Let them grow until well-rooted in pots. Bigger plants get off to a good start in the ground.
Plant them after the danger of frost (mid-May to June) so that a good root system can develop. If you must plant them later, make sure that they are well-mulched that FIRST year. ( Use bark, leaves, natural insulators.)
Fuchsias in the ground need light; most prefer FULL SUN at our northern latitude. Minimum is 1/2 day.
Acclimatize your plants before you plant them permanently. They need to be outdoors for at least a week and be gradually worked into a sunny position. (They can sunburn, just like us!) The first spring/summer, if the leaves burn, shade them on real sunny days. The second year, they will acclimatize themselves as they grow.
Plant them in a reasonably well-drained location, but plant deeply and let the soil fill in as they grow.
Fertilize them with well-balanced products (~ 20-20-20; 16-16-16...). Time-released granules that activate in our cool soil are easiest.
Fuchsias love food, so in March or April when they pop up from the soil and/or leaf out, feed them.
Water in the morning to avoid rust. They’ll droop or get dry leaves just like other perennials when thirsty. A good watering once a week keeps a lot of plants happy in the summer. Fuchsias too.
After the first frost, do NOT prune them, except maybe to make them look neater. The stems do protect them from cold. Mulch is advantageous for keeping down weeds, holding moisture, and looking tidy, but the plants with a VH, once established, do not need extra mulch to keep from freezing in winter.
If you’re wondering why this advice doesn’t sound like the advice you’ve already heard, it may be because there are basically two ways to grow fuchsias:
1.- In the ground all year, as described above
2.- In containers. In containers, in general, it’s shade, more frequent watering, more food and winter protection---a different treatment.