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Fuchsia Species in South Australia

December 26, 2016
last modified: December 26, 2016

Here are some Fuchsia species growing in a garden bed just outside my window here near Mt. Lofty in South Australia.

This is F.wurdakii, a beautiful species very scarce in cultivation more often seen as a parent of some rare hybrids. This is one year old from a cutting & is in bud for the first time. It's about 1' tall. It is self fertile & very easy to raise from seed.

Next is F.excorticata the tree Fuchsia from New Zealand. This is a true tree reaching 40' in habitat. This is also one year from a cutting & is over 5' tall. I had to take 2 photos to try & get it in & the effect is a little poor due to the contrast getting lost in the surrounding vegetation not to mention the lack of alignment!. F. excorticata has very unusual flowers which change color distinctly after pollination starting as green & blue & turning to a deep maroon. the pollen is brilliant blue/purple & is a very attractive feature.

The 3rd one is growing underneath the above 2 & is F.procumbens
the creeping Fuchsia also from N.Z. It is interesting that the tallest
& the shortest Fuchsias come from the same place! *Note the tiny
unique flowers*.

The fruit of procumbens is surprisingly large for such a tiny plant & flower being as big as a cherry.
N.Z. has a third species, F.perscandens which has a flower not unlike
F.excorticata but is vegetatively very like F.procumbens though with more of a
scrambling, almost climbing habit. F.perscandens is very hard to find
in cultivation even in its native land.

Comments (3)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Fascinating. Thank you.

  • aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

    Peter, thank you for sharing, with the exception of f.procumbens which I have grown the others you've shown above I've only seen pictures.

    I used to maintain a large fuchsia collection at one time but when I did I thoroughly enjoyed them. I've grown a few of the species like f.splendens, paniculata and arborescens (these two are hard to tell apart), fulgens, boliviana alba and a few more.

    A picture of some of the fuchsias in my collection, these are all first year plants grown from cuttings taken in the spring.

    I think this one must have one of the species you've shown in it's parentage.

    Sold as excortacata which it's not, the leaves have a soft matte feel to them, had blue pollen and a trailing habit. It looked a lot like the pictures I've seen of the hybrid Walz Polka, any ideas?

    This is one of my own seedlings from 'Lechlade Gorgon' an arborescens, paniculata cross. Alas it was stolen before I got to see it open :(.

    Back in the 80's fuchsias were very popular and here in British Columbia, there were several good fuchsia nurseries, today it's hard to find anything other than the plain ol', plain ol', not saying they aren't nice but even then they are mostly mislabeled and just sold as basket stuffers. It might be an oldie but I think 'Swingtime' is still the best red and white I've ever grown. A fellow on Salt Spring Island found a sport on his 'Swingtime', identical but the corolla was pink he named it 'Pink Swirls'. I've had several of mine throw sports but that is not unusually in the fuchsia world.

    I'm as old as the hills now but still manage to grow about a dozen fuchsias every year, no where near the beauties I used to grow tho :(. I've looked and looked for a source for species seed but haven't had much luck finding any but still, on my bucket list of things I still want to grow :).

    Thanks again for sharing I thoroughly enjoyed your post.


  • peter_out

    Annette, I'm afraid I know very little about hybrids other than that most I buy get eaten in short order by possums. The ones in the ground do ok if I protect them from rabbits & kangaroos with cages but anything in a basket up in the air gets consumed quickly! Species seed is best sourced from enthusiasts as there are few if any commercial sources. This may be lack of demand or just because of the tiny size & the fact that most do best sown very fresh. Most of the F.wurdakii flowers only lasted a day as we've had some weather extremes this season with one day over 40 C & the next windy with torrential rains. Today is mild & overcast but by Tuesday it'll be up over 40 again!

    There is one F.wurdakii still out pictured here:

    I find it a delightful thing & I nagged a local Fuchsia nursery for a couple of years before they grew me one, as much to 'shut me up' as for profit. Their original material came from N.Z.

    I also am old but find that when I'm with my plants I'm unaware of it with the possible exception of when I make rapid movements for which my feet can't compensate or negotiate slippery steep paths with arms full of something or other in which cases I usually end up rolling to the next level area. Luckily I'm blessed with very strong bones!!

    I raise seed in small tubes with the mix 'sterilized' by pouring boiling water through. I fit each one with a zip lock bag selected so it fits tight round the tube. I achieve this by cutting the bottom off the bag & fitting it round the tube thus providing an inspection/service entrance through the zip top & also acting as a convenient handle for lifting the tube. I germinate my seed under lights inside. I use the 'UFO' LED grow lights like the "wacky baccy" growers use. The system works very well. The temptation is to sow all the seed in one tube because they're so tiny, which makes it hard to prick out & harden off the seedlings. It's much better to calculate say a maximum of 20 per container.

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