A New Look for Cape Fuchsias

CandyDrops red Cape Fuchsia will add a vibrant splash of color to the garden

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.

The CandyDrops series is perfect 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 an easy-on-the-eye shade of orange

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



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  1. Jennifer on June 12, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Hi Karen, I can see why you and the hummingbirds like them. What beautiful plants! I particularly like the CandyDrops red Cape Fuchsia.

  2. Rhonda Jennings on June 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Very nice. I especially liked your color descriptions.

    FYI: I had the CandyDrops Cream in a container last summer and left it out all winter. Not only is it budded up and ready to pop open, but it pretty much stayed evergreen through the winter. We at Skagit Gardens have been marketing the series as an annual rather than as a hardy perennial, but it may be hardier than a zone 8. As you know, winter hardiness in the Pacific Northwest has more variables than just cold hardiness, so more experience with the range of winter possibilities is needed to get a really good idea of how they perform over time.

    I also enjoyed your comments on the hummingbirds. I know from reading your posts on LinkedIn of your interest in attracting wildlife, and Phygelius, while not well known outside the Pacific Northwest, is one of their favorites.

    • Karen Chapman on June 16, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Great to know Rhonda! Thanks for the 'insider' information

  3. The Sage Butterfly on June 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    These are beautiful and elegant and provide interest. I have not tried growing them, but after seeing them in the pot I may give them a try.

    • Karen Chapman on June 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

      You love bringing in the birds and butterflies so I know you'd enjoy them

  4. Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens on June 16, 2012 at 3:20 am

    I would love to grow these in my containers in Maine. I don't suppose they are hardy here so they would be an annual.

    • Karen Chapman on June 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

      That's the beauty of containers Carolyn – they give us an excuse to try plants which may not be hardy guilt free!