Tam­ing a tricky fuch­sia!

‘Count­ess of Aberdeen’ has been around for more than 100 years, but is no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to grow

Garden News (UK) - - Contents -

One of my favourite fuch­sias is ‘Count­ess of Aberdeen’. It’s also one of the most dif­fi­cult to grow, and even I, a ‘so-called ex­pert’, fre­quently must ob­tain a re­place­ment. De­spite this, it’s still avail­able from at least one UK spe­cial­ist nurs­ery and sev­eral across Europe.

It was in­tro­duced in 1888 by Cocker of Aberdeen, Scot­land, though it has often been at­trib­uted to Forbes. Noth­ing is known about its parent­age as far as I can as­cer­tain. So why, if it’s dif­fi­cult to grow, has it per­sisted for so many years? As soon as you see it you’ll un­der­stand why. It has a beau­ti­ful small, white, sin­gle flower with a long, ivory-white tube, white sepals which curve up­wards back over the tube and a short, white corolla. The an­thers on the end of the sta­mens are pale pink, prior to the pollen break­ing.

The growth is up­right, but not nat­u­rally self-branch­ing, so will need early pinch­ing to get a branched shape. The fo­liage has finely ser­rated edges and is a mid-green shade, giv­ing a per­fect con­trast to the pro­lific flow­ers. It doesn’t tol­er­ate the heat well and in­tensely dis­likes be­ing over-wa­tered, which is quite often the way I kill it! It grows very well as a smaller stan­dard, es­pe­cially trained as a minia­ture or quar­ter stan­dard.

When grown in the sun, like many whites, the flow­ers be­come pinker

She’s a real beauty, but ‘Count­ess of Aberdeen’ also gives me many headaches!

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