- Fuchsia Cuttings – How To Propagate Fuchsia Plants
- How to Propagate Fuchsia Cuttings
- Growing Fuchsia Plants
- Propagating Fuchsia Cuttings
- Top tips:
- Taking Fuchsia Cuttings
- How to take Fuchsia Cuttings
- Solent Fuchsia & Flower Club
- Growing Hardy Fuchsias
- hardy fuchsia planting instructions
- STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO GROWING STANDARD FUCHSIAS
- FROST PROTECTION FOR HALF AND FULL STANDARD FUCHSIAS
- ADJUSTABLE CALENDAR FOR FUCHSIA STANDARDS
- GROWING THE STEM OF YOUR STANDARD FUCHSISA
- CARING FOR A STANDARD FUCHSIA AS THE STEM GROWS
- The Origins Of The Hardy Fuchsia
- Hardy Fuchsia Plants Make Excellent Pot Subjects
- Fuchsias Require Lots of Water & Like Moisture
- What Pests Like Fuchsia Plants?
- Pruning Fuchsia Plants For “Perfect” Shape
- How To Care For Fuchsia – Where Do They Grow Best?
- Care Instructions – How To Train Fuchsia Branches To Go Down
- Fuchsia Plant Care During Winter
- In Closing
- FUCHSIA CARE IN THE UK
- PINCHING OUT BUSH AND TRAILING FUCHSIAS
- GROWING FUCHSIAS IN CONTAINERS
- Fuchsia Winter Care – Tips For Wintering Fuchsias
- How to Winter Fuchsia Plants
Fuchsia Cuttings – How To Propagate Fuchsia Plants
Propagating fuchsias from cuttings is extremely easy, as they root rather quickly.
How to Propagate Fuchsia Cuttings
Fuchsia cuttings can be taken anytime from spring through fall, with spring being the most ideal time. Cut or pinch out a young growing tip, about 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.) in length, just above the second or third pair of leaves. Remove any bottom leaves and, if desired, you can apply rooting hormone, though it’s not an absolute. You can then insert three or four cuttings in a 3-inch (7.5 cm.) pot or numerous cuttings in a planting tray, into a moist growing medium like sand, perlite, vermiculite,
peat moss, or sterilized soil. It may help to make a hole in the growing medium with your finger or a pencil beforehand for easier insertion of the cuttings.
The cuttings can then be covered with ventilated plastic to retain moisture and humidity, but this too is not absolute. However, it does speed up the rooting process. Place the cuttings in a warm location, such as a window sill or greenhouse.
Within three to four weeks (or less), the cuttings should begin establishing good roots. Once these roots start, you can remove the plastic covering during the day to acclimate the young plants. When they have started growing well, the rooted cuttings can be removed and repotted as needed.
In addition to placing cuttings in soil or another growing medium, you can also root them in a glass of water. Once the cuttings produce some well-established roots, they can be repotted in soil.
Growing Fuchsia Plants
Growing fuchsias from cuttings is easy. Once your cuttings have been repotted, you can continue growing fuchsia plants using the same conditions and care as the original plant. Put your new plants in the garden or a hanging basket in partially shaded area, or semi-sun.
Propagating Fuchsia Cuttings
April and May are the perfect months for taking fuchsia cuttings, and once they have rooted and are transplanted they will give a colourful bloom by June. If you wanted to leave it a little later in the season, fuchsia cuttings will root from April to August. Propagating fuchsia cuttings is easy, and a great way to increase your plant stock for free! 10 cuttings can be taken from each parent plant.
– The day before taking cuttings, water the fuchsia to hydrate it thoroughly.
– Take fuchsia cuttings early in the day or later on in the evening. During the middle of the day is hotter and brighter, which means the cutting dehydrates quicker, which can hinder growth.
– Check the plant for disease as only healthy parent plants will produce strong cuttings.
– Before moving your newly propagated fuchsias outside ensure they have been properly hardened-off. Open propagator vents once the plants look healthy the lid can be removed so plants can acclimatise to their new environment.
– Make all cuts at a 45 degree angle when taking cuttings, so that any water that falls on the cutting is directed away from the bud.
Taking Fuchsia Cuttings
1. Remove the stem just above the third set of leaves – the cutting should be around 2”-3” in length. Always cut just below a leaf joint (node) using a very sharp knife (take the cutting under the node as this contains the greatest concentration of hormone). If the cut isn’t clean, this can encourage disease, resulting in unhealthy cuttings that will struggle to establish strong roots. If the stem on the cutting is too long, it could encourage botrytis, which will rot the cutting.
2. We place the cutting in our Hydropod Propagator, which sprays a fine mist over the roots and gives them perfect access to water, nutrients and oxygen. This halves the times it takes for cuttings to root when compared to growing in compost. If propagating in compost – fill a 3” pot with compost, use a dibber to make a hole in the middle and insert the cutting into the medium with about half the length of the stem below the second set of leaves.
4. Once planted up, place fuchsia plants on a warm windowsill or in a heated propagator set to around 18C. Bottom heat will speed up the rooting time to around 12-14 days, and without this heat it might take around 1-2 weeks longer (if propagating in April/May it will probably take 2 weeks, and in colder or less bright conditions it might take 4 weeks). These should be left in a bright place out of direct sunlight.
5. When the fuchsia cuttings have rooted, they will be a slightly darker green colour – these should now be removed from the propagator and hardened-off by gently introducing them to outdoor temperatures. Once there is a healthy rootball showing around the outside of the compost, they can be planted outdoors.
6. After a few weeks, remove the tips of side shoots. This encourages new growth from the leaf joints and results in a larger number blooms. Pinching out can be repeated to encourage the plant to produce more side shoots for a spectacular display!
Have a look at the coleus cutting we have rooted in the Hydropod – and there is a little more information about chrysanthemum and Geranium cuttings.
If you have any questions about the cuttings you are rooting, get in touch with our Gardening Angels on 0845 602 3774 or email [email protected] We’re always happy to hear from you
How to take Fuchsia Cuttings
There is nothing nicer for the keen gardener than propagating new plants from old ones. Plants don’t go on forever and they can soon tire and look past their best. Personally I like to let most of my plants go to the great ‘compost heap in the sky’ after a season, two at the most, and replace them with fine new healthy youngsters.
Many people I’ve spoken to seem to look puzzled or sceptical when I speak of continually renewing my plants by taking cuttings but nothing could be simpler. I confess that my first attempts were undertaken with much scepticism and a good degree of failure, but gradually my success rate improved from 5 out of 10 cuttings growing successfully to something better than 9 out of 10. What is also pleasing is that the same technique works equally well for many other plants.
Most text books will describe the “cutting in soil” technique that I use here, but placing the cutting in water in a small glass or container works equally well. The preparation of the cutting is the same whichever method you use. No doubt there are plenty of technical terms and explanations I should be giving you but the fact is I am not an expert, am not technically competent and I don’t really know much about plants or gardening in general. All I do know is that this technique almost always works for me, and I’m happy to share it.
First of all find yourself a nice plant from which to take your cutting. A diseased or unhealthy plant is not going to stand much chance of creating anything other than a diseased or unhealthy cutting. Examine the plant and look for a stem that has a growing tip, below which there are at least two pairs of leaves. The photograph on the left (Fig 1) shows a perfect example.
