The soldiers of the African garden, Cape Fuchsias grow well in British soil. I have only encountered two hybrids available for purchase, a deep Royal Pink and a warm Emperor Orange. Wild Cape Fuchsias all have delightful yellow throats but are inclined to grow between a metre to a metre and a half in height with a spread of around eighty centimetres.
I purchased mine a couple of years ago as tender, small, young plants and with a little fertilizer and a splash of water they soon began to grow. I was pleased that they established themselves so well in our soil.
Cape Fuchsias, unlike other hardy fuchsias, are not non-stop flowering plants throughout the Summer. They have a flowering season then have to be gently pruned back and nurtured with some more plant food before they provide a second show of flowers. They do provide vivid splashes of brightness so are well worth adding to the border. Do not buy too many as they are easy plants to create off-spring from. The two best ways for cultivation are firstly by seed collection – keep the seeds in the house or a warm greenhouse and store in dry conditions. An old clean brown paper bag stores most seeds well. Plant the seeds outdoors from mid-March onwards preferably in an area of the garden that faces the sun. Make a small dip or drill into the soil the size of a bamboo cane placed on its side – drop the seeds in the row and roughly cover with earth – water evenly with a gentle spray. If too many seedlings germinate take out the weak ones and allow the strong ones to form new plants. The other method is to gently pull away some of the soil around the root of the plant and you should see quite sturdy sucker type root stems just underneath the surface. Pull one of these slightly above the surface and push a dry twig underneath the exposed area. You should find that a small stem with leaves will grow and once it has reached the height of a hand approximately 16 to 18 centimetres. Gently prize out the new plant and cut through the attached sucker root. This may now either be planted on into a medium to large flowerpot or tub or into a sunny place in the garden border.
Cape Fuchsia – African Soldiers - Phygelius