do a little research, you’ll find as usual that plants aren’t all or nothing.

Get a couple of things right with plants, you can get a lot of things wrong.

The good news is, since I’m planting in a container, and in a climate pretty close to the preferred habitat,

“Fuchsias are happiest with temperatures between 55-80°F, though there are some heat-tolerant cultivars that will keep their blooms up to 90°F. Fuchsias thrive in humidity, so if you live in a dry climate, you may have to mist your fuchsias to keep them sufficiently moist.”

I get to ignore 90% of the admonitions found on sites like this one. I can return to admiring the previously remarked upon grace.

Bright Fuchsia by Tristan Martin

On to planting.

I have the pot and my gloves (I love these, all garish and whatnot). I understand potting soil (advanced level, that). I did just break my trowel the other day and am tempted by this fancy copper one, but I’ll probably default to the basic.

However, purchasing an actual fuchsia turns out to be a little complicated Did you know about fuchsia gall mites? Me neither. A nerdy gardening moment.

Mites can be addressed with neem oil, the only pest control (besides my fingers) I use. Still, my local nurseries are having trouble with their supply chain. I try to avoid the big box stores, and their systemic pesticides. Who wants to invite a toxic plant to their backyard, like a wicked ballet dancer, razors in her shoes? And it’s late to order online. My fuchsia may remain imaginary for a while.

But I want it to be purple. Feng shui says so, (the pots sit in my “wealth” corner) and these agree.

Hardy Fuchsia Deltas Sarah by Mike Atkinson

I admit, part of my interest is driven by the California drought. I can water a container with the shower warm-up bucket. One makes do for beauty.

Back to admiring grace.

Fuchsia by Duncan Harris


Photo credits

Container photos, me
Mark Robinson
Tristan Martin
Mike Atkinson
Duncan Harris

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33 Responses

  1. Soooo beautiful! and so sorry I can’t grow them where I live. Of course, my childhood in the bay area was filled with ballet- dancer fuchsia dolls, choreographed by my sister and me in our back yard…thanks for the memories!

  2. You’re lucky with the climate there; fuchsias tend to love it. Here, too hot and dry. Good luck with the sourcing, and yes those purple ones are divine!

  3. Beautiful fuchsias. Love them, and love the word mnemonic. I’m always thinking of mnemonic devices for things. The only time I had fuchsias in my garden was my single year in Newport Beach in Southern California. My garden, done by the previous owners, was a sort of an tropical paradise of fuchsias, bougainvilleas, and hibiscus, all bright and joyful. I’m devoted to bougainvilleas, which is another word so difficult to spell that it has it own complete list of search entries under a common misspelling. Bougainvilleas make me happy with their colorful profusion.

  4. I love fuchsias, and now I’m embarrassed that I may have been spelling them incorrectly all along. Never again, thank you Dr. (Herr?) Fuchs. . .
    We inherited an absolutely indestructible fuchsia plant — three of them in different spots in the garden, all of which have survived serious reno disruption. One even manages very well seaside, always a tough gig. Another, in the back yard, is currently flowering all the way up (10 feet!!) an arbutus trunk it’s snuggled against. All I need to do with any of them is wack them back as ruthlessly as I can bear in the early spring — then it’s a Hummingbird Bar, all day long! I’m sure yours will bring you all kinds of joy, especially if you find one in your preferred purple.

    1. @Frances/Materfamilias, I was totally spelling it wrong, for ages:). Too many of us do, really, for any shame. And from my initial reading, it does seem that your climate is what fuchsias like best – that you in the PNW can plant them in the ground better than anyone else. I can only imagine just how gorgeous they are climbing in your yard.

  5. So pretty. I remember them well from childhood. Wonder if they could be babied enough to grow in Idaho? Hmmmm. Probably too hot in summer here. Certainly they would pick up their skirts and run away in the winter.

    1. @Mary anne, I read that in cold winter climates you have to hang them as baskets and take them in for the winter, or, resign yourself to the idea that they will be annuals.

  6. I love fuchsias and actually did a large painting of one, that is very sort of surreal. It’s one of the only paintings I’ve ever done that I wouldn’t sell, and have hanging in my home. There is something absolutely anthropomorphic about them. I had many in Martha’s Vineyard, but haven’t tried them since we moved back to LA. I think I’ll get a hanging basket filled with them and hang under a shady tree. Thanks for this post, which as usual, evokes a lot of things in me!

  7. Back when I was in high school, we used to sell hanging baskets of them as part of our spring fund raiser. I always liked them, but we didn’t have a place for hanging baskets.

    My father always got at least one flat of New Guinea Impatiens though, & they seem to overflow the pot where he planted them. He’s the one with the green thumb in our family. :)

    1. @m, A family only needs one, more than that and you may have head-butting over just what to plant! New Guinea varieties are the only kind of impatiens I like.

  8. The copper trowel you are coveting is lovely – but I wonder if you’ve ever used a hori hori for gardening. It’s a Japanese tool that digs like a trowel, but also has a serrated blade that can be used to cut through roots, stalks and so many other things. My husband bought me one years ago and it’s been my favorite overall gardening tool ever since.

    1. I SAW those on Amazon and thought they were gorgeous but wasn’t sure if they’d work well. Do they actually dig holes?

  9. I love fuchsias, but have never lived in a place where they can be an actual garden plant. Oh my how lovely that would be. I did tend to have a row of them in hanging baskets in my front yard when I lived in Hyde Park. It was humid enough, and shady enough, but even heat-tolerant varieties always looked a little peaked those last two weeks of July when the temperatures averaged in the mid 80s and flirted with 90. It was often too hot in August as well, but by then the nights were cool enough that they were refreshed.

    I am afraid that it is too hot here, with the longer summers and higher temperatures in July and August. But I like the idea of a fuchsia flourishing in your corner.

    1. Someone introduced me to someone else, on Twitter, who has pointed me to some amazing local nurseries that have OODLES of fuchsias. I’m in business!

  10. I suspect you want that exact combination of colors, but did you know there’s a California fuchsia (native)?

    We have a couple of the kind you want, although they don’t look that great right now. On the other hand, I just started using water from the washing machine to water, so things might improve.

  11. We don’t have a drought here in New England where I live, but thank you for reminding me about the shower warmup bucket. I do save lettuce washing water for the plants, but no need to let the expensive stuff (water, I mean) go to waste for any reason!

    Try to visit Caldey Island off the coast of Tenby, Wales, someday, where there are fuchsia *hedges* (and monks, and perfumes, and fields of wild flowers–definitely worth a day out)

  12. I loved seeing wild fuchsias in County Kerry one May, but the one I bought this year is long gone here in SC. More of an early spring thing for us. My butterfly weed is doing exceptionally well, as are my bee balm and plumbago. Marigolds everywhere, to where I am bored with them….

    1. Marigolds are often used like wallpaper:(. But how wonderful to see fuchsias in the wild. We have some wild ones here in California, but they are orange. What’s up with that?

  13. Looking for a CA-based nursery to send plants, bulbs to my BFF in grow zone 9. Any ideas? Using Northeastern ones doesn’t cut it. Google: a complete maze.

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