September 2018 Plant Profile: Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’

By September most shrubs are done blooming for the year, but not so with hardy fuchsias! Not only are they decked out with cheery blooms through the fall, they are also a magnet for native hummingbirds.
 Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’ (sometimes listed as F. magellanica var. molinae ‘Alba’) is my personal favorite with pendent pink flowers dangling against a background of dark green foliage. These shrubs begin flowering in late spring, and can grow to be five feet tall and wide. They are a Great Plant Pick for the Pacific Northwest.

There are over 100 species in the genus Fuchsia, most originating from mountainous regions of the Americas, though some are from New Zealand and Tahiti. There are over 8,000 hybrids and cultivars, mostly of the hardiest species, F. magellanica from Chile and Argentina. The ‘Alba’ cultivar was introduced from Chile in the 1920s by the British horticulturist Clarence Elliott.

Hardy fuchsias prefer full sun or partial shade in well-drained fertile soil. They require moderate supplemental water in the summer. In our climate hardy fuchsias are deciduous, and in cold winters they may die back to the ground. But never fear! They will re-sprout from the base in the spring, and in ideal conditions can grow back to five feet in one season.

Common name: Maiden’s blush hardy fuchsia

Location: In the Chilean entry garden in the Pacific Connections Gardens at the southern end of the Washington Park Arboretum.

Origin: Chile

Height and Spread: Up to 5’ tall and wide

Bloom Time: Late spring-Fall

Hardiness: USDA zones 7-10