Fuchsia magellanica

(Question)

I saw a gorgeous Fuchsia bush in bloom at the Montreal Botanical Garden in May and would like further information about whether I could try growing one in my back yard in GTA and where we might purchase the plant. I was advised it was a Magellanica type.

(Answer)

Indeed, the Magellanica is a shrubby species of Fuchsia, quite different from the types usually grown in hanging baskets. This shrub forms a bushy, upright clump of dark green leaves, bearing many delicate, dangling, bell-like flowers that are crimson with a purple centre. It is deemed hardy to Canadian Zone 7 (USDA Zone 6), and a heavy mulch in late fall is recommended to help bring the plant through the winter. However, if you live in the GTA, which is in Canadian Zone 6 (USDA Zone 5) and therefore colder, it would be more suitable to winter this fuchsia indoors in a pot, then move it out again for summer.

It’s very likely that the plant you saw at the Montreal Botanical Garden (MBG) was greenhoused over winter and set out again in spring. This link from a Fuchsia site in New York City talks about the fuchsias at the MBG:

https://www.fuchsiasinthecity.com/trips-and-travels/botanical-gardens/botanical-gardens/montreal-slideshow.html

This plant will benefit from a hard clip each spring, to keep it bushy and compact. Where winter-hardy, it will grow in either sandy or clay soil, but potting soil with good drainage is recommend for pot culture. Best grown in full sun (or part sun), it requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.

We recommend you contact one of the better-known nurseries in the GTA in the spring to determine local availability.

Good luck.