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Can you grow fuchsia plants from seed? June 20, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, gardening.
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Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood went a bit overboard this year and bought four fuchsia plants for our deck, since we’d heard that they attract hummingbirds. Well, we’ve yet to see a hummingbird. (We think they’ll show up when our cannas and rose-of-Sharons bloom.) But our friend Ben has seen an interesting development, namely, dark purple berries forming on the fuchsia plants.

Being a horticulturist by training and a plant enthusiast by nature, I of course wondered if I could plant these fuchsia berries and grow a bunch of new fuchsia plants. Our plants are all hybrids, though, which means that, even if new plants did come up from seed, they wouldn’t look anything like their parents. But, I thought, so what? The real question was if they’d come up at all. And besides, it might be exciting to see what colors and shapes we ended up with.

I’m planning to give it a try. And if anyone out there has experience growing your own fuchsias from seed, I’d love to hear from you! I’d also, ahem, love to hear from anyone whose fuchsias really did draw hummingbirds to their decks. So far, all we’ve gotten are bumblebees.

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1. Jennie - June 21, 2012

Fuchsias are some of my favorite flowers! I’ve never tried growing them from seed, but it’s a pretty easy plant to root cuttings. No clue on the hummingbirds, but if they’re your goal, the best flowers I know are petunias.

Hi Jennie! Thanks so much for the tips!

2. Derek Luther - June 25, 2012

I squash the berries onto a double thickness of paper kitchen roll. I remove the excess pulp as I go along. I allow them to dry out for twenty-four hours. The next day I filled two half seed trays with seed sowing compost, then I cut the paper in half and lay each half on the surface of the compost. I then covered the seed with sopping wet vermiculite until the colour of the paper just disappeared. Doing this still allows enough light, and contains all the moisture needed for the seed to germinate. Both were covered with a plastic dome and placed on a purposely manufactured heat pad. The germination was evident in just eleven days. Not all fuchsia seed germinates that quickly. The next step is to maintain a constant temperature and give them good light, but out of direct sunlight. As soon as they grow their first pair of true leaves they will need to be pricked out. There will all be new hybrids, which will be probably of poor quality and consigned to the compost heap. The seed is more viable the sooner it is sown.

Thank you SO much for this great and detailed information, Derek! And as you say, seed from hybrids is probably pretty worthless in terms of the 2nd-gen plants. Interesting to try, though!

3. narf77 - June 30, 2012

I have to say from experience that I have no idea whether or not you can grow fucshias from seed but a small aside from this total lack of horticultural knowledge (and being too lazy to head to the hort books and rectify this situation any day soon…) is to let you know that when the purple fruit is passed through a dog it isn’t any more likely to grow. Why did I tell you that? Because Bezial, our oldest dog, loves to eat these purple fucshia berries and after trying to get him to drink syrup of ipecac and on the verge of panic and almost to the point of phoning the V.E.T. (got to spell it out you know…) I was informed that fucshia berries are indeed edible and that my dog was simply inhaling his vitamin C via unusual sources. There you go…bollocky all information about growing and a whole lot of useless information about dogs. I just thought that you might like to know in case you get as lazy as me and decide to eat the berries rather than plant them :)

Hmmmm, I wonder if they taste good? I’ll, er, try to ignore your comment about “rectify” in light of your subsequent comment about Bezial; my mother always said that puns were the lowest form of humor, but oh, dear…

4. gold price - July 2, 2012

When the plants are finally established in the pot size you want them to flower in, use a liquid plant food in place of every third watering, fuchsias are heavy feeders, and soon spindle out unattractively unless kept well fed.

Thanks so much for the tip! I fear we’re starting to notice that already. We’ll do as you suggest!

5. LesleySA - July 11, 2013

Hi – came across your site while looking for information on growing fuchsias from seed having just collected a number of ripe berries from the garden.
Hummingbirds do love the flowers and I have quite a few birds who visit on a regular basis, bringing me great joy! I think the ‘trick’ is to keep plants in one place so the birds know where their food source is.
I have had to move mine around a fair amount to find the optimum spot. Think I’ve finally found it!!
The berries are edible but I think it would be more fun to grow and name a new plant and increase my collection. :)
Oh, and I live in the Natal Midlands of sunny South Africa

Hi Lesley! I wish I could see your hummingbirds! And thanks for the suggestion about moving the plants around. We’ll give that a try!

LesleySA - July 12, 2013

Hi Ben (?) It is Ben isn’t it?
Wish you could too as they are an absolute delight!
I omitted to mention that it is the potted fuchsias that got moved around. I had 16 different varieties in hanging basket under a tree but they were not very happy – too much shade I think. Since moving them to a spot where they get a good dose of morning sunshine they are all flourishing and blooming when they should in fact be resting, but I’m not complaining!
The fuchsias that are attracting the birds at present are ‘Snowcap’ and ‘Mrs Poppins’ pantted in the ground outside the dining room.
Another plant/shrub that they seem to delight in, is the ‘cigarette bush’ Quite often have 2 or 3 couples visiting at a time.
I’m also delighted to say they have built nests in one of our trees. I put out flocking – something that looks like cotton wool but is used to stuff cushions – and the birds delighted in getting easy building material to line their nests.
My garden here is quite ‘young’ but as an avid gardener I delight in all new plants and ‘visitors’ to the garden – human ones too! :)

6. Karen - August 27, 2014

Hi there
I have fuchsias this year for the first time. I put one on my front porch for morning sun next to my humming bird feeder the humming birds prefer the fuchsia to the feeder. I also put 2 on my back porch 7 feet from a feeder they are twice as big as the ones on the front porch but the humming birds don’t go near them, I’m not sure if its location or the type of fuchsia planted.
I did have 2 deep purple berries, I have to save them for next year as the season is ending and I don’t have a green house. I am going to bring my fuchsias in to my craft room to see if I can keep them a little longer they are so pretty. thanks for the info and happy planting! K;-)


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