What we need to do is remove the stem just above that third pair of leaves which will ideally be 2 to 3 inches in length. I know some gardeners who use secateurs or sharp knives but, to be honest, Fuchsia stems suitable for making cuttings are so soft and tender that it is easy enough to pinch through the stem with your thumb nail (Fig 2). As a point of interest, a brand new pair of leaves will develop on the mother plant where the cutting was taken from. This means that in a relatively short time there will be two stems where there had previously only been one. Frequent ‘pinching out’ of stems in this way is a proven method of making your plants more compact and more bushy. Obviously the more bushy the plant the more flowers it will produce, so pinching out is good practice even if cuttings are not needed. Some cultivars of Fuchsia have leaves that form in three’s rather than pairs. These benefit even more from the effects of pinching out growing tips. (Please see my Fuchsia care tips).
Now, with the cutting on the bench it is necessary to remove the surplus leaves and stem and expose the growing region. Plants major growth areas are in their leaf nodes. This is the ‘knobbly’ part where the leaves join onto the stem that I am pointing my knife blade at in Fig 3. Now is NOT a time for bravely hacking away with your thumb nail. Rough and jagged cuts will encourage germs and disease. Take a sharp knife and carefully remove the lowest pair of leaves and the length of stem below the leaf node. Fig 4 shows the dissected cutting.
There seems to be mixed opinion on the value of using rooting hormone compounds. I normally use a hormone powder, but I have been through periods of not using it and can’t honestly say I’ve noticed much difference. I am of the opinion that if you have chosen a nice cutting and prepared it correctly, then it will manage the rest all by itself.
Assuming you have some, dip the end of the cutting in the compound and dibble it into a small pot (Fig 5) of … get ready for it … ‘Potting Compost’. In my photographs I have mixed potting compost with vermiculite which aids drainage and aeration of the soil. Again, I don’t always use it and again I have noticed little difference.
If I have a single cutting to deal with as in this case then I use a very small 2¼” pot. Three or four cuttings can be placed in a single 3″ pot. If I am taking a number of cuttings then the plastic modular trays that you can buy cheaply from most garden stores are ideal.
So there you have it. One new tender Fuchsia (Fig 6) already to start growing and reward you with a wonderful display of beautiful flowers. All that remains to be done is to water our new ‘baby’ and put in a label. Place your new cutting on a window sill or in a greenhouse if you have one. I know it is recommended to place a plastic bag over the cutting to keep its microclimate moist and humid but again this is not something I ever bother with. Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning, you can simply stand the cutting in plain water, which some people find much easier. In this case, just wait until you can see some well-established roots and then put it in a pot with soil and water it well.
Cuttings can be taken at any time of year except winter but the earlier in the year it is, the more successful will be the result. Spring is the perfect time. It is a time when the plants are abundant with fresh new growth and when you should be ‘pinching out’ the growing tips anyway to stimulate a more bushy habit. It also affords each plant the whole summer season to grow and establish before the next winters hibernation. Summer cuttings aren’t quite so vigorous and result in slightly less developed plants by the winter but, nevertheless, summer cuttings are very successful and can form part of your regular garden maintenance routine. Autumn cuttings work but the plants are now lacking in energy and are past their best. There is little time for the new plants to establish before the cold months of winter. That said, trimming back plants in readiness for the winter provides a wealth of free cutting material and it’s a shame not to make good use of it. (see my guide to over-wintering). I have a small hotbed in my greenhouse for early spring seeds and this provides an opportunity to get some extra use out of it.
Solent Fuchsia & Flower Club
Growing Hardy Fuchsias
There are many types of fuchsias to choose from. Those that are recommended to be planted in the garden and left there during the winter months are listed as ‘Hardies’. For fuchsia plants to qualify under this heading, stringent tests must be carried out. Different varieties are distributed all over the British Isles and cultivated under normal conditions for several years. They are left exposed to the elements during the winter months. If after a predetermined time these plants manage to survive even the coldest climate, they are then categorised as Hardies. The British Fuchsia Society has an official list of fuchsia plants that are capable of being over wintered in the garden (see below). It would be advisable to only select from these if you wish to grow fuchsias in the garden and leave them there all the year round.
Planting & Winter Care
Fuchsias are not fussy as to the type of soil, but it’s most important to take a little care in the preparation before they are introduced to where they are expected to thrive for many years. Begin by digging the soil thoroughly and adding plenty of humus-forming material. If after digging the hole to accommodate the plant, the soil is a heavy water retaining clay, it will be advisable to include a few broken bricks or anything similar and a small amount of grit in the bottom, because fuchsias like a well drained soil.
The ideal period to plant young hardy fuchsias (which will in all probability have the ideal root growth which has no need to be disturbed) in the garden, is late May or early June. This will give them ample opportunity to establish a good root system during the warmer summer months.
Young plants are preferred because older ones seldom move well and they will most probably take a year or two before becoming established. Older plants that are grown in pots have generally produced a substantial rooting system and are too brittle to become successfully disengaged, so endeavouring to loosen them may result in a few becoming damaged, thus inadvertently preventing the root system becoming properly ‘anchored’.
Remember to remove the pot before planting. This may sound ridiculous, but it is not unknown for fuchsias to have been planted with the pot left in situ. When planting hardy fuchsias into the garden, it is advisable to plant them slightly deeper than the depth of the pot (see diagram). The line depicts the ground level. Planting at this depth not only has the benefit of protecting the roots from severe frost, but also the branches below ground level will usually produce extra root growth. Sprinkle a light dressing of an organic fertilizer (e.g. bonemeal) over the excavated soil and then gently fork it in. After positioning the plant at the suggested level, replace and gently firm the soil around the plant and insert a label with the name of the fuchsia.
Lastly, apply adequate water and keep the soil moist until the plant is well established. Planting is best completed before the end of August, thus allowing it time to become acclimatised to the elements before winter arrives.
As an extra precaution, a mulch of well rotted garden compost or any similar material spread copiously around the plant in the autumn should provide extra root protection during the winter.
It is an advantage to retain the branches intact on the plants during the winter. This not only prevents any disease entering the wounded stems caused by late pruning, but the extra cover will also help to give them a little protection during the very cold months. The best time to prune outdoor fuchsias is during early spring after the new shoots appear. Cut back every branch just above a pair of leaf buds to within three or four inches from the surface of the ground. This type of hard pruning will also induce new growth to sprout from below ground level. Repeat this procedure every year.
Do not prune any outdoor fuchsias until you are sure that all frosts are finished.
