Hardy Fuchsia Anomalies




From time to time, one sees something that defies all the odds.
In all the books, and experts say, that you should never ever leave a standard Fuchsia out in the open during winter, without any sort of protection, even if it a hardy recognised variety.
You should always protect the stem by some form of lagging, or bubble wrap. As to the head of the standard, it should be covered in some way. The whole standard should then be stored in a frost free environment.
This winter, in NW of England, I left this quarter standard of Magellanica Alba, on my patio all winter, without any protection whatsoever, and look at the results. I must admit that it has been a very mild winter but even so, you shouldn't do a rash act as this.
Magellanica Alba is not my favourite fuchsia, by any means, but considering that it was one of the first standards that I have ever grown, I keep it. It is now about 8 years old now.
 Although we haven't had a severe winter, by any means, but the way "Alba" has come through is remarkable. Let's face it, the rules say it should have died, if not the stem, certainly the head.

Magellanica Alba


You can see also, that the compost that it is growing in must be quite wet, judging from the amount of moss on the surface.
It is now at the end of March, and the amount of new shoots breaking is great. A lot better than most of the hardies that are in the soil in the garden, and better than the fuchsias that have been stored, in dormancy, in the greenhouse.

  When you store fuchsias for the winter, it is difficult to awaken them, so as to make the shoots to break evenly all round the plant. The usual way that I achieve this, is by a daily spraying with quite warm water, to soften the stems. It is a hit and miss affair at the best of times.
Just look what Mother Nature has accomplished all on her own
All this proves that Magellanica Alba is one tough old hardy and it makes one wish that some of its hardiness could be harnessed by crossing with other varieties to transfer its hardy properties. .
    Perhaps one day, this truly hardiness gene will be isolated and transferred to other fuchsias. It very much looks like "Alba" has some form of antifreeze in its makeup.

What can we learn from this standard.
Firstly, we must NEVER treat all fuchsias as I have with this one, and especially standards, unless you are prepared to lose them, for the fuchsia sages are quite correct with their advice on wintering standards.
Secondly, that nature is its own boss and does things much better than we can mimic, in the natural bud breaking.
Thirdly, that there are a lot of fuchsias that are more hardy than we think.

G.Foster 30 Mar 2000

Home Page

Return to Top of Page