I bought a beautiful fuchsia in a hanging basket in April and suddenly it has turned brown and died. I kept it well watered. What happened?
Fuchsias originate in cool mountainous areas and are not able to survive our climate once we start experiencing daytime highs in the upper 90s with nighttime lows that barely dip below 80 degrees. They literally start to cook, develop root rot and die – often going from a gorgeous plant in full flower to a dead mass within a matter of days. It is rather shocking and heartbreaking if you have never witnessed it before.
If you want to try again then I propose two options: 1. Treat your fuchsia like a temporary late winter-early summer annual and anticipate that you will lose it sometime around July, or 2. Bring it into an air-conditioned environment once nighttime summer temperatures start consistently hovering at or above the mid-70s. Place it next to a bright window and expect a lot of leaf and flower drop when you first move it inside, but it should quickly flush out again. Once nighttime temperatures start dipping down to 70 degrees or below (usually mid-late October), you can put it back outside. You can try keeping it outside until the following summer if you remember to protect it when temperatures are forecast to dip below the middle 30s.
We here at Mercer Botanic Gardens have experimented with growing purported “heat-tolerant” fuchsia varieties for years, but have had no luck so far. However – like most gardeners – we are persistent (okay … hard-headed) and will keep on trying.
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