Germinating Fuchsia

In Chile, there are only two species of Fuchsias, Fuchsia magellanica and Fuchsia lycioides.

These two species are somewhat different in their germination procedure. Fuchsia lycioides comes from rather dry areas, whereas Fuchsia magellanica is a hydrophile species.

Both need light for germination. Fuchsia lycioides has very high germination percentage; in our test, about 90% germinated after 30 days when sown superficially and exposed to cool temperatures with daily oscillation (+8ºC +18ºC during the first three weeks, and then +5ºC + 10º C during the last week; note: this temperature change is not an experimental design, but natural environmental fluctuation of our climate). The germination was very syncronous, within four days the germination rate went from 0% to 90%. Generally, the germination of Fuchsias is said to be erratic, but this was not the case. One would have to test whether this was due to lowering of the temperature.

In a test run by us last year, Fuchsia magellanica had a germination rate of about 50 % after exposing it to a short cold stratification (+5º C during 4 weeks) and then to cool temperatures of around +12 +18º C. In a germination test by Figeroa, Aspectos ecológicos de la germinación en especies del bosque templado-húmedo del sur de Chile, a different result is reported, around 90% to 94% germination, without any difference whether the seeds were statified or not; the seeds were exposed to a cycle of +10ºC +20ºC and 12h light.

Therefore, the conclusion would be that for Fuchsia magellanica you have to expose the seeds to light and oscillating temperatures, with cold stratification not required.

For further growth, one must be very careful not to overwater the seedlings of Fuchsia lycioides; this species is a true desert species and can survive on 150 mm of rain a year, but probably will not tolerate freezing! It is not demanding as to the soil type, and can be grown even in heavy clay soils.

Fuchsia magellanica requires a much more humid environment (constant watering) and can tolerate freezing temperatures of down to - 10ºC and occasional snowfalls. The soil to be used should be richer, well-drained.