B.F.S. List Of Hardy Fuchsias
Any cultivar suggested to the BFS for the Hardy List must have survived at least five consecutive winters and begun to flower in July or early August. It does not necessarily mean that the fuchsias listed below will survive when left in the ground through every winter in every corner of the United Kingdom.
|A M Larwick||Abbe Farges||Achievement|
|Admiration||Alice Doran||Alice Hoffman|
|Annabel||Army Nurse||Avalanche (Henderson 1896)|
|Baby Blue Eyes||Barbara||Bashful|
|Bernisser Hardy||Beverley||Blue Bush|
|Brodsworth||Brutus||C J Howlett|
|Celia Smedley||Charming||Chillerton Beauty|
|China Lantern||Cliffs Hardy||Connie|
|Dunrobin Bedder||E A Babbs||Edith|
|El Cid||Eleanor Rawlings||Elfrida|
|Emile Zola||Empress of Prussia||Enfant Prodigue|
|Eva Boerg||F. magellanica||F. magellanica var. aurea|
|F. magellanica var. comber||F. magellanica var. conica||F. magellanica var. discolor|
|F. magellanica var. globosa||F. magellanica var. golden sharpitor||F. magellanica var. gracilis|
|F. magellanica var. longipendunculata||F. magellanica var. macrostema||F. magellanica var. molinae (alba)|
|F. magellanica var. myrtifolia||F. magellanica var. prostrata||F. magellanica var. pumila|
|F. magellanica var. sharpitor||F. magellanica var. thompsonii||F. magellanica var. tricolor|
|F. magellanica var. variegata||F. magellanica var. versicolor||Falklands|
|Foxgrove Wood||Garden News||General Monk|
|Goldsworth Beauty||Graf Witte||Grayrigg|
|Grumpy||H G Brown||Happy|
|Herbe de Jacques||Howlett’s Hardy||Jack Wilson|
|Jenny Sorenson||Joan Cooper||Justin’s Pride|
|Lady Ambersley||Lady Boothby||Lady Thumb|
|Little Beauty||Logan Garden||Logan Woods|
|Madame Cornelissen||Margaret||Margaret Brown|
|Margaret Roe||Margery Blake||Mauve Wisp|
|Mephisto||Monsieur Thibaut||Mr A Huggett|
|Mr Rundle||Mrs Popple||Mrs W P Wood|
|Neue Welt||Nicola Jane||Papoose|
|Pee Wee Rose||Phyllis||Phyrne|
|President Elliot||Prosperity||Purple Cornelissen|
|Purple Splendour||Queen of Derby||Reading Show|
|Rose of Castile||Rose of Castile Improved||Rufus|
|Ruth||Santa Claus||Santa Cruz|
|Sneezy||Snowcap||Son of Thumb|
|Susan Travis||Tennessee Waltz||The Tarns|
|Thornley’s Hardy||Timothy Hammett||Tom Thumb|
|Trudy||Voltaire||W P Wood|
|Wharfdale||White Pixie||Whiteknights Amethyst|
|Whiteknights Blush||Whiteknights Glister||Whiteknights Pearl|
I am in front of the bay window at Lower House. The sun is shining its hardest on my bare legs. I think I might be happy. York stone. The hot smell of box and the trees shuffling with birdsong and breeze. It must be afternoon. It must be 1961. Women and children have bare legs. Men only wear shorts for sports. Here, said Jennifer, try this. She took one of the pink and purple flowers tumbling off the bush and broke it, snapping it expertly at the base. Go on, suck it. It won’t hurt you. A little perfumed tube, curiously firm between my lips. Drawing until the roof of my mouth hurt, half expecting disgust and screams of laughter. And then the merest hint of sweetness, a fleeting glimpse of taste. A moment inside the life of a bee. Nectar, said Jennifer. You could live off that forever.
I tried scores more fuchsias that day, showing the trick to anyone who would bear with me. I cannot resist taking a draw on the occasional fuchsia even now. But I have never recaptured that exact, elusive sweetness.
Not that fuchsias have crossed my path very much. At my friend Henry’s house, in Usk, they have boxes of fuchsias standing on a row of saddle stones as they have had for the past 30 years at least. The boxes have homemade foursquareness, and the combination of plants pouring out pink, magenta and purple, earthy loam, wood and stone is deeply satisfying, but it belongs to that place. Copying it would cross the divide from inspiration to theft.
About 15 years ago, Sarah came back from the Chelsea Flower Show with an enormous standard fuchsia that had been sold off on the last day. Because it had been forced under cover for the show, most of the flowers dropped off after a few days of being outside in Hackney. But it came back more modestly and entertained us for the rest of the summer before being frosted. It was more like an exotic bird than a plant. It was never more than passing through. We did not really grow it.
In fact, I have never grown a fuchsia. This is nothing to do with the plant. They are not difficult if you attend to their modest needs, and if you are into taking cuttings – which I am – then they are easy to propagate, so they are essentially cheap. But not in this garden – yet. I like fuchsias very much in other people’s gardens and swaggering along the Cornish hedgerows. I like the way they parachute off the branches like floating ballerinas. It has just somehow never felt appropriate here. Perhaps they are too present in memory to have room for them in the here and now. There was, of course, embarrassingly, some time later in life, the delight of discovering that fuchsias were named after someone called Fuchs. Did all plants get named like this? Were there Dickias, Bottomleyias, or Prattias? Could grown-up life hold that many delights? As it turned out, it could not. Dahlia, forsythia and stewartia do not promise the same delicious thrill.
The fuchsia is named after Leonhart Fuchs, a 16th-century German botanist. The species was not discovered by him, though. Fuchsias were first brought to the attention of the west by a French Catholic priest named Plumier, who came across the plant now classified as Fuchsia triphylla while on a plant-hunting expedition in the Dominican Republic in 1695. Sadly, his samples were shipwrecked but he published drawings in 1703. The first fuchsia did not arrive in London until 1788 and was given to the Royal Botanic gardens at Kew.
Thereafter fuchsias were grown with hothouse intensity. This was largely unnecessary, though. In the Gulf Stream-coddled West, F magellanica (one of the hardiest varieties – although they cannot have known that then) was planted as hedging. But the idea of fuchsias was exotic and the Victorian plant consumer was not to be denied. All over Europe people bred fuchsias ferociously, all in glasshouses. By 1848 the first book devoted to fuchsias, by Felix Porte, a Frenchman, listed 520 cultivars. Now there are more than 8,000 hybrids and cultivars.
Right up until the First World War, the majority of fuchsias had lots of small flowers. In the 20s and 30s, they began to be bred in America and the flower size increased dramatically. In many cases, more did mean better, and varieties like ‘Texas Longhorn’ had flowers eight inches across. (‘Texas Longhorn’? A breed of beef cattle to describe a fuchsia? When it comes to the naming of plants, people often get silly.) American and British growers began to concentrate on hardy varieties that did not need greenhouses, fuel or labour. Like the dahlia, chrysanthemum, sweet pea or rose, the fuchsia was something that could be grown in a small garden or allotment, lent itself to competition and became a way in which working men (always a male thing, these competitive flowers) could show their expertise and add colour and exotica into hard lives. It is easy, in our soft, postmodern, untested age, to sneer at these shows, but I love them. I love the passion, skill and unsung graft that goes into winning a local, nickel-plated trophy for cosseting these flowers into symbols of freedom and dignity.
Your roots: Growing fuchsias
Fuchsias are woodland plants, so like dappled shade and moist, warm conditions. If you put them out in the open, they need shading in hot weather and many stop growing and flowering above 27 C. Remember that a black pot retains much more heat than a pale-coloured one. Fuchsias only flower on the current season’s growth so have to be pruned hard. Treat them like late-flowering clematis or buddleia and cut back the old wood – even if it has new shoots – in spring. Even hardy varieties can have their top growth killed by hard frosts, but hedges and shrubs will grow back from the base.
