I love presents, especially when they are plants (or wine, or chocolate). So I was thrilled when Skagit Gardens in Washington State offered to send me some plants to try out. Now please understand that Skagit does not pay me for my time nor bribe me to write nice things about them or their plants. They simply send me these treasures to grow myself in the hopes that I will love them and share the love!
Not every plant from every grower makes the cut believe me, and like you I have very high expectations from plants. However I am really excited so far with two Cape Fuchsias which Skagit Gardens sent to me; Phygelius CandyDrops Tangerine and Phygelius CandyDrops red. These are the latest in the CandyDrops series which has been bred specifically for containers.
Cape Fuchsias (Phygelius sp.) are woody perennials, which bear long tubular flowers down the length of their upright stems, having some resemblance to the Gartenmeister fuchsias in that regard. Older varieties of Cape Fuchsias can become rather gangly and may grow as much as 5' tall and wide! The CandyDrops series consists of compact plants in the 12-18" range. They start blooming in early summer and will repeat bloom if the flowering spikes are cut down as they fade. Mine have been in bloom for four weeks so far and are still pushing out new buds despite monsoon proportion rains and neglect on my part (sorry Skagit!)
Perhaps the best thing about these plants is the fact that hummingbirds love them. I had a real feeding frenzy going on earlier today with these tiny birds dive bombing the plants and each other like veteran war pilots.
CandyDrops Tangerine is a light orange shade which could easily be toned down to apricot. Add in soft buttery yellows and a little white and you'll have quite the floral sherbet. CandyDrops Red is a blue-red making it an easy companion in mixed containers or at the front of a garden border. It would also make a terrific centerpiece in a patriotic red-white-blue themed container garden for July 4th.
Cape Fuchsias thrive in full sun or partial shade and prefer moist but well drained soil. Most varieties are hardy to zone 7 – the CandyDrops series are reportedly hardy to zone 8. Since I haven't had mine through a winter yet I can't tell you how they fare here in Seattle (zone 7-ish. Sometimes very –ish). With annuals often costing the same as perennials, don't let the question of hardiness put you off experimenting in a container garden this season.
Try something new – the hummingbirds will thank you!
All photos courtesy of Skagit Gardens