Through the years, we’ve killed far more than our share of Zauschnerias, California fuchsia, but a combination of building a crevice garden and planting the superb clone, Zauschneria canum var. arizonica ‘Sky Island Orange’, we have a winner. Our clump, which is in full flower in October, has been growing here since 2018. To say that perfect drainage is essential is a grand understatement.
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.
Looking great in the crevice garden this month is the Pacific Northwest native, Dichelostemma ida-maia This odd little bulb is a member of the Asparagus family…so that makes it as cousin to agaves, hostas, and asparagus. In the wild, it is only found in coastal meadows and into forest edges and partial woodland openings in Northern California and Southern Oregon. As a rule, California natives typically aren’t climatically welcomed in the rainy Southeast US, but Dichelostemma ida-maia is an exception.
We were so thrilled when the Japanese began hybridizing fuchsias to tolerate hot, humid summers, that we did mental backflips. Over two decades later, these amazing plants still thrill us with both their tolerance of our harsh summers and winters. Here’s a photo of Fuchsia ‘Sanihanf’ in the garden today. Good siting (part sun and good drainage) is still important for success.