Vines and Other Climbing Plants

Climbing Fuchsia

Fuchsias are a flowering pot plant that everybody is familiar with. They come with a multitude of growing habits including trailing for baskets, bush for tubs and borders, dwarf for smaller displays and standard/half standard as large specimen plants to give a little height. Non of these popular pot plants are hardy, but there a few varieties that are fairly tough and will survive a Winter outside with a little extra care and protection. Of these “Hardy,” varieties a couple are gaining attention and publicity as being classed as a new type of climber. In fact they are neither new, nor climbers, although they do reach quite a height and can easily be tied in to trellising secured against a house wall and grown as if they are climbers. The “Lady Boothby,” variety is one, but it was discovered in Brazil as long ago as 1939 and was named after the founder of the Fuchsia Society.

What sets these plants apart from other Fuchsias is that they are vigorous growers and there is a long way between the nodes on the stems. This makes “Lady Boothby,” and the very dark, double flowered, “Lady In Black,” tall and very spindly in their growing habit and ideal to treat as a climber. They will happily reach 2 metres in height in one season after being cut down to the ground by the Winter, although they will stand it down to minus 6 degrees which may take them through a mild Winter without any die back. Planting in a very sheltered garden, particularly in a city, or wrapping them with fleece may help them retain their old stems when they can reach up to 10 feet or more. In this case they can even be grown over archways, but like all Fuchsias they like to be moist and not in too much sun. Protection from cold winds and a mulch of dry straw, or bark chippings over the crown will help to keep the roots alive in harsh, penetrating, winters.

For those interested in alternative foods, the fruits of all Fuchsias are edible, but some are better to eat than others with some being very small and bland and one, or two being larger and peppery.

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