Did you know that hardy fuchsias fare well in the climate of the Pacific Northwest? The following is the second in an occasional series of articles about hardy fuchsias by PowellsWood gardener and consultant, Jackie LaVerne.
Stay tuned for our next blog — we”ll be talking about a different kind of plant — one that is asked about most at PowellsWood!
FUCHSIAS 101: Encliandra Fuchsias – The Little Fuchsias
by Jackie LaVerne
What are Encliandra fuchsias? Well, they are often described as the miniature or dwarf-flowered fuchsias. Encliandras are fuchsias that are primarily from Mexico, high up in the mountain regions where it is cool, dry and foggy. They have extremely small flowers, generally less than 1/2-inch long, and some less than 1/8-inch long. The leaves on the plants are also very small compared to the regular species and cultivars of fuchsias. Encliandra fuchsias are very heavy bloomers, with flower colors ranging from whites to bicolors of orange and red, to hot pinks.
Encliandras like cool weather, which suits the Pacific Northwest perfectly. Most hybrids and species of Encliandras are hardy to our climate. They seem to prefer part shade rather than full sun, but I have found good results wherever I have planted them. The plants like the soil to be lightly moist, never totally dry, and never soggy.
Typically, Encliandras grow 2-3 feet wide and 1-3 feet high, but size and growing habits depend on the species or variety of the plant and also on the growing conditions. Low light makes the plants reach for the sun and bloom less, while full sun makes for a more compact plant with a ton of blooms.
Encliandra fuchsias naturally have a very wild and free-form habit, but with patience and a sharp pair of scissors they can be grown in many different ways and conditions, including bonsai, topiary, espalier, rings, hedges, hearts, and baskets — and anything else your creativity and patience will allow. Remember to keep your Encliandras moist when they are planted in pots, as they do not like to dry out. It is best to keep potted Encliandras in part shade during the summer and in a protected place, such as a greenhouse, during winter. But I think it is just as fun to plant them in the ground and let them grow any way they like.
Oh, and one other thing — Encliandra fuchsias have the most prolific, wonderful and tasty berries after the blooms fall off. Yes, you can eat the berries, and they are quite sweet — and the birds love them too! Stay tuned for fuchsia berry recipes!