I have one fuchsia plant in the yard, remains mostly in the shade for about eight months and gets sun for about four months of the summer. The leaves have been turning purple since last Nov/Dec. The leaves were not so purple last year around the same time. In Dec 2017, all leaves were uniformly green and there were at least ten times as many blooms on it.

Is this a sign of missing nutrients like phosphorus or just a normal winter condition? This plant has been in the same spot for many years.

fuchsia outdoor purple leaves january

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1 Answer 1


What time of year is it where you live? What zone? This could be what you inferred, a semi dormant state of a broadleaf evergreen.

Otherwise, phosphorous deficiency looks very similar. Have you ever applied a balanced fertilizer to this soil and plant? There is also the possibility that your soil is either too alkaline or even too acidic in pH which can 'block' the uptake' of this chemistry.

Let me know what you have done so that we can rule out a few possibilities. Fertilizer, pH and zone information.

  • It is January, winter/rainy. SFO Bay area, California, USA. Zone 10a. I haven't tried any of the fertilizers and I read that purpling is sometimes caused by phosphorus deficiency.The water supply here has a pH of 8.6.
    – rpkrpk
    Feb 1, 2019 at 15:52
  • Very good rpk! You have to add a bit of balanced fertilizer; that means an NPK in some formulation. For your hardy fuschias...zone 10 (must be oh so nice...) you could give them a balanced fertilizer such as Osmocote 14-14-14 or Dr. Earth's 5-5-5 all purpose. I always apply 1/2 of what the directions tell you to add. If no improvement then add the rest. What ARE the winter temps down there? That pH bothers me an awful lot...WAY TOO HIGH AND ALKALINE. But what is the pH of your soil? That is extremely alkaline. Is there any newly poured concrete nearby?
    – stormy
    Feb 1, 2019 at 22:13
  • There is new concrete driveway constructed by a neighbor may be 75 feet away. My house (where this plant is) is also right next to a salt marsh area. The soil here is clay, extremely hard to dig in the summer. Summer temperatures low 60- high 85, with occasional 90. Winter temperatures low 40, high 60, with two or three weeks of 32-40. Once every few years, there are some 28-32 low days.
    – rpkrpk
    Feb 2, 2019 at 23:25
  • About the water pH of 8.6. Local water department considers that is the right pH or else the water supply system will run into problems of corrosion and won't meet the regulations of California State's Water Resources Control Board. The soil is also alkaline with samples from many places in the yard, when tested with a kit from a local garden supply store.
    – rpkrpk
    Feb 2, 2019 at 23:31
  • So again? It is all about money to promote longevity for our pipes? This is not at all a normal pH and not at all a mitigator! Neutral pH is the correct pH for our water. If you believe that the government cares one iota about us who are drinking that water, using it for our gardens? Not many plants are able to grow within that pH range...that is HIGH! Like soap? I would be learning how to reduce the pH of your soil. You wanna grow potatoes and blueberries? Good luck!!
    – stormy
    Feb 3, 2019 at 3:30

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