Half-hardy fuchsias: These can be grown like pelargoniums and overwintered in a cool but frost-free greenhouse or shed. (I have a friend who keeps hers in the cellar.) They can either be kept in their pots or planted out directly into the soil; the latter bringing with it the advantage that they develop larger roots and need much less watering and feeding.
Fuchsias in hanging baskets: Trailing fuchsias are perfect for hanging baskets. The average-size basket will take four or five plants, and as long as they are watered and kept out of the wind, these plants should continue flowering well into the autumn months. There are many suitable varieties for using in hanging baskets, including: ‘Cascade’, ‘Hidcote Beauty’, ‘Marinka’, ‘Auntie Jinks’ and ‘Machu Picchu’.
Fuchsia problems: When fuchsias were mainly grown indoors they were plagued by whitefly, which live on the underside of the leaf. They are best treated with a spray of diluted washing-up liquid. Another greenhouse enemy is the red spider mite (tiny and yellow-green rather than red), which causes bronzed leaves and defoliation. The presence of these mites is a sure sign that the greenhouse or conservatory is too dry, so damp the floor and raise the humidity. Vine weevils will eat the roots of fuchsias in pots and are often introduced with the plant, so repot any plant after purchase, checking the roots carefully. If they do attack, the plant will wither and die. Outdoor fuchsias are more likely to suffer from capsid bugs – sap-suckers which will distort young buds and stems. Again, spraying with diluted washing-up liquid would help.
hardy fuchsia planting instructions
Swansons is happy to offer a wide selection of Hardy Fuchsias for the garden. Proper planting and maintenance are essential to your success. With a little care, your Fuchsias will provide years of beauty and enjoyment with minimal trouble. For information on specific plants, please consult individual cultivar signs, or one of Swanson’s nursery professionals.
Hardy Fuchsias like a rich soil with plenty of nutrients and water. They require a deep root system in order to give best performance. While mostly planted in shade or partial shade, they do very well in full sun, as long as they are not against a south or west wall with intense reflected heat.
To maximize size and bloom, special attention is required when planting. This method differs markedly from that recommended for small shrubs and perennials.
Dig the planting hole approximately 16”-18” wide and 12”-14” deep. Set this soil aside in a wheel barrow or on a tarp.
Breakup and loosen the remaining soil in the bottom of the hole. In the case of slow draining soil, add some coarse washed sand or compost, working it in well for an additional depth of 6”-8” to a total depth of 18”. This is primarily a drainage area and will not require added nutrients. Amend the soil you set aside with 30% by volume of Soil Building Compost. Add a handful of an All Purpose Organic Flower or Vegetable Fertilizer. Place this mixture back into the hole leaving the soil level 4”-5” lower than the original soil level. Water in to settle the soil.
Slightly loosen the rootball of the plant, strip off the bottom 4“ of leaves and place it in the hole so that the top of the root ball remains 4”-5” lower than the original soil level. Fill in with soil covering the bottom 4”-5” of the plant’s stems. New roots will form below the ground thus making the plant much hardier to cold temperatures.
In the fall, mulch 1”-2” with leaves or bark. Do not prune. In spring after last frost, usually around mid-April, pull back the mulch. Carefully prune out old spindly growth from the crown and the center of the plant. Wait to see if new growth emerges from the old stems. If it does, leave branches alone. If frost has damaged or killed last year’s branches, prune them to the ground and new shoots will
replace them from the established root system.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO GROWING STANDARD FUCHSIAS
FROST PROTECTION FOR HALF AND FULL STANDARD FUCHSIAS
This section describes how to overwinter half and full standards which have been started as cuttings / plug plants in that year. It does not deal with over-wintering full and half standards which are established plants. The reason to separate the two stages are because fully-formed, mature standard fuchsias take up a lot more room compared to ones which have been started off in the same year. Also, a standard fuchsia in its first winter will still be growing, even if very slowly.
Both full and half standards will require frost protection from mid / late October through to mid / late spring the next year and this is probably the most challenging part of growing standards. To over winter your growing plant will require a temperature in the range 5°C / 41°F to 10°C / 50°F. Now let’s just consider that temperature range because it is the most quoted one for overwintering fuchsias – it is obviously impossible to keep to that temperature range in the UK unless you have both a source of heat and a means of cooling the air down. Many parts of the UK reach above 10°C / 50°F for more than the odd day or so in late winter /early spring and unless you have air-conditioning in your greenhouse / conservatory you will exceed that temperature range as will every other fuchsia grower!
The more practical advice is to aim for the suggested temperature range but accept that both the top and lower ends of it will not always be achievable. The methods which can be used to over winter your plants include:
- In a greenhouse which can be heated slightly when temperatures fall. If you can provide this environment then you are lucky and over wintering will not be a problem. The doors should be left open when temperatures exceed 10°C / 50°F and heating used when the temperature falls to 5°C / 41°F.
- In a conservatory is probably the best option of all. Not only do they have height and space but the heat of the house will keep the conservatory at just about the ideal temperature if not heated. Open the doors when temperatures exceed 10°C / 50°F. A conservatory is unlikely to fall below 5°C / 41°F if attached to a heated house but if it does, temporarily open the door from the house to the conservatory.
- Small plastic mini-greenhouse. These can be bought for £15 or so, maybe cheaper towards the end of the season in September / October when you need it for your fuchsias. Position it against the outside wall of a centrally heated room. We use a couple of these for our fuchsias and they work well. They are a bit flimsy but if they are a against a wall and out of the way of strong winds they will last several years. See the picture below.
In very cold weather it may be necessary to bring the plants indoors for a day or so but given this is a very cheap solution which works well for almost all of the winter, that’s a price we are willing to pay.
Click to enlarge picture
We don’t recommend trying to grow any size of standard fuchsia indoors for more than a few days. The heat levels will be too high and the dry atmosphere is not good at all for the plants.
ADJUSTABLE CALENDAR FOR FUCHSIA STANDARDS
The sections which follow describe in detail how to grow your standard fuchsia through the summer, winter and the next spring and it contains all the necessary dates in the text adjusted to your area of the UK if you have set your home town (dates default to UK average if no setting is made).
To help you obtain an overall view of the process we have additionally provided individual summary calendars, one for half-standards and one for full sized standards. for the full standard summary calendar or for the half standard summary calendar if you want to see one of these summary pages. They will open in a new window so that you can flick between this article and the summary calendar.
GROWING THE STEM OF YOUR STANDARD FUCHSISA
To grow any size of standard you need to start off with a plant that has only one main stem. If you have bought a plug plant or a small plant it may well have more than one stem and you need to pinch out all stems except the main central one.
Using the picture above to illustrate, stem 1 is clearly the strongest growing central stem and stems 2 and 3 should be pinched / cut out to leave only stem 1. Note carefully that the chosen stem must not have been pinched out (growers sometimes do this to bush out the plants). Now take a look at the leaf nodes of the plant you have and you will notice that two side stems are forming or have formed, one each side of the leaf node. See the photo below (click it to enlarge it and see more clearly) which shows a leaf node where the side stems are clearly formed.
