Fuchsia arborescens, or Lilac Fuchsia, is a perennial, tall shrub or small tree native to Southern Mexico to Panama. Leaves are dark green, opposite, elliptic to 8 inches (20 cm) long, narrowed at both ends. Plants in nature and the landscape can reach up to 25 feet (7.6 m) tall with an 8 foot (2.4 m) spread. Plants in containers will be much smaller. This fuchsia is easy to grow whether in container or in the landscape. Plants are hardy in USDA zones 9-10.
Blooming Time: Lilac Fuchsia will bloom all year long in the greenhouse and in the landscape where it is hardy. Flowers are borne in flat top panicles 2-10 inches (5.08-25.4 cm) across. Sepals are reddish to wine-purple 1/8 to 3/8 inches (3-8 mm) long with petals that are lavender to lilac and spreading. The fruit is a small purple berry that is edible.
Culture: Fuchsia arborescens or Lilac Fuchsia needs partial shade to full shade with a rich, moist, well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we grow ours in a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist at all times and fertilized monthly. Most fuchsias seem to have a problem with spider mites, but this plant they do not like for some reason. This is a plus when growing fuchsias, especially here in Oklahoma where the summers are hot and dry. If grown in the landscape here in zone 7, it should be treated as an annual.
Propagation: Fuchsia arborescens or Lilac Fuchsia is propagated by cuttings taken at any time of the year or from seed. Seed germinate in 14-21 days.
Fuchsia arborescens was featured as Plant of the Week June 25-July 8, 2010.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.