Cape Fuchsia

A close-up view of the flower of a cape fuchsia

When we bought our house years ago there was a plant out front with gorgeous red flowers that was struggling. I guessed it wasn’t getting enough sun and it seemed like it would be hummingbird friendly, so when we started a wildflower garden in the backyard in memory of my mother-in-law and the hummingbirds that swarmed her feeders, I decided to try transplant some of the suckers of the plant and see if any survived. I didn’t have any potting soil handy so they went from clay to clay. I kept them watered during the dry summer and was stunned to see that they all did fine and now we have two thriving sections of what I discovered are cape fuchsias.

Despite the name and appearance of the flower, they aren’t true fuchsias. While not native to the Northwest (they come from South Africa), they do well during our dry summers and wet winters and are thriving even during our unusually dry and hot summer. The hummingbirds love them and they require little attention from me and have proven to be a lovely addition to our wildflower garden. I normally dislike suckering plants but these are easy to keep under control, and I even use one section of them as a buffer between the wildflowers and the raspberries, which are rather obnoxious in how they sucker and spread.

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