When the side shoots are large enough to handle they should be removed. The easiest way to do this is to bend the side shoot sideways and it will snap off. Alternatively you can cut the side shoots off but each time you do that be careful not to damage the main stem. Remove every side shoot in the same manner. Do not remove the leaves, these will assist the plant in absorbing sunshine which gives the top part of the plant lots of energy to grow quickly.
After a six weeks or so you will have a partially formed standard fuchsia which looks like the one in the picture below. Note that the main leaves have been left on, all the side shoots have been removed as they grew and the very top central part of the the stem has not been pinched out.
CARING FOR A STANDARD FUCHSIA AS THE STEM GROWS
Throughout the growing life of your standard fuchsia it will need to be potted-up three times. We normally aim for a final pot size of 30cm to 45cm (12in to 18in) wide for a full standard and around 30cm / 12in for a half standard. The pot size is important for three reasons:
- the roots need sufficient room to grow and absorb nutrients to support the flower head
- the compost in the pot needs to be able to hold a fair amount of water so that very frequent watering is not needed, the smaller the pot the more frequently it will need watering
- there needs to be some weight in the pot so that it will not be easily blown over; read further down this page for more information about how to stabilise the plant and the pot.
A standard fuchsia should be potted up when the fibrous roots are clearly visible at the edges of the root ball. To see the root ball simply tip the plant upside down into the palm of one hand and gently tap the base of the pot. The plant and root ball will fall out and you can examine it.
One word of warning here which other articles appear not to mention is that when the standard gets much above 60cm / 2ft high (from compost top to tip of the plant) it becomes increasingly dangerous to tip the plant out of its pot without risk to the stem. The stem is long and fragile and can easily be damaged. For this reason we always pot up into the final sized pot when the standard stem gets to 60cm / 2ft high. Read the section below entitled “staking a standard fuchsia” before you do the final pot-up because the final one is done slightly differently to previous ones.
REMOVING SIDE SHOOTS AS THE STANDARD GROWS
As your standard grows taller pinch out the side shoots which appear at each leaf node but do not remove the large leaves. The picture below shows a before and after of removing the side shoots.
Close up showing shoots to remove.
Click to enlarge picture.
Close up showing side shoots removed.
Click to enlarge picture.
By removing the side shoots you will encourage the plant stem to grow straight up rather than bush out. When the plant reaches 20cm / 8in below the final chosen height stop removing the side shoots. You want to leave the top three leaf nodes with the side shoots still in place, these top three side shoots will then form the flower head.
When the stem reaches the required height and it has three sets of side shoots at the top you need to pinch out the growing tip. This will stop the main stem growing upwards and encourage the stop three sets of side shoots to grow and bush out. The two pictures below show the before and after of this pinching out.
The top of the standard before pinching out.
Click picture to enlarge.
The top of the standard after pinching out.
Click picture to enlarge.
FEEDING AND WATERING
When the plant is in full active growth from the cutting / plug plant stage until it goes semi-dormant in the last week of October it should be given a balanced nitrogen feed (not a tomato type feed) every week or two. Watering should keep the compost slightly moist but not water-logged.
Then from the last week of October 2015 to the first week of April water infrequently keeping the compost barely moist but don’t allow it to dry out completely. At the same time stop the balanced nitrogen feed. In late December and February sprinkle a small handful of blood, fish and bone onto the compost surface and gently work it into the top layer.
In First week of April
start feeding again with a balanced nitrogen feed and resume watering to keep the compost moist but not water-logged. When the flower head starts to develop well (see pinching out above) start feeding with a tomato type fertilise to encourage the growth of flowers.
STAKING A STANDARD FUCHSIA
Both half and full standards need their stems to be supported to avoid damage from wind. Even the strongest stake in a pot will not protect your plant from very strong winds so the first rule is to place the plant in a protected position. When your cutting or plug plant is growing in its first pot no real staking is required because the plant will naturally grow upright to a large degree if pruned as we recommend.
At the first potting up add a thin stake about 1cm away from the main stem. If the stake is thin and it is gently eased into the compost it will hardly damage the roots at all. Loosely tie the stem to stake so that it encourages the stem to grow straight and vertically. As long as the ties are loose it doesn’t really matter what you use, we normally used thick string.
When the fuchsia comes to the second potting up remove the initial stake and insert a slightly thicker one which is also taller than the existing plant. Again tie the stem loosely to the plant although slightly more tighter ties can be used to correct any imperfections in straightness as long as they are loosened a week or so later.
At the third and final potting up the staking becomes crucial because not only will it need to support the plant for the rest of its life when it has a fully formed flower head but it will also be very difficult to replace it if it is not correct. We recommend that you use some type of stake support in the pot to aid stability similar to the one below.
Those stake supports seem impossible to buy new anymore but before I realised those cane supports existed, I made do with a homemade solution which never let me down but did take a little effort.
I bought a small pack of ready mixed concrete, mixed it with water and packed it into a small plastic plant pot. I let the cement semi-set, inserted the bamboo cane into it and let it fully set. I then broke off the plant pot from the cement.
This gave me a bamboo cane with effectively a lump of concrete at one end. This, when surrounded by potting compost, gave a much more stable bamboo cane which was far less likely to move compared to the cane by itself.
The procedure for the final potting up, secure staking and planting is as follows:
- Select the correct final pot size, 30cm to 45cm (12in to 18in) wide for a full standard and around 30cm / 12in for a half standard.
- Fill the bottom with a layer of grit or stones about 3cm / 1in deep. place the stake support over the stones so that the stake hole is in the middle of the pot and the stake holder is level. Insert a stake into the hole of the stake holder. The length of the stake should be tall enough to reach up to the bottom of the flower head.
- Add another layer of gravel / stones about 3cm / 1in deep.
- Begin to infill the pot with compost so that when the root ball is placed on the top it will be just below the rim of the pot.
- Now the slightly scary bit! Lift the plant and root ball out of the existing pot and place it just off centre at the top of the stake. Find the hole made by the previous stake then gently push the root ball into the stake at that point and down it to the layer of compost in the new pot. The stake must be off centre to avoid it pushing into the main stem of the plant but not too far away from it. There will be some root damage at this stage but it will be minor only. See picture below.
- Infill with compost so that the top of the root ball is level with the new compost. Your standard fuchsia is now potted up into its final container and ready to grow on.
The leaves of your standard fuchsia, which should still be growing from the stem, can be removed when the flower head reaches a decent size, normally about four to six week after the top has been pinched out. Below are two pictures of standard fuchsias we grew last year.
The plant above was grown taller than normal as an experiment. The main problem with a standard this size is protecting it from being blown over!
A less ambitious half standard with a large flower head.
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Summary: Fuchsia plant care can be done by anyone, it is even possible to take an upright growing fuchsia and force the branches down to make beautiful plants and hanging baskets.
A wide array of colors and vigorous growers make the fuchsia an excellent potted flowering plant for the patio.
The Fuchsia plant family sees many new introductions every year – into the 100’s. Not many plant families can boast of as large a family as this.
The Origins Of The Hardy Fuchsia
Fuchsias (Gartenmeister Bonstedt), or Ladies’ Eardrops, as they have often been called, were first introduced into Great Britain from Chile about 1788.
