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Spring’s Opening Act, ​A Brilliant Character

My Grandmother had an old, urn-shaped, iron pedestal “plant holder” that sat out front of her house years ago. I can’t quite recollect what she used it for or what it was meant to be used for. At my house, it serves as a beacon for displaying an “opening act” for Spring. And so, the marquee would read (as the saying goes), ‘April Showers Bring May Flowers’. The first showing of flowers is always around Mother’s Day, which is May 14th this year, and the starring role goes to the brilliant Fuchsia!

Fuchsia are wonderful as Hanging Plants​, although there are Upright Varieties. On some Fuchsia plants, The Blossoms look like ribbons of hanging lanterns or, better yet, tiny dancers wearing tutus! Others have Elongated Blooms and look like a long, tubular, musical horn.

Fuchsias bloom in a variety of two-toned colors. I gravitate toward the vibrant, deep Fuchsia/red and purple plants. Other colors range from pink to white, red, or even orange hues. Their bloom time is from late spring to fall, so I don’t have to change out the plant on my pedestal through those seasons. With continuing care, they can also be overwintered. ​

Fuchsia can be purchased as larger plants, such as already established hanging plants (I’ve found these in garden centers). They can also be purchased as small plants (at garden centers or online) and re-potted ​with several plants in one container. I have purchased them both ways, but the larger hanging basket of these beauties always draws me in, and that way I don’t have to wait for them to grow to full size! I bring it home and set it on my urn-shaped pedestal!

Caring for them is quite simple. Each variety should come with a plant care label when bought. If your plant does not come with one, ask for one or ask someone at the garden center the best way to care for that variety of Fuchsia. ​

These are the steps I take for the varieties that needs more shade:

1. My Fuchsia sits in a shaded area, with only a brief morning sun, and it thrives there. Most varieties prefer the shade or filtered light and do not tolerate being hot or in direct sun. There are Some that will tolerate sun to part shade.

2. They love moisture, so keep them watered but not saturated. Water your Fuchsia every day if it’s hot or if there are drying winds.

3. Apply fertilizer. In lieu of having to worry about when, how much, or how many times, I use Osmocote, a time/continuous release formula that feeds for 4 months.

4. When the flowers fade, pinch or cut back the long stems just above the second set of leaves from the end. The Fuchsia will then become a bushier plant with more blooms.

If you’re lucky, as I have been, Fuchsia will attract the attention of the butterflies and Hummingbirds! They ​also grow berries, most varieties being edible, which I leave for the birds to enjoy…if the chipmunks don’t get to them first! ​If you want more blooms, you should also remove the berries throughout the growing season.

It’s best for me to purchase Fuchsia at my local garden center. Every year, at this time, I travel around to all the garden centers in my area to find the best looking “character” for that starring role. It sets on the other side of my deck’s sliding glass door, as a focal point, where I can see it from my kitchen table in all its glory. It is a wonderful conversation piece! ​

There are many other May flowers that April showers bring, but the Fuchsia ​gets the award for brilliance, ​so it’s the first flower I purchase for the start of the spring season as a gift for my mother on Mother’s Day! ​It’s a flower my mother and I have appreciated for years!

On Mother’s Day….

May she who gave you birth be happy.~Proverbs 23:25