This fuchsia was collected by Theodor Hartweg, a German who was employed at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and at the Horticultural Society's Chiswick gardens. In 1836 he was sent to the Americas as a plant hunter on behalf of the Horticultural Society. F. fulgens was one of the first of his introductions to appear, being exhibited at the society's meeting in September 1837.
Of F. fulgens John Lindley wrote in Edwards's Botanical Register 24 (1838): 'It is difficult to conceive any thing more brilliant than the appearance of this species, when its rich vermilion-coloured flowers are formed beneath the influence of a Mexican sun; but if it is growth in a shaded position, with too much heat and moisture, the bright colours inevitably fade, and the plant is deprived of half its beauty'.
By 1841, when it was illustrated in Curtis's Botannical Magazine (plate 3801) it had 'become common in our gardens, on account of its easy culture and the great beauty of its graceful, pendent racemes of long, scarlet flowers', although the 'coarse and weedy leaves' compared to the 'neat glossy foliage' of most fuchsias was seen as a disadvantage. Although the plant was not hardy, it was easily raised from seeds or cuttings and Samuel Curtis had already produced a number of hybrids at his Glazenwood nursery in Essex.