At the height of their early popularity less than a hundred years later, there were 541 known species and varieties; today we have thousands of species and cultivars available online or at garden centers.
In the 1800’s, a nurseryman in England was walking down the street in his neighborhood and saw sitting on a window shelf a flower he had not seen before.
He asked the lady of the house and she informed him that a sailor had brought her the Fuchsia plant and she thought that it had come from somewhere around South America.
The nurseryman asked permission to take the Fuchsia with him for propagation in exchange for half of the plants. This was a very profitable transaction.
This original introduction Fuchsia magellanica, is one of the parents of our fuchsias of today.
Years later, there were others found in South America, off the islands of South America, and Mexico.
These hardy varieties of Fuchsia all had very small flowers and were very graceful.
The years have brought many improvements on the original fuchsia plant and it is doubtful if the ancestors of our beautiful fuchsia of today would recognize their offspring.
Our fuchsias of today still carry the original grace but the beautiful blooms are much larger and in showy colors.
Lest some of you think I am indulging in slang when I suggest Fuchsias are real Cool!, let me assure you… I mean it literally; if they aren’t cool – they’re dead.
So if you want these fabulous beauties in your window garden, first be sure you can supply the very cool conditions they require through fall and winter.
Fuchsia “Chillerton Beauty” is a free-flowering upright hardy Fuchsia found in Oregon and Washington. This tropical and tender perennial grows in USDA hardiness zones 8-11.
Honeysuckle fuchsia also grows in USDA Hardiness zones 9-11. This species requires protection for long spells of temperature under 32° degrees Fahrenheit.
Zauschneria or California fuchsia is another evergreen shrub under the Onagraceae family.
It loves well-drained soils in full sun and attracts many hummingbirds. Its funnel-shaped scarlet flowers bloom during late summer and fall.
Fuchsias have discouraged more indoor gardeners than any other plant with the possible exception of those wondering how to grow gardenias, yet they are the “growingest” plants I have ever had.
So if you can keep them cool, here are a few tips to help you the rest of the way. And if you just don’t have a cool spot in your home, porch, patio or breezeway, you might as well quit reading this article right now, because nothing I’ve got to say can help you.
Hardy Fuchsia Plants Make Excellent Pot Subjects
Fuchsias are very easy plants to grow and are very good pot subjects.
In Southern California, the home of fuchsias, they are grown in gardens in locations with partial shade. Many grow into massive trees 8 and 10 feet high.
The weaker-stemmed, low-growing types are ideal for trailing from hanging baskets, and in my opinion, display their blossoms to better advantage than the upright plants.
The flowers of all fuchsias are very showy, usually pendulous, and arise singly or in clusters from the leaf-axils. Its leaves and stems appear dark bronze-red
The long tube terminates in four reflexed or spreading lobes, exposing the petals (four, five, or more), with the stamens and stigma extending out from these.
Fuchsias are very fast growers and start to bloom when very young.
By pruning, fuchsias can easily be kept within bounds and make very beautiful pot specimens.
There are the upright growers which should be staked or trellised. The hanging basket type for hanging pots or hanging baskets or for window boxes or pots for window shelves.
Bush Fuchias are beautifil but a favorite form for many is a Fuchsia standard grown as a tree with the sideshoots removed.
When planting or potting Fuchsias remember they like soil slightly on the acid side and a soil with good drainage.
Fuchsias are heavy feeders and should be fed every month, a good commercial slow-release fertilizer or a general purpose liquid fertilizer is good. A dressing of cow manure is very beneficial. Feedings will give you a plant loaded with beautiful flowers.
Related Reading: Caring For Begonias in Hanging Baskets
Fuchsias Require Lots of Water & Like Moisture
In addition to being heavy eaters, fuchsias are also thirsty plants. Fuchsias should be kept damp at all times. They like lots of water BUT be sure there is good drainage.
These are plants that like humidity and this can be brought about by spraying the leaves with a fine mist of water.
On bright days, fuchsias enjoy being syringed with tepid water. Spray with water at least twice a week. In the hot summer period a spraying every day will be very beneficial.
The heat draws moisture from the foliage of your plants and fuchsias will not tolerate this. By spraying you can build up the humidity and keep your plants in good growing condition and have a continuous wealth of bloom.
Remember, in watering with a spray you are not watering the root ball sufficiently. You must water your soil in the pot.
Many times, people feel that water on the surface of the soil of a pot plant is all that is needed.
This is doing your potted plants a great injustice. You must soak your soil when watering. It is best to water less often and do a thorough job than to skim over them once in a while.
Water must penetrate into the soil surface so that all the roots will have water. Roots must be kept in good condition if you are going to have good plants with nice flowers.
What Pests Like Fuchsia Plants?
When watering, I use quite a forcible spray in order to jar loose any insects that might be trying to get a foothold.
Fuchsias are a favorite of all the more pesky pests, such as whitefly, fuchsia gall mites, and red spider mite. Slugs also fed on the new growths.
- Learn About Red Spider Mite Control
- How To Get Rid of Slugs Naturally
Aphids like to feed on Fuchsias. Prevent these insect pests and kill aphids naturally by spraying your Fuchsia Trees and plants with sprays of organic neem oil or horticultural oil) once every ten days.
Pruning Fuchsia Plants For “Perfect” Shape
Pruning your fuchsias is important if you want a nice shaped plant. Upon planting a young plant, after it has formed four or six sets of leaves, pinch out the top of the plant.
From each leaf axis a stem will grow. This will later be a branch. After these branches put out four or six sets of leaves, pinch out the center of each of these.
This will produce a nice bushy plant. The hanging basket Fuchsia varieties need still more pinching.
Follow this pinching process until you have a nice bushy plant before you let the branches hang.
Failing to get a bushy plant before you let the laterals hang will give you an unsightly stringy plant. In the fall or early spring, prune your fuchsias.
Upright growers are best cut back to about 8 or 10 inches from the ground. This gives you the main stem of new healthy wood and keeps your plant in bounds.
Your new wood is the flowering wood, and you will have more flowers by pruning in this way.
On the hanging basket varieties, cut them back level with the bottom of your container. You may have to shift your plant to a larger pot, and the best time to do this is after you prune your plant.
Video: Cutting Back Fuchsia Trees
How To Care For Fuchsia – Where Do They Grow Best?
How to grow fuchsia:
Fuchsias are shade loving plants, but there are some varieties that will grow out in the sun. Your orange and red varieties will stand more sun than the pastels or double varieties.
They do much better in semi-shade, however, or early morning sun. These plants grown in the sun require close watching and much watering, especially spraying.
There are numerous types of fuchsia flowers and many colorings. There are:
- Immense double flowers
- Large singles
- Medium and small doubles
- Medium and large singles
Each fuchsia type is beautiful and they all have their own special merits.
You will find the singles bloom much more abundantly. Fuchsias come in almost every color with new flower color combos being released every season.
Fuchsias need coolness above all else. They prefer that temperatures never go over 65° degrees Fahrenheit but they can stand higher ones providing the humidity is high, too.
I once had a plant that inadvertently got set outdoors in early spring and was forgotten until it burst into full bloom.
