Dear Guest.
May I put in my 4 penny worth. Lady Boothby is NOT a climbing fuchsia.
It has been miss-advertised heavily this year as a climber mainly by the Daily Express and also by some nurseries that should know better.
It is a tall vigorous fuchsia that will grow 4-5 ft in a good season but that’s about it. It will never grow much taller and will be cut back to ground level by a hard frost in the winter just like all other hardy fuchsias.
Sorry to go on but this is one of my grumpy old man things for this year. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CLIMBING FUCHSIA.
As regards pruning, as with all hardy fuchsias Lady Boothby will be hit by frost. Some milder years I have had a few leaves left on and other years she will die back to the ground. Don’t touch fuchsias during winter but wait ’til spring and prune the dead wood back to a live bit of stem. In other words just tidy the plant up in spring cutting out dead wood. Fuchsias are very forgiving and will thrive even if cut right back to the ground each year.
PS. I personally prefer Mrs. Popple to Lady Boothby. Just as vigorous, totally hardy and with more attractive flowers.

A treatable fuchsia problem

Several years ago a very well-established fuchsia in my garden developed damage to leaf tips and emerging flower buds. Despite spraying and cutting it down severely the problem has persisted randomly – and not with all my fuchsias – each year since. I wondered if it might be fuchsia gall mite but was not aware this had arrived on the Isle of Man. Karen Rodger – via email

You will be relieved to read that your accompanying picture showed me that this is merely a severe infestation of capsid bugs which is, with a bit of persistence, treatable. Had it been fuchsia gall mite, which is far more disfiguring (pinkish yellow knobbly growths on shoot tips) you would be in far deeper water, for the mite is resistant to available insecticides.

Capsids are leggy, flightless insects that are seldom seen but leave nasty calling cards: they damage tiny patches of plant tissue as they suck sap from developing shoot tips of many plants and are particularly damaging to fuchsias, destroying flower buds before they are properly formed. You can successfully wage war on them as long as you are prepared to use systemic insecticides (Ultimate Bug Killer or Bug Clear).

Spray your fuchsias preventively as they start to grow well in late April (to get the capsid advance guard) and then repeat the procedure again in July well before flowering starts, to knobble the second equally pesky generation.

Capsids seem to dodge natural predators with great skill and hibernate in nearby bushes and hedgerows, so the war on them may have to become an annual event.

Hydrangea under attack

I have encountered a new pest on one of my hydrangeas: small white oblong caterpillars, apparently dead, have appeared on the backs of its leaves, which then turn rather brown and drop off. What are the beasts that are causing this destruction? Anita Brown – via email

This is actually the work of the scale insect Pulvinaria hydrangeae, not caterpillars, and what you are actually seeing are their recently vacated egg cases. The newly hatched scales are tiny (less than 1mm long), yellowish and therefore hard to see. They grow larger and browner as they mature, sucking sap from the plant which then flowers less well and starts to lose its leaves.

You will have a hard job controlling this pest without using systemic insecticides. There are various contact-only sprays that have to be repeatedly used. Systemic sprays thoughtfully used (in the evening when bees are abed) and carefully timed (taking into account the life cycle of each pest) are still, I maintain, the best way to combat sap-sucking garden baddies. But I’ll probably get mail for saying so…

Fuchsias

2nd June, 2017

There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. These exotic looking beauties are firm favourites for their pendant flowers in a wonderful range of colour combinations. Fuchsias may be deciduous or evergreen depending on their variety and growing conditions. They’re versatile too, growing happily in sun or semi shade. These hard working shrubs will flower virtually all summer long, filling borders, beds, window boxes, hanging baskets and patio containers – in fact, they will bring colour to almost any position that you can think of.
How to grow Fuchsias
Pot up fuchsia plug plants using a good quality, well drained compost such as John Innes No.3, and grow them on in warm, frost-free conditions. Trailing fuchsia plug plants may be planted directly into baskets, window boxes and containers. These should also be grown on in warm, frost free conditions until they are well developed. Pinch out the growing tips of each plant while they are still small to promote bushier growth and more flowers. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise fuchsia plants to outdoor conditions over a 7 to 10 day period, before moving them (or planting them out) in their final positions. Fuchsias come in all shapes and sizes too, so there is something to suit every garden no matter how large or small.

We have a wonderful selection of home grown fuchsias here in the Nursery for you to choose from and our helpful staff are always on hand to advise and assist in your selection.

Trailing Fuchsias
Perfect for hanging baskets and patio containers.

Upright / Bush fuchsias
Bushy rounded shrubs which are ideal for growing in borders and patio containers. Climbing Fuchsias
Some fuchsias have a very rapid growth habit and long, lax stems that makes them ideal for training onto large obelisks or tying-in to walls and fences for a spectacular vertical display. Standard fuchsias
Upright or bush fuchsias can be trained as standards which make superb specimen plants for patio containers. Fuchsia fruits Many people are unaware that the small purple fuchsia fruits are entirely edible – although some are more palatable than others! Fuchsia splendens is often considered to have the best flavour. The citrus flavoured berries have a peppery aftertaste and are best used in jams to sweeten them. Feeding and watering fuchsias Water fuchsias regularly to maintain moist but not waterlogged conditions. Fuchsias that are grown in containers will need frequent watering depending on the size of the container and weather conditions. Hanging baskets should be watered at least once a day during hot summer weather. Fuchsias that are planted directly into borders will become more self sufficient once established. Although many fuchsia plants are naturally floriferous, it is well worth feeding them every few weeks throughout the summer, especially those grown in hanging baskets and containers. Use a soluble fertiliser for best results. Regular feeding will encourage an endless supply of flowers and frequent deadheading will also prolong the flowering period. How to care for fuchsia plants in winter Half hardy fuchsias tend to be grown as annuals in many UK gardens, but can be easily overwintered in a dry, frost free greenhouse during the coldest months. Many of the most popular fuchsia cultivars for hanging baskets and patio pots are half hardy fuchsias. Hardy fuchsia plants are ideal for growing in sheltered borders all year round. These cultivars range from neat compact varieties such as Fuchsia ‘Tom Thumb’ that reaches just 30cm (12″) tall, up to Fuchsia magellanica which can reach a colossal height and spread of 3m (10’) in ideal conditions. Hardy fuchsias are best planted deeply in the ground to protect the crown during cold winter weather. Further winter protection can be provided by applying a deep mulch of bark chips, leaf mould or straw in late autumn each year. Standard fuchsias will need to be moved to a frost free position during the winter months to protect their vulnerable stem from frost damage, regardless of how hardy the variety is. Training and pruning fuchsias Upright / Bush fuchsias : Bush Fuchsias are best pruned in spring. Cut back the stems to a permanent low framework. Climbing fuchsias: Prune out the oldest stems in spring when the fresh buds begin to break, and reduce the remaining stems to restrict their vigorous growth to the available space.

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