The Little Fuchsia that could

Four years ago, we embarked on an experiment to see how well Fuchsia ‘Sanihanf’ would grow in an unprotected hanging basket, left outdoors to the elements all year. The parent species, Fuchsia magellanica is fine in the ground to Zone 6, but has no tolerance of our summer heat.

Fuchsia ‘Sanihanf’ was developed from Fuchsia magellanica and other heat tolerant species, and released in 1997, by the Suntory breeding company of Japan. It has both great heat tolerance, as well as tolerance to our winters when grown in the ground.

Typically, a plant grown in a container above ground loses around 20 degrees F. in hardiness, when the roots aren’t protected, so we weren’t sure how cold our basket plants would survive. The photo below is our basket last week, having now been through low temperatures of: 23F (2019/20), 20F (2020/21), 16F (2021/22), and 11F(2022/23). Although they look like dead sticks until mid-May, they have once again burst forth with great vigor. They are watered through the summer, but receive no supplemental water other than rainfall from fall until spring. We continue to learn amazing things, since we don’t fear killing a few plants along the way in the name of science.

Fuchsia ‘Sanihanf’

6 thoughts on “The Little Fuchsia that could”

  1. Katherine Wagner-Reiss

    Love your experimentation, but I am a little confused by one sentence:”Typically, a plant grown in a container above ground loses around 20 degrees F. in hardiness, when the roots aren’t protected, so we weren’t sure how cold our basket plants would survive.”
    My question is: Is there a way to protect the roots of a hanging plant through the winter?
    Thank you.

  2. For years I have been jealous of my friends in Austria (Z7) being able to grow Fuchsias as a shrub in the ground. I replace mine here in NC every year but have not been brave enough to put them in the ground. I will try now, being encouraged by your post, to leave F. magellanica and see that happens. Extra mulch? since we don’t get much snow and the ground doesn’t freeze more than an inch or two?

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