09 December 2009

Fuchsia decidua -- anyone know anything about it?

Margaret Roach, of A Way To Garden (NOT Away to Garden, though she's apparently made peace with that mistyping) Asked for suggestions of good seed catalogs (check out the post -- tons of great suggestions in the comments) and got lots of great ones, including one that I'm head-over-heels in love with: Gardens North. They are a seed house out of  Nova Scotia, Canada, so when they say North, they mean NORTH. Which is marvelous, because when they describe a plant as hardy it actually means it is hardy! It is such a nice change from reading English seed catalogs where I am forever reading about some amazing sounding hardy perennial and falling in love only to google it and find out that by hardy they mean it might take temperatures slightly below freezing.
So I'm utterly in love, and my "seeds to buy list" is getting unforgiveably long. But, to get to the point of this post: Fuchsia decidua. (picture below, taken from their catalog)

Ever heard of it? I haven't, but based on the description in the Gardens North catalog, I'm itching to grow it. Before you leap to conclusions, no it ISN'T hardy -- but it is native to Mexico, and naturally drops all its leaves and goes mostly dormant in the winter, so it is easy to keep around in the north -- which is hardly that amazing, the same principle applies to dahlias and cannas and all the other "tender bulbs" but what makes this cool is that during it leafless winter dormancy, it FLOWERS! Tons of brilliantly red flowers on the bare stems of the shrub. I'm putting this together in my mind: Grow it outside in the summer, then bring it inside, let it dry down, put it any old place and it bursts into bloom -- maybe even for Christmas? And since it is mostly dormant and leafless when flowering, I don't have to worry about trying to give it enough light or anything -- I could just park plants where ever they'll look pretty! Then come spring, water it again, move it outside, and forget about it until next fall.
How cool is that? But will it really work? Well, I'm absolutely going to order some seeds and find out. Has anyone else ever grown it? The catalog says it is "almost non-existant in cultivation" so I'm guessing not. Which will just make me feel all the cooler when I get a whole bunch of them...


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this variety: Fuschia Gardenmeister.
It looks similar to decidua. I'm also in central Ohio and have keep a small plant for the last couple of winters. It looses lots of leaves and just keeps on flowering. It also takes quite a bit of cool weather -55 degrees or so. Come spring it grows leaves back and keep flowering all the way thru summer.
Good luck.

Unknown said...

A few weeks ago I received seeds for Fuchsia decidua and one of them germinated. Is your plant still growing. What should I do next. What conditions are needed through the winter. I appreciate any suggestions you will give.