(Change of Heart Fuchsia) The flowers of Fuchsia ‘Change of Heart’ are a confection of reddish-purple corollas and magenta tubes that flare out into magenta sepals tipped in green. They hang from branches of mid-green foliage just lax enough to trail attractively in a container.
Although native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America, Fuchsias became firmly rooted in California’s Bay Area in the mid-20th Century. By the 1980s, a tiny pest called the South American gall mite was destroying many varieties in North America.
Mary Cooke of Redwood City (the southwest side of San Francisco Bay) is one of the many Fuchsia hybridists who helped the genus begin recovering in North America. In 2011, she registered her mite-resistant Change of Heart with the American Fuchsia Society. Cooke recorded ‘Baby Pink’ x Fuchsia regia as one of its parent plants. It is, most likely, Baby Pink that gave Change of Heart its ability to resist gall mites.
Korean-American Soo Yun (Mrs. C.S. Field), who registered 82 Fuchsia hybrids from the 1960s until 1980, created the delicate looking yet tough Baby Pink in 1976. Similar to Baby Pink, Change of Heart has a fluffy, tutu-like shape. However, it doesn’t share that Fuchsia’s pale pink sweetness. Its coloring is more like that of the South American F. regia — a climbing species — but that ancestor's blossoms are so long and slender they seem to drip off their foliage.
Like Baby Pink and S. regia, Change of Heart is a double, which means its corolla has 8 or more petals. Semi-double Fuchsias have 5 to 7 petals and singles have four. Hummingbirds adore this long blooming, mid-sized shrub, which is lovely whether in a pot or massed as a hedge. Partial shade is best, but Fuchsia ‘Change of Heart’ can handle full sun. Give it average watering and rich soil.