Although I was born here in California, I grew up in Arizona. The summers there are hotter than you can imagine, and many flowers simply couldn’t bloom in our garden. We often visited our California relatives, and there I learned about many beautiful flowers, but the most fascinating one was the fuchsia.
When I moved to California in 1990, I started growing fuchsias of my own. For a while you could grow almost any fancy variety you wanted – ruffled and full, fat with petals or elegant singles, in every color combination imaginable. I bought as many as I could afford, even traveling to Mendocino to a specialty nursery called Fuchsia-rama. For a while I had beautiful fuchsias in my own garden. But then came the invasion of fuchsia mites and in a short time all those exotic varieties turned into deformed plants that you wouldn’t want. Suddenly “mite resistant” became the watchword.
Now I have only three fuchsias in my garden: ‘Nettala,’ ‘Galfrey Lye’ and ‘Campopple.’ All three are healthy, beautiful and mite resistant. When I started growing cut flowers and making mixed floral bouquets, I was happily surprised to find that all three are useful - they’re long-lasting in the vase and add a graceful downward line to an arrangement.
Fuchsias can be propagated by cuttings. I’m not terribly good at it, but I’ve managed to get new plants from all three of my current varieties. I’ll have another post soon about growing from cuttings; for now, I’ll simply say that fuchsias are among the easiest plants to propagate this way.