Can Fuchsia Stay Out In Winter?

MidnightStormOctober 15, 2006

I just moved from Zone 8 to Zone 6. There wasn't really any winter to speak of in Zone 8 so I'm not sure what to do with my Winston Churchhill fuchsia in the winter here in Zone 6. Can it stay outside? If not, do I need to cut it back or anything when I bring it in the house? Help!

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rain1950(W. WA z8)

Winston is a very trying fuschia. It doesn't much care for temps below 40 and will perish if exposed to cool temps. All fuschias except the ecliandras need a period of dormancy. Find a place that's protected for this one and let it sleep. Trim it back in spring.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 7:46AM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

There are a few species ie F.magellanica that are hardy down to Zone 8, the odd small-flowered hybrid too ie Alice Hoffman. All fuchsias are cut back by frost, however, and I have not heard of any that are hardy down to Zone 6, certainly none of the larger flowered varieties. - Ian.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 9:30AM
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There are a good many hardy fuchsias that will tolerate a zone 6 climate, but unfortunately 'Winston Churchill' is not one. It is only considered to be half hardy and even in zone 8 is not reliably perennial.

For good hardiness, look for fuchsias with an H3 rating. This is a hardiness evaluation and rating system done by the UK Fuchsia Society and indicates plants that are reliably hardy, with the test of being able to succeed for at least 5 years in any of the UKFS test plots. This translates to a cold tolerance of -15C or 5F. This would include all magellanicas and a good many magellanica hybrids as well as a select few additional species.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 1:06AM
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I have brought my Winston Churchill Fuchsia inside after reading some of the posts here. I had read somewhere else that I could cut it way back before bringing it inside so that's what I did. Now I see that someone else recommended cutting it back in spring.

Do you think it'll be okay? It looks pretty pathetic right now.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:21AM
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Non- or half-hardy fuchsias that are overwintered indoors are typically cut back when you bring them inside. Hardy fuchsias grown outdoors should not be cut back until spring and evidence of new growth emerging.

You can keep it in cool, dark location while it is in dormancy, watering only enough to keep the soil barely moist. When temperatures warm up, bring it into the light and then move outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:30AM
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As others have already mentioned, Winston Churchill isn't hardy enough, and neither are nearly all hybrid Fuchsias, but Fuchsia magellanica, and especially southerly or high elevation forms of it, can be grown as freeze-backs with a heavy mulch. There are a few hybrids that have so much magellanica blood as to be just about as hardy (and are just minor variants of it in looks for that matter).

It used to be grown that way in Victorian times in the US heartland, and occassionally still is. Don't forget the mulch as it will need some buds to escape deep frost.

F. magellanica occurs over a huge range of latitudes from probably the tropics or at least subtropics all the way down to the straights of Magellan (hence the name I suppose). Small bushy plants that have been collected in southern Chile are very coldhardy.

Fuchsia campos-portoi is possibly even hardier (despite being tropical--"vestigial hardiness" from a colder climate of the past is my guess). It looks very much like a fine-leaved small-flowered version of F. magellanica, to which it is obviously closely-related. It is a native of the mountains of Brazil.

Fuchsia regia is also weirdly coldhardy for a Brazilian plant and quite capable of going deciduous in a freeze. It might work as a freezeback. It is a big clambering species but probably would not get so tall in a climate where it would freeze back.

In the interior USA summer heat is a problem, and probably even worse are fungal diseases such as Phytophthora, which tend to hit on warm, muggy days. Fuchsias being Gondwanic have poor resistence to it.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 1:35AM
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karan_in_oregon(Zone 8 Oregon)

Hi, I usually bring my fuchsias inside if it gets too cold - below freezing - and I cover them with a heavy sheet of plastic outside in a protected spot if it is under 35 or so - I have done this several years. this year we got snow and ice in January and I left them all outside with 2 sheets of plastic and put a plastic table cloth over them - I have lots of containers - about 25 or so gallon or bigger ones are fuchsias. I just can't bring them all in anymore - I think I lost one - the others are all leafing out. I didn't prune til we had a warm spell this year - February - so the new growth wouldn't be hurt -if there was frost. I put one sheet of plastic on at night or left it on if was a heavy frost - but some actually made it through the few times I didn't cover them. My containers were frozen solid for several days in January - I started seeing green and I can't see any damage except for the hydrangeas that have some leaves that were burnt - I hope the flowers buds are ok. This was HARD for me - but so far so good. I wouldn't recommend what I did but I decided that they were either going to make it or not but I think I have working too hard and a lot of it isn't necessary - my back feels better:) My Mother always put hers against a shed in a shallow trench and covered them with leaves and she had beautiful fuchsias.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 1:19PM
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