Let’s face it, plants that bloom in spring and summer get the lion’s share of attention in nursery’s and gardens. Soooo… what’s happening in your garden in the fall?
A handy growing summary chart is at the end of the article.
When our hot summers finally pass here, the garden often looks a bit ragged. Even for drought and heat tolerant plants, our summers take a toll. We might get a little rebirth of blooms in the fall, but most of our plants have given up for the year. This sets the stage perfectly for the profusion of color that comes from our various California fuchsias.
Despite differences in growth habits and structure, California fuchsias have in common profuse displays of vivid red-orange, tubular flowers held along stems filled with fuzzy leaves of various shades of green to grey-green color. The show begins at the height of summer and continues well into the cooler days of autumn, when there are few plants flowering. The flowers are a natural magnet for bees, bumblebees and hummingbirds.
“Everett’s Choice” is a low growing and slowly spreading variety of California fuchsia. It’s height typically stays below a foot, making it perfect for the front and edges of a flower border. It can spread by several feet helping to shade the soil, fill in open areas, and suppress weeds. It’s spread is slow, though, so it’s easy to keep it limited if desired.
Like other fuchsias, “Everett’s Choice” is very drought and heat tolerant, and is also tolerant of poor soil. In our garden it is in heavy clay with a layer of dense hard pan underneath and shows no indication that it is bothered by it. No critters seem to be able to pester it, and though we don’t have to deal with deer, it is reported to be deer tolerant.
“Everett’s Choice” does want full sun, even when full sun means full heat. Our fuchsia is near a taller rose and the fuchsia halts it’s spread in the zone where the rose casts regular shade. If you have hot spots in your garden that are challenging for plants to tolerate, then this fuchsia would be a good solution. Ours sits at the edge of the curb along the street, which is blazing hot on a 110 F day.
California fuchsias are evergreen and perennial, so even when the plant is not blooming, you’ll still have a unique shade of green to color your garden all year. Many fuchsias have grey-green leaves, but “Everett’s Choice” has more of a yellow hue, which breaks up the monotony of many other plants. You’ll get to enjoy that color year round since it not only tolerates high heat, it can also survive in well below freezing temperatures down to 5 F. It’s as hardy as it is attractive!
- Perennial: Plants will live for several years
- Height: typically no more than 1 foot
- Width: can spread about five feet around
- Sun: full sun, will be scraggly in shade
- Water: very low need, but will want more in very hot conditions
- Soil pH: neutral to slightly acidic
- Soil type: tolerant of poor soils, but sandy soil should be amended to allow for some water retention
- Key nutrients: fertilize as you would for other flowers, though likely not needed
- Planting time: transplant in fall as temperatures drop to allow it to be established before summer
- Zones: 7 and up