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Human beings are fickle creatures. Imagine if someone introduced a new bedding plant that gave unique, colourful flowers, bloomed for months on end and even grew well in the shade – it would set the gardening world alight.

Fuchsia Flowers

And yet the trusty old fuchsia, which does all of these things, has steadily fallen from favour through no fault of its own. We’ve just taken it for granted and been distracted by other things (mainly alliums and cow parsley if the Chelsea Flower Show is anything to go by…)

I’ve not grown fuchsias since I was a teenager – but that’s about to change. A new variety has re-kindled my interest in these most undeservedly neglected plants. As regular readers of this blog may already suspect, this decision comes as much from the stomach as it does from the brain!

Incredible edible

Fuchsia Berries

When I saw the press release about the fuchsia ‘Juice Berry’ I knew I had to have it. A fruiting bush that’s covered in beautiful bright pink flowers for months on end – yes please! It’s a medium-size evergreen shrub – the Latin name Fuchsia arborescens means “tree-like” which might be an overstatement in our climate where it will grow to about 5ft or so. After the flowers have faded, blueberry-like fruits appear; if they taste anything like other fuchsia berries I’ve tried, it will be a bit like a fig, sweet and syrupy, but without all the weird seeds.

How to grow ‘Juice Berry’

In common with most other fuchsias, this one is easy to grow, even in shady spots. Plants appreciate watering in dry weather, and they aren’t not totally hardy, so benefit from some winter protection in cold areas. I’m going to plant mine in the shady lean-to greenhouse on the allotment. In the open garden I’d plant them out in May and make sure to mulch the roots of the plant with some chipped bark over the winter. During the summer months, a fortnightly feed with tomato food should be more than enough to keep the display of flowers going, not to mention a regular supply of tasty berries. Bon appetit!

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