If you purchase a fuchsia in the summer, wait for a cool change in the weather before you plant it in the garden or into a larger pot or basket.
- Don’t leave the plant in a small pot for too long, as it will become root bound and retard its growth.
- Fuchsias are not complete shade lovers – they like some sun, preferably in the morning. Afternoon sun will burn the leaves and flowers.
- Don’t place a pot or basket where it will be in the sun all day. When planting into the garden, choose a position where it will get protection from the hot afternoon sun and northerly winds.
- Good drainage is also important.
- Light mist sprays from your hose over the foliage will help for a few days after transplanting to prevent wilting until roots establish themselves in the new soil.
- Fuchsias are NOT indoor plants and should not be grown in a glassed-in porch or sun-room as they will die.
A basket you have bought from Wombat Gully will have been fertilised with slow release fertiliser. It should not require any more, until it has been pruned in the late winter or early spring, with the exception of 1 tablespoon of blood and bone after the first flush of flowers.
A hint on watering baskets – water every morning in the summer, twice when the temperature reaches the high 20ºC’s and three times in the 30ºC’s and 40ºC’s. Never go away on a hot and windy day and leave baskets hanging – always put them on the ground in the shade and water there before leaving. If the basket should dry out, dunk the whole basket in a trough or plastic garbage bin or water for about half-an-hour to soak, then hang up and allow to drain. All fuchsias growing in pots or baskets should be re-potted and fertilised immediately after pruning.
You will have nice healthy plants if you feed them. We suggest a slow release fertiliser and Blood and Bone. You may have a complete fertiliser that you prefer to use. If so, follow the directions on the packet. A mulch of well-rotted animal manure can help in the garden.
After the first flush of flowers, give your Fuchsia a light prune (removing about 1/3 of the foliage). This will promote new growth to give another flush of flowers. Give Fuchsias a hard prune in June or July (frost-free areas), August to early September (in frosty areas). Cut the plant back by at least half its foliage, keeping a good shape in mind for the framework of next year’s plant. For a plant in a basket, cut back in line with the edge of the basket and any growth going up may be shortened to 13cm (5″) or 15cm (6″) in height.
Pests and Fungus
Aphid and white fly can be controlled with any insecticide. Red spider will be controlled with a miticide; red spider being particularly bad in hot dry weather. Caterpillars are easily controlled by squeezing the rolled leaf between the thumb and finger. Fuchsia Rust shows up as a rusty ginger powder on the back of the leaf. This will be controlled with a good fungicide.
Select a plant with a straight stem, stake it and allow it to grow to the height of the stake. Tie the stem to the stake and break off side shoots as it grows, except the top four. When the plant reaches the top of the stake, pinch out the growing tip. Allow the top four or five shoots to grow about 8cm (3″) long, then pinch out their growing tips. Continue this procedure until you have formed a ‘head’ on top of your standard. Keep rubbing off any new shoots that appear on the stem. As the plant matures, ensure that the ties do not become so tight that they cut into the stem.
Give your plant plenty to feed on, plenty to drink, and be sure to prune it. This encourages new growth on which the flowers are borne.