More Info on Fuschias
Fuchsias - growing successfully
| Fuchsias come
from South and Central America and a few from New
Zealand. They were discovered by Father Charles Plumier
early in the 18th century and named after Leonard Fuchs,
a herbalist and holder of the chair of Medicine at
Tubingen University in the 16th Century.
Fuchsias are easy to grow, give colour most of the year;
very few diseases attack them and they have tremendous
variety of colour and form.
|They are outdoor
plants and should not be kept indoors for more than
three days. They need protection from hot direct mid-day
sun and strong hot or cold winds. They grow in various
shapes and forms and can be used in hanging baskets, in
pots, as shrubs and standards; as climbers or espaliers
on your patio or in your garden. They are ideal for
shady gardens, and under trees.
Air, light, water, food and growing medium.
- Air circulation is important as a stuffy
atmosphere can cause a heavy infestation of ghost
- Light is needed for them to flower well.
Certain varieties will tolerate far more light than
others and some like Fuchsias fulgens, Megalanika
and Golden Treasure can even take full sun.
Generally the smaller the blooms the more light
- Water is most critical when growing fuchsias.
They need to be kept moist and their water
requirements increase in hot weather and during
active growth. In winter and on cold days you should
restrict the amount of water as over-watering at
these times will cause defoliation. They dislike
"wet feet" and need good drainage at all times.
Roughly one should water daily in summer and weekly
or less in winter.
- Feeding of fuchsias is most important and the
response is an almost instantaeous spurt of growth
and flowers. In the garden give a mulch of
well-rotted kraal manure every three months and at
the same time a dressing of 3:2:1 slow-release
fertiliser. Give a weekly foliar feed spray during
the growing season to fuchsias in the garden and in
containers. 3:2:1 slow-release can also be applied
to fuchsias in containers. They also benefit from a
spring dressing of superphosphate mixed with
- Growing medium must be rich, loose and well
drained. If your soil is heavy add some coarse sand
to lighten it and improve drainage. In the garden
dig a hole 60cm x 60cm. Discard the sub-soil and mix
the topsoil with equal amount of good pot-ting soil,
adding 1/2 cup of superphosphate. You can also add
some well-rotted kraal manure. Plant the fuchsias at
the same height as it was in the container. Use a
good potting soil with a bit of added superphosphate
for planting fuchsias in containers and hanging
baskets. Water well after planting.
Fuchsias need tender loving care
- Keep fuchsias neat and tidy. Remove all seed
pods, faded blooms and yellow or damaged leaves,
which would rot and cause disease. Removing seed
pods will ensure that the plant keeps on flowering.
- In spring prune the plant back 2/3rds of the
previous year's growth, in the first year and to
within three nodes of the previous year's growth in
the second year. The object is to create a strong
framework and a good shape. Root pruning is also
beneficial for older fuchsias. This is done by
drawing a line round the drip line of the plant and
inserting a spade to sever the roots. Thereafter
prune the top.
- As soon as fuchsias start to shoot pinch out the
growing tips when shoots are approximately 10 to
15cm long. This will cause them to branch and these
branches in turn can also be pinched out. One can
pinch out four or five times from the start of the
growing season until approximately the middle of
October when one should have a good compact shape.
Then the shoots are left to grow out and flower, six
to eight weeks after the last pinching. After
flowering trim the tips to encourage another set of
- Fuchsias in containers and hanging baskets
should be re-potted every two to three years and the
roots trimmed at the same time, and the top pruned.
Do this in spring.
- White fly or ghost fly can be troublesome with
fuchsias. This is more prevalent in areas with poor
circulation. Spray with an insecticide such as
Garden Gun or Garden Ripcord making sure to spray
the underside of the leaves. Repeat the spray after
five days to catch any others that might have
hatched and follow up with another two sprays.
- Red spider mite also appears on the underside of
the leaves. A couple of good drenchings with a
strong jet of water will generally drown them,
otherwise use a spray such as Dursban,
Redspiderspray and Redspidercide or Garden Gun.
- Fuchsia rust looks like a sprinkling of Cayenne
pepper on the leaves and occurs in winter when
humidity is high. Keep plants on the dry side in
cold weather and spray with a fungicide (Bravo).
- Protect fuchsias in winter from severe cold and
wind. This can be done with a grass wigwam with the
north side left open for light and air. Move
fuchsias in containers into a protected spot away
from early morning sun and icy winds.
There are more than 5 000 varieties of fuchsias and
more are being developed all the time. Nurseries usually
have a good selection available from November onwards
and then you can choose your plants and see them in full
flower. They are such beautiful and versatile plants
that the choice is not difficult, and one rarely has
enough space for all the varieties one would like. In
Portugal fuchsias are known as the "Queen's Earrings"
and this is an excellent description.
Fuchsias should be pruned late in winter when all
danger of frost is past. In warmer parts of the country,
vigorous cultivars can be pruned more heavily.
| First remove dead
branches. They bore lots of flowers last season, but are
now useless to the plant. Take out dead, wispy growth.
When the centre of the plant has been cleared out,
remove badly crossing branches.
| Now cut just
above new, shooting buds. These shoots will quickly grow
out when the plant is fed and watered. Fuchsia's only
bear flowers on new, vigorous growth.
Some branches have no visible new growth, but there are
lots or dormant eyes.
| Sap always pushes
up to the topmost buds, so they'll grow out quickly to
produce lots of flowers. Buds lower down the stem are
backups..... if the top buds are damaged, the secondary
buds take over.
It's important to look after the basal shoots. The
pruning will encourage them to grow out, producing lots
of strong healthy wood.