Getting the best from your fuchsias – our growing secrets revealed

Fuchsia ‘Dollar Princess’ from T&M

Fuchsias need some attention to ensure they stay blooming all summer long
Image: Fuchsia ‘Dollar Princess’ from Thompson & Morgan

Fuchsias require very little care to put on a fantastic show, but for the best displays it pays to learn a few simple tricks and tips. Take a quick look at the T&M horticultural team’s trade secrets, and make sure your favourite fuchsia plants look their best all summer long.

Best growing conditions for fuchsias

Fuchsia ‘Delta’s Sarah’ (hardy) from T&M

The unusual blue flowers of ‘Delta’s Sarah’ increase each year given the right conditions
Image: Fuchsia ‘Delta’s Sarah’ (hardy) from Thompson & Morgan

For a fantastic fuchsia display this summer, here’s how to get the conditions right:

  • Plant in fertile, moist, but well-drained soil, with shelter from cold, drying winds. Ahead of planting, work plenty of rotted compost or manure into the area with some slow release fertiliser.
  • In patio containers and window boxes use a 50:50 mix of multipurpose compost and soil-based John Innes No.2 compost. Again, add some slow release fertiliser ahead of planting.
  • In hanging baskets, stick to multipurpose compost to keep the weight down, but add some Swell Gel to reduce watering needs in the height of summer.

Best places to plant different types of fuchsia

Fuchsia ‘Sparkling Giant’ Collection

Trailing fuchsias are perfect for hanging baskets and window boxes
Image: Fuchsia ‘Sparkling Giant’ Collection from Thompson & Morgan

Depending on the type of fuchsia you prefer, follow the ‘right plant in the right place’ rule to get the most from these elegant blooms:

  • Use hardy fuchsia varieties for permanent planting – use as specimen shrubs or seasonal floral hedging.
  • Use trailing fuchsia varieties in baskets and containers at height or as seasonal ground cover.
  • Use upright fuchsia varieties in patio containers and window boxes or as gap fillers in the border.

How to grow on fuchsia plug plants

Fuchsia ‘Elma’ (hardy) standard from T&M

Train a fuchsia into a standard or buy one that’s been started for you
Image: Fuchsia ‘Elma’ (hardy) standard from Thompson & Morgan

Young fuchsias are frost-tender and need to be grown on in warm, frost-free conditions before planting out at the end of May or early June. As soon as your plug plants arrive, pot them on into small pots or cell trays filled with multipurpose compost and wait until it’s warm enough to plant them out.

Early training:

  • Pinch out the soft stem tips once the plugs have put on three leaf sets – simply remove the tip and top pair of leaves with scissors, snips or fingers. This encourages bushier, compact plants and more flowers.
  • Pinch out 2 or 3 more times once each of the resulting side shoots has developed three pairs of leaves – the first flowers will start to bloom 5-8 weeks after the last pinching.

Later training:

  • The early training above will create a bush.
  • You could experiment and create a fan or espalier, similar to fruit tree training. This is best done with hardy varieties and done over several years to create a truly impressive flowering wall shrub.
  • It’s easy to train a standard fuchsia (long bare stem with a lollipop canopy), but it can take 18 months to achieve. For more in-depth instructions, see our full article on growing a fuchsia standard.

On-going maintenance:

  • Feeding: Fresh compost should supply enough nutrients for 4-6 weeks of growth. Start to offer a balanced liquid feed after this time, once or twice a month through the season. Alternatively, for fuss-free feeding with impressive results, mix our long lasting Incredibloom® plant food with your compost at planting time for 7 months of controlled feeding.
  • Watering: Keep compost and soil moist at all times. In the height of summer, baskets and small containers may need watering twice daily – do this early morning and late evening to avoid scorching the foliage.
  • Deadheading: Look for faded blooms every time you go past your plants – the more you remove, the more your plants will bloom.

Try a little tenderness!

Fuchsia aborescens from Thompson & Morgan

This tender fuchsia bears large panicles of scented pink flowers, followed by purple fruits
Image: Fuchsia aborescens from Thompson & Morgan

While there are some fantastic hardy fuchsias available it’s usually the tender varieties that provide the most impressive floral displays. You can overwinter container plants in a frost-free location for re-using the following year – but you might not need to! Tender varieties are getting tougher and tougher and you may find they’ll survive winter in your garden soil with little to no protection.

Experiment this year with one of your favourite plants – leave it in place at the end of the season, cutting it back by a third and mulching around the base. With luck you’ll be rewarded with re-growth next spring. If not, you can always reorder fresh plug plants in spring for guaranteed success next summer. If you’re looking for more help with growing and caring for your fuchsias, there are links to plenty of handy resources on our fuchsias hub page.

Author: Kris Collins


It takes two – Fuchsia planting partners

Fuchsia Colour Collection (hardy) from Thompson & Morgan

Discover your fuchsia’s perfect planting partners in our guide
Image: Fuchsia Colour Collection (hardy) from Thompson & Morgan

The world’s your oyster when it comes to choosing the best companion plants to complement your fuchsias. Seasonal tender fuchsias blend so well with other summer bedding plants that you’re almost spoilt for choice. The same applies to hardy types, which work well alongside a wide range of perennials in mixed borders. Here’s some tried and tested wisdom when it comes to finding the perfect partners for your fuchsias.


T&M’s top 10 trends for 2019

In an ever changing gardening world, everyone is looking for both short term and long term drivers which we use to shape the way that we British gardeners use our outdoor spaces.

We took a look at what we at T&M thought would be the top 10 trends for 2019:

1. Hot colours and cold hardiness

Our customers are increasingly looking to add the tropical or temperate touch to the garden. Perhaps as a result of tightening purse strings and less foreign holidays, we’re seeing more interest in both seasonal summer exotics and hardy plants with an exotic feel to them. Perhaps it’s just the hot weather this summer.
• Great examples of seasonal summer display plants that may need to be brought indoors during winter, or protected from frosts – thunbergia, mandevilla, cobaea, glory lily, palms, banana, jacobinia (Brazilian Fuchsia).
• Other plants that have an exoctic look or feel to them but actually hardy in our British climate – lewisia, Campsis ‘Indian Summer’, Fatsia japonica, bamboo, palms, alstroemeria, gerbera.
• Houseplants that always feel exotic year round – Bird of Paradise and Parrot Plant (Impatiens niamniamensis), citrus.


2. Extending summer

With cold starts to the past few seasons, our customers are looking to make the most of warm weather moving into autumn. Many of our recent summer introductions look to tackle this by having much longer flowering periods, to maximise garden enjoyment for our customers:
SunBelievable™; new