FUCHSIAS are popular ornamental shrubs of both the temperate and tropical regions. Named after Leonard Fuchs, 16th Century German botanist and professor of medicine, the Fuchsia belongs to the family Onagraceae. These pretty shrubs have artistic and drooping flowers in shades of white, deep pink, scarlet or purple, and with long showy stamens. The flower has a tubular calyx with four ovate lobes and a corolla with four overlapping petals. The calyx may be white or coloured, sometimes much larger or spectacular than the petals. The pendant flowers resemble ornamental eardrops, and are popularly called lady's eardrops.
There are about 100 species of Fuchsia with varying growth patterns. The shrubby forms with pendant flowers are most common and grow well in the hilly regions of South India. The Fuchsia hardly survives in the warmer climate of the plains. The plant flourishes in acool climate and requires sufficient sunshine. It can be grown as a pot plant and is ideal for flower beds. The varieties with pendulous growth are suitable for hanging baskets and window boxes.
The plant can be propagated at any time of the year using stem cuttings or by layering. The cuttings root very easily in sand or in a rooting medium. The rooted cuttings can be transferred to pots containing a mixture of red soil, cow dung and river sand, all in equal proportions.
Most of the Fuchsias grown today are hybrids of Fuchsia coccinia, F. megallanica and F. arborescens. Of these, the most striking are perhaps the "Citation", with its pink tube, and the "Dunrobboin Border", with a scarlet tube and purple corolla. The cross-combination between hybrids often make it difficult to trace their parentage. Most varieties do well in flower beds. The Fuchsia is normally pest and disease-free under Indian conditions.
Text and picture by
Send this article to Friends by