Beautifully bright hummingbird magnets put the ‘hardy’ in hardy fuchsias

These tough-and-lovable shrubs survive outdoors year-round, with colorful flowers that come in all sizes and shapes.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING for an incredibly attractive, easy-to-grow shrub that hummingbirds can’t resist, give hardy fuchsias a try. Unlike the tender, shade-loving fuchsias that come in hanging baskets, hardy fuchsias survive outdoors year-round. These tough shrubs feature attractive, colorful flowers that come in all sizes and shapes, and bloom nonstop from late May until well after Thanksgiving. The flowers hang in clusters along the tip of the branches, and are composed of the calyx, the outer section made up of sepals (modified leaves that cover the bud), and the corolla, interior petals that form a tube.

Most hardy fuchsias come from South America, although there are species from New Zealand and Tahiti, as well. The hardiest fuchsias are hybrids of Fuchsia magellanica, native to Chile and Argentina. Easily surviving temperatures down to 0 degrees, these fuchsias are referred to as Lady’s Eardrops, because the narrow, bicolor flowers resemble little jeweled earrings. The flowers might be small, but there are so many of them, they put on a dazzling display irresistible to gardeners and hummingbirds.

There are hundreds of smaller, flowering varieties to choose from. Although most have red and purple flowers, ‘Hawkshead’ is covered in blossoms of pure white, while the blooms of ‘Peppermint Stick’ are streaked with red and purple.

There are varieties with colored foliage, as well. ‘Aurea’ has golden foliage and bright red flowers, while ‘Tricolor’ sports grey-green leaves edged in cream to pink, with red and purple flowers. If you’re in the market for a climber, Fuchsia regia SSP regia is a vine with red and purple flowers that can work its way up to 20 feet tall trained on a fence or trellis.

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