Skip to main content

Introduction to the History of Fuchsias

CandideUK
Published on April 11th 2018
5
The first fuchsia was discovered in the Dominican Republic in the 17th Century by Father Charles Plumier, who was a missionary and botanist.
He named the plant Fuchsia triphylla coccinea after Leonard Fuchs, a German botanist who had died 100 years earlier. His name was pronounced ‘Fooks’ so perhaps we should be pronouncing fuchsias as ‘fooksias' or ‘fook-sya’ () but the commonly used English pronunciation remains ‘fyusha’ ().

This original fuchsia can still be grown today under the name of F. triphylla.

The plant samples and seeds Plumier collected in Hispaniola, among which were possibly Fuchsia triphylla, were lost in a shipwreck. Fortunately, the drawings and description were travelling back to Europe on another boat. So actual plants of Fuchsia did not reach the UK before 1788, when Captain Firth brought two species back from his South American trips, these were probably F. coccinea from Brazil and F. magellanica from Chile. Although this has been disputed by many and it may have even been part of the embellished story told by a Fuchsia salesman, James Lee, to make sure he sold his plants.

After this influx of plants, the next way came from South America from other plant hunters of the time.

Surprisingly Plumier’s original F. triphylla didn’t reach Kew until 1882.
Once the original Fuchsia was found then the hybridisation started and all the varieties that we have today are thanks to the faithful work of horticulturists growing from seed and discovering new versions of this wonderful plant. When a grower sets about finding a new plant they can spend hours pollinating and cross-pollinating flowers to select the best few out of the hundreds produced.

This is a long process as the plant needs to flower before it is known whether a) it is a new variety and b) that it is beautiful.

One of the most famous is Mieke Meursing which was found by chance this plant has made one of the biggest impact on the show benches across the world and is still used by prize-winning fuchsia growers.
During the Victorian era Fuchsias were at the peak of their popularity adorning driveways and bedding displays gardeners showed their skills by training them into standards with beautiful clear stems, into pyramids and into beautiful flowering pillars.
One Head Gardener James Lye who was head gardener at Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington became a grower, exhibitor and hybridist he produced plants 2.5 to 4 meters high and 1.5 meters across the base and by 1866 was described as The Best Champion Fuchsia Grower in the West of England.

The passion for Fuchsias came to an abrupt halt until the First World War when glasshouses were needed for food production.

Now there are now over 10000 registered cultivars worldwide, and Fuchsia story and history is still being made.

Hybrid Fuchsia

Fuchsia × hybrida

A group of colorful flowers

Fuchsia 'Blacky'

Fuchsia 'Blacky'

A pink flower on a plant

Fuchsia 'Snowcap'

Fuchsia 'Snowcap'

Hybrid Fuchsia

Fuchsia × hybrida

Fuchsia 'Hawkshead'

Fuchsia 'Hawkshead'

Fuchsia 'Display'

Fuchsia 'Display'

Fuchsia 'Annabel'

Fuchsia 'Annabel'

Fuchsia 'Beacon'

Fuchsia 'Beacon'

Fuchsia 'Happy Wedding Day'

Fuchsia 'Happy Wedding Day'

Fuchsia 'Gold Mountain'

Fuchsia magellanica 'Gold Mountain'

Fuchsia 'Cascade'

Fuchsia × hybrida 'Cascade'

Fuchsia 'Southgate'

Fuchsia 'Southgate'

Fuchsia 'Goldrush'

Fuchsia 'Goldrush'

Fuchsia 'Brutus'

Fuchsia 'Brutus'

A close up of some red Halleria lucida flowers

Tree Fuchsia

Halleria lucida

Fuchsia 'Deep Purple'

Fuchsia 'Deep Purple'

Fuchsia 'Pink Marshmallow'

Fuchsia 'Pink Marshmallow'

Fuchsia 'Rose of Denmark'

Fuchsia 'Rose of Denmark'

Fuchsia 'Wendy's Beauty'

Fuchsia (Southern Belle Series) 'Wendy's Beauty'

Fuchsia 'Carmel Blue'

Fuchsia 'Carmel Blue'

Fuchsia 'Seventh Heaven'

Fuchsia 'Seventh Heaven'

A pink flower on a Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple' plant

Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple'

Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple'

Fuchsia 'Blue Eyes'

Fuchsia 'Blue Eyes'

Fuchsia 'Dancing Flame'

Fuchsia 'Dancing Flame'

Fuchsia 'Heidi Anne'

Fuchsia 'Heidi Anne'

Fuchsia 'Barbara Windsor'

Fuchsia 'Barbara Windsor'

Fuchsia 'Alice Hoffman'

Fuchsia 'Alice Hoffman'

Fuchsia 'Patio Princess'

Fuchsia 'Patio Princess'

Fuchsia 'Hardy Bush'

Fuchsia 'Hardy Bush'

Fuchsia (Southern Belles Series)

Fuchsia (Southern Belles Series)

Fuchsia 'Spion Kop'

Fuchsia 'Spion Kop'

Fuchsia 'Kit Oxtoby'

Fuchsia 'Kit Oxtoby'

Fuchsia 'Blue Mirage'

Fuchsia 'Blue Mirage'

Fuchsia 'Trudi Davro'

Fuchsia 'Trudi Davro'

Fuchsia 'Tom Thumb'

Fuchsia 'Tom Thumb'

Fuchsia 'Pink Galore'

Fuchsia 'Pink Galore'

Fuchsia 'La Campanella'

Fuchsia 'La Campanella'

Fuchsia 'Harry Gray'

Fuchsia 'Harry Gray'

Fuchsia 'Tom West'

Fuchsia 'Tom West'

Fuchsia 'Trailing types'

Fuchsia 'Trailing types'

Fuchsia (Buds of May Series)

Fuchsia (Buds of May Series)

Fuchsia 'Winston Churchill'

Fuchsia 'Winston Churchill'

Fuchsia 'Lady Thumb'

Fuchsia 'Lady Thumb'

Fuchsia 'Garden News'

Fuchsia 'Garden News'

Fuchsia 'Dark Eyes'

Fuchsia 'Dark Eyes'

Fuchsia 'Alison Patricia'

Fuchsia 'Alison Patricia'

Fuchsia 'Baby Blue Eyes'

Fuchsia 'Baby Blue Eyes'

Related articles

Prehistoric Plants

Recently a member of the Candide Community asked for information about prehistoric plants; these are the guys that predate any...
Helen_Allsebrook
5

Drought Resistant Plants

With this summer being predicted to last into late autumn you may be looking at your garden and thinking it might be time to...
Aldetha
40

10 Plants Bees Love

As most of us know, bees are on the decline. Therefore the best thing we can all do, as gardeners and lovers of nature, is to...
ellie.white