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Home & garden.

Updated: 10 May 2022

How to grow fuchsias and best varieties

Fuchsias are beautiful for patio pots and baskets. Discover our best fuchsia varieties and tips for how to grow them.
Ceri Thomas
Fuchsias

Fuchsias are best known as tender plants for summer patio pots and baskets. 

There are both upright and trailing forms and hundreds of varieties. They can't go out until the danger of the frost in mid to late May. There are also hardy varieties that can stay in borders all year round.

Which? Gardening magazine grew a range of popular varieties to find out which are the best.


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Key facts

PLANT TYPE Half-hardy shrub

POSITION Sun or partial shade

SOIL Use a Best Buy compost for containers

How to grow fuchsias: month by month

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune



PLANT/PRUNEPLANT/MOVE OUTSIDEFLOWERING
JulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
FLOWERINGFLOWERINGFLOWERINGFLOWERING/MOVE INDOORS

Best fuchsia varieties

Which members can log in now to see the full results and which are our Best Buy varieties. If you're not a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Full testing results for fuchsias

Tender fuchsias for pots and baskets

Variety nameOverall ratingFlowering durationFlower impactDisplayShapeFoliageWeather resistancePests & diseases
*****`






USING THE TABLE The more stars the better. OVERALL RATING Ignores prices and is based on: flowering duration 30%; flower impact 20%;display (amount of flower) 20%; shape of plant 15%; foliage 5%; weather resistance 5%; pests and diseases 5%.

Hardy fuchsias

Variety nameOverall ratingFlower durationFlower impactFlower coveragePlant shapePest & disease resistanceHardiness in North LondonHardiness in Scotland







USING THE TABLE Ratings in the table are from the second year of the trial. Hardiness rating * = all plants died, ** = 2 plants died, *** = 1 plant died, **** = all alive, but not all flowered, ***** = all alive and all flowered. Overall rating Ignores price and is based on: flower impact 20%, flower coverage 20%, hardiness at both sites combined 20%, flower duration 15%, plant shape 15%, pest and disease resistance 10%.

How we test fuchsias

We grew a number of hardy varieties at both our Which? Gardening magazine trial garden at Capel Manor College, north London, where the soil is well drained and rainfall is relatively light; and in Greenbank Garden, Glasgow, where the soil is heavy clay, rainfall is very high and winters are consistently colder than in the south. We grew them for two years.

For the tender fuchsias, we grew a number of varieties in hanging baskets at Capel Manor and assessed them over summer.

Caring for your plants

Planting tender fuchsias

Plant your tender fuchsias in a Best Buy compost for containers mixed with a Best Buy controlled-release fertiliser. Put three plants in a 40cm hanging basket. Water in and then keep the compost moist, but not waterlogged. Put the basket outside once the danger of frost has passed in mid to late May. Although fuchsias will tolerate sun, they prefer partial shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day in summer.

Planting hardy fuchsias

Hardy fuchsias should be planted outside in late spring or early summer, so that they establish well before the first frosts. It’s best to grow on plugs or small plants in a Best Buy compost for raising young plants so that the roots fill a pot of at least 9cm diameter before you do this. 

When it comes to planting out, put them in slightly deeper (1.5-2.5cm) than the soil line of the pot, as this will help to protect them from the cold in winter. Fuchsias need a spot in sun or partial shade, and soil that is well drained but doesn’t dry out too readily in summer.

Pinching out

If your young plants are leggy, pinch out the growing tips after two or three pairs of leaves have formed. This will stimulate side-shoots to grow.

Deadheading

Remove the flowers as they fade to encourage the plant to produce more.

Feeding

Feed with tomato feed from the end of summer, or earlier if the leaves on your fuchsia become pale.

Discover our Best Buy tomato feeds

Taking cuttings

It’s very easy to take cuttings from fuchsias. Using clean secateurs, cut the stem to just above the point where a leaf joins the stem to take a 5-10cm long cutting. Trim the cutting to just under the point where the leaf joins the stem. Remove lower leaves to leave just one pair of leaves at the top. Try to take cuttings from stems that haven’t developed buds, but if they have, remove them. Place the cuttings in pots of a Best Buy compost for raising young plants. You can overwinter your cuttings on a bright windowsill or in a greenhouse that stays above 7°C.

Overwintering tender fuchsias

The majority of trailing fuchsias are tender, so if you want to overwinter them they need to be kept in a frost-free space with plenty of light, such as a heated greenhouse. It’s best to take cuttings as insurance, too.

Overwintering hardy fuchsias

A mulch of straw or well-rotted compost around the base of the plant in late autumn may help it survive winter. Leaving woody growth on the plant over winter will offer frost protection, too. When the plant starts to regrow in spring, cut it back hard to around 10-15cm above ground level to encourage new growth.

Common growing problems

Rust

The first signs of this disease are yellowing leaves, with red pustules on the undersides. To treat it, remove affected leaves or spray with a suitable fungicide. Remember, fuchsias can be damaged by fungicide, so test by only spraying a few leaves first.

Fuchsia gall mite

Fuchsia gall mite is a microscopic sap-sucker that is particular to fuchsias. Symptoms of the pest are swelling and distortion of the leaves and stem. Growth at the shoot tips can also become a mass of distorted tissue. Treat it by cutting off any infected shoot tips to remove the mites and check over your plants every week in case more mites appear. Alternatively, destroy the infected plants.

Read more about fuchsia gall mite 

Greenfly

Squash any greenfly that appear on your plants before they can weaken growth by sucking the sap.

Read more about greenfly