As an experiment, I left it where it was all summer, and despite almost full sunlight and hot days, it did remarkably well.
Mostly, I think, because the nights were cool and dewy, and during the daytime, I showered it with the hose every time I got near it.
However, best culture requires that the plants be protected from hot sunlight.
Growing A Beautiful Fuchsia Hanging Basket
A nice way to grow basket fuchsias is to plant them in a wire hanging basket. Line your basket with sphagnum moss, put in your potting soil and plant your fuchsia in this.
Hang your basket and work the roots of Baby Tears Moss under the wires and into the sphagnum moss. The Baby Tears will soon take hold and spread over your basket and you will have a beautiful green basket.
This moss is evergreen and it will help retain moisture in your basket and keep the root ball of your Fuchsia damp.
When starting the moss be sure to spray it with water every day so the roots will not become dry. The beautiful effect you will get will be worth your time and efforts.
There are many good outstanding varieties, with all the shades along with single and double flowers, in baskets or upright there are many effects blooming fuchsia plants will give.
Video: How to Plant A Spaghnum Moss Hanging Garden Basket
Care Instructions – How To Train Fuchsia Branches To Go Down
If you have your heart set on a certain standard variety (upright or tree form) and long for a hanging basket plant of this variety, you can have it with a little patience and work. I love to experiment with these and have had very good results.
- Pinch out the plant tips on branches until you have a good bushy trailing Fuchsia plant
- Let your branches start growing.
- They will grow straight up, but you can coax them down
- Get some large nails, in several weights.
- Tie a narrow cloth to two nails, a nail at each end
- Loop this cloth over your branch.
- You must have fairly large, strong branches.
- Start with lighter nails and in a week replace with heavier nails.
- Sometimes you’ll need to put multiple nail sets on one branch.
- These weights will encourage the branches to grow down and soon you can remove the nails.
You can grow some beautiful specimen plants in this manner. Never use string, as this will cut into your branches.
Another nice way to grow upright fuchsias is to put a trellis in your pot. A six-inch pot will hold a three-foot trellis very nicely.
Have your trellis in a fan shape and as your branches grow, tie them in place with twist-ems or narrow pieces of cloth.
As the foliage fills out the pieces you tie with will soon be covered and will not be seen. These make beautiful specimen plants.
For Proper Care Don’t Over Pot, When Repotting Shift To Next Size Pot
When you start small plants never over pot them. Keep shifting to the next size pot as it is needed. Your plants will grow faster and have a much better root system grown this way.
I get a good bushy basket plant in a four or five-inch pot before planting it in my basket.
Remember to pinch your young plants, feed them good, water them well, give their foliage a bath and spray with a good insecticide and you can grow fuchsias that are outstanding.
Tips On Growing A Fuchsia Tree
When growing tree type fuchsias don’t start with large, well-established plants if you want them to adjust to your indoor and outdoor conditions and be amenable to training.
Get small ones no more than five joints tall, and begin at once the business of shaping the plants into the form you prefer.
Like the hanging basket varieties. Shift the plants to larger pots as necessary, using pots two inches larger each shift. Pot in a soil composed of peat moss, perlite, potting soil, and coarse sand.
Fuchsia Plant Care During Winter
How do you care for fuschia plants in winter?
Fuschia flowers make beautiful additions to any garden or home. They also give the added benefit of feeding some small birds like hummingbirds throughout the summer.
Unfortunately, these plants simply are not built to stand through the winter. So how should owners of fuchsia plants properly prepare them for the cold of winter?
To keep your old plants through the winter, place them in a very cold but frost-free spot. From October through December give them only enough water to keep the wood from shriveling.
Then in January move them to a minimum temperature of 50 degrees, and give more water. As soon as all the live “eyes” can be located, trim the plants to shape and remove all dead wood.
Next step – take them out of the pots, wash all the soil from the roots, and repot in the same size pot using fresh soil.
Increase the amount of water given as the plants require it, pinch two or three times before the end of May, and either shift to larger pots when necessary or begin supplemental liquid feeding when roots have filled the soil.
When the plants finally become established in the pot size you want them to flower in, use a liquid plant food in place of every third watering, fuchsias are heavy feeders, and soon spindle out unattractively unless kept well fed.
Plants may also be started from seed in January or February if you have facilities for seed-starting.
If you prefer to start from cuttings, you can take soft green wood ones in February or March or take them in August from plants which have summered outdoors.
The best cuttings are from suckers which spring up from the base of the plants, and should be about three inches long.
Add more sand to the potting mix to start them in, give them shade, a temperature no less than 60 degrees, and spray them lightly if they show signs of wilting.
After they are well rooted, handle them as you would newly purchased small plants.
If you provide your plants with ample root-room in rich, rough soil, feed and water them liberally, and keep them as cool as possible, your fuchsias will live for years and years, increasing all the time in – beauty as well as size.
As you learn to grow them successfully, you’ll want to have more and more of them.
FUCHSIA CARE IN THE UK
PINCHING OUT BUSH AND TRAILING FUCHSIAS
If a fuchsia is left to its own devices it will grow into a long-stemmed plant with no particular shape. It will also produce far less flowers compared to one which has been cared for. Pinching out the growing tips regularly during the initial stage of growth ensures that the stems have lots of side shoots. This will encourage the plant to form a mound shape and the maximum number of flowers.
We have written an in depth article, with several helpful close up pictures, on why, when and how to pinch out fuchsias, which can be found by clicking here.
GROWING FUCHSIAS IN CONTAINERS
As any fuchsia grows in a container it will need to be potted up two or three times into a larger container to allow the roots to expand and the plant to reach its maximum potential. In general it will need potting up form its original small pot after about four weeks, then another six weeks later and then into its final pot another six weeks later. You can tell when the plant is ready for potting up by tipping it out of the pot and looking at the root ball, if there are lots of roots at the edges then its time to pot up. When you do this take a good look at the root ball for signs of the dreaded vine weevil!
Fuchsias do not like frost and young plants will be killed if they are exposed to it. The same goes for shop bought fuchsias because they have been grown in temperature controlled conditions. During cold months they need to be kept out of the cold. When warmer weather begins they should be exposed to outside conditions in phases to avoid shocking them. Initially place them outside during the day and gradually increase the period they re outside over a two week period.
Fuchsias do not grow well in dry conditions, they prefer their roots to be in moist but not water-logged compost. The larger the container the less often it will require watering. The basic rule we use for testing if a plant needs watering is to stick a finger in the top 3cm of the soil, if it’s dry all the way down then it needs watering.
As far as plant foods for fuchsias are concerned we use liquid feeds at the rate stated on whatever pack we buy. When the plant is growing and has no buds on it we feed with a balanced nitrogen fertiliser. When the flower buds start to appear we swap to a tomato fertiliser.
When the flowers appear they come in flushes, not all at once. As soon as a flower starts to look past its best pinch it off including the seed head behind it. If the seed heads are left on the plant they will sap energy from the plant and also convince the plant that producing more flowers is not needed. Some fuchsias have been bred to drop their flowers and seed heads of their own accord.
