Fuchsia colensoi is a very variable plant. A deciduous shrub, it is most commonly found as a low rambling plant with long straggling procumbent branches[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
New Zealand - North, South and Stewart Islands.
Edges of lowland forests[
]. An undershrub in woodland.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Fuchsia colensoi is only hardy in the mildest parts of the temperate zone, tolerating occasional, short-lived temperatures down to about -10°c when fully dormant. This species grows well in Cornwall, UK (hardiness zone 8) where it can attain a large size[
]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[
Succeeds in any fertile well-drained circum-neutral soil. Prefers semi-shade and a sheltered position. Does well in woodland conditions.
Fuchsia species flower and fruit mainly on new wood produced in the same growing season. Any pruning, therefore, is best carried out at the start of the growing season, cutting out old wood in order to encourage vigorous new growth[
A very variable species, it is closely related to Fuchsia excorticata[
] and considered by some authorities to be a naturally occurring hybrid with that species and Fuchsia procumbens[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Fruit - raw or cooked. A juicy berry[
], it is sweet but astringent.
Sap - sweet. Obtained by cutting a length of branch and sucking out the sap. It is not produced very freely.
A purple dye is obtained from the plant (the part is not specified, though it is likely to be the pollen). It makes a good ink[
The pollen is bright blue and was used by the Maoris as a face powder[
The wood is very strong and durable with an attractive grain, but hard to work. It is used for making small items[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe[
] though it can also be sown in the spring[
]. Surface sow the seed in pots in a warm greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out[
]. Germination should take place in less than 6 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Inter-nodal cuttings of greenwood, 5 - 8cm long, May/early summer in a frame. Quick and easy, a high percentage take[
]. Overwinter in the greenhouse for the first year and plant out after the last expected frosts.
Inter-nodal cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame. Very quick and easy, treat as greenwood cuttings above[
Cuttings usually succeed at any time during the growing season[