Fuchsias grow best in semi-shade although full sun can be tolerated as long as the compost is kept moist. Full sun will definitely cause the colours in the flowers to prematurely fade.
If you are growing fuchsias from cuttings or plug plants we have created a step by step growing calendar itemising each step in the process. The dates given in the calendar are average for the UK and Ireland but can be very easily auto-adjusted to your particular area, to go to the calendar page.
GO ON TO LEARN ABOUT FUCHSIA PESTS AND DISEASES
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Fuchsias are one of the mainstays of the summer garden. They produce masses of delightful, pendant, bell-like flowers for months on end, from early June to the first severe frosts of autumn.
Fuchsias provide colourful displays in beds and borders, hanging baskets and all manner of containers. Hardy fuchsias can even be used to make informal flowering hedges. They are so popular, that fuchsias have their own national society – the British Fuchsia Society – plus numerous local clubs and societies.
How to grow fuchsias
Fuchsias will grow perfectly well in either full sun or partial shade, with shelter from cold winds. They will appreciate some shade at the hottest part of the day during very hot summer days. To flower profusely, they need a fertile, moist but well-drained soil.
When growing in containers, make sure you use a good multi-purpose compost or one with added John Innes.
There are literally hundreds of varieties of fuchsias in a wealth of different colours and colour combinations. Most produce relatively small flowers, whereas the so-called ’Turbo’ varieties produce quite large flowers.
There are small, simple, single-petalled varieties all the way up to those that are multi-petalled and large enough to sit in the palm of your hand.
Fuchsias are divided into three broad groups:
Bush fuchsias grow upright into bushy plants.
Trailing or basket fuchsias produce long, trailing stems, making them perfect for hanging baskets and adorning the edges of containers.
Both bush and hanging fuchsias are regarded as being half-hardy perennials, that is they won’t survive temperatures below 4-5C (40-41F) and need overwintering in frost-free conditions, if you want to keep them for subsequent years.
Hardy fuchsias are bushy varieties generally regarded as being frost tolerant and can be left out in the garden all year round. The boundaries between hardy and non-hardy are somewhat blurred, and varieties that are hardy in mild climates, such as in Cornwall, may not be hardy in more exposed, colder regions of the country.
Some fuchsias also produce colourful red-tinged or purple foliage.
Half-hardy varieties are planted out in May/June after the danger of frost has passed. Hardy species and varieties should be planted in spring or early summer.
Dig a good sized planting hole, big enough to easily accommodate the rootball. Add a layer of organic matter – such as compost or planting compost – to the base of the hole and fork it in.
Place the rootball in the planting hole and adjust the planting depth so that it is planted at the same depth as it was originally growing (except hardy fuchsias) and the top of the roots are level with the soil surface. Plant hardy fuchsias slightly deeper, with 2.5-5cm (1-2in) of the stems below soil level.
Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole. Water in well, apply a granular general feed over the soil around the plant and add a 5-7.5cm (2-3in) deep mulch of well-rotted garden compost or bark chippings around the root area.
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Flower borders and beds, patios, containers, city and courtyard gardens, cottage and informal gardens.
How to care for fuchsias
Once established, fuchsias growing in the ground will probably need a thorough watering once a week, especially during prolonged dry periods.
In containers, water regularly, especially in summer, to keep the compost evenly moist but not waterlogged. Do not allow the plants to sit in water.
Feed hardy fuchsias each spring and again in summer with a general granular plant food.
A high potash liquid plant food applied regularly throughout summer will encourage more, better blooms over a long flowering period until the first autumn frosts.
To keep plants flowering profusely, deadhead them regularly to remove faded flowers and the developing seed pod/fruit behind them.
The stems of hardy fuchsias should be cut down to just above ground level in late spring, preferably just as new growth is seen.
Pinch out the tips of shoots of young bush and trailing fuchsias to produce bushier plants that will flower more profusely. The tips of resulting sideshoots can also be pinched out if necessary, but excessive pinching out will delay flowering.
Half-hardy bush and trailing fuchsias should be lifted from the ground in autumn, before temperatures drop below 5C (41F), and overwintered in a frost-free place.
First tidy them up by removing all dead, dying, damaged or diseased growth, and cut them back by around half if necessary to keep them compact. Then pot them up in pots just big enough to accommodate their roots and some extra potting compost around the outside. Then put them in a cool greenhouse, conservatory or similar well-lit place. They can also be overwintered in a frost-free shed or garage, providing they have become dormant and dropped all their leaves.
Standard fuchsia should always be overwintered frost-free, as the main stem is prone to cold damage, even if the variety is regarded as being hardy.
Hardy fuchsias can be kept in the garden overwinter, but may need some protection to ensure they come through unscathed, particularly in cold regions and severe winters.
Protect the roots and the crown by applying a thick mulch of bark, compost or even straw around the plants in autumn.Don’t cut down the stems until spring, when new growth begins.
Hardy fuchsias growing in containers may be prone to frost damage even in reasonably mild winters, so protect the container to prevent the compost and roots freezing solid.
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Partial shade, Full sun
Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy
Moist but well-drained
Up to 1.8m (6ft) depending on variety
Up to 1.5m (5ft) depending on variety
Fuchsia Winter Care – Tips For Wintering Fuchsias
Wintering fuchsias is something that many fuchsia owners ask about. Fuchsias flowers are lovely and almost magical, but while fuchsias are a perennial, they are not cold hardy. This means that if you want to keep a fuchsia plant from year to year, you must take steps to over winter your fuchsia. Below you will find information on how to winter fuchsia plants in your home.
How to Winter Fuchsia Plants
The goal of overwintering fuchsias is to keep them alive, not to keep them blooming. A fuchsia will not keep blooming through the winter. They need sunlight that is really only available outside in the summer. It is very difficult to imitate these conditions in your house.
The best thing you can do to over winter fuchsia is to put them into dormancy, which is kind of a rest for plants. The plant will look dead, but it will just be sleeping for the winter. If you do not put the plant into dormancy, it will most likely become infested with pests and have poor growth.
Start the process of wintering fuchsias by bringing them into your home. Carefully spray the fuchsia plant with water to knock off any pests that may be hiding in its leaves.
The next step in how to winter fuchsia plants is to find a cool, dark place in your home to store the fuchsia. The temperatures should range from 45-55 F. (4-7 C.). Basements and attached garages normally work well for this. Place the fuchsia in this place and cut back watering. The plant will lose its leaves and appear dead, but remember that it is not.
Continuing fuchsia winter care is basically watering the plant about once every three to four weeks. The soil should be moist but not soaked.
The last step to overwintering fuchsias is to bring it out of dormancy. About a month before your last frost date, take your fuchsia out of its storage location. Cut all the branches on the plant back by half. This will encourage new growth, which will in turn make more fuchsia flowers in the summer.
Place your fuchsia in a location with bright filtered light, away from direct sun, and resume normal watering. Once your last frost date has passed, you can move your fuchsia plant to a shady area outside and care for it as you normally would. It may also help to acclimate the plant first.
While wintering fuchsias means that you will not see beautiful fuchsia flowers all winter long, it does mean that you can enjoy your fuchsia year after year. Know that you know how to winter fuchsia plants, you can enjoy both beautiful plants and money savings with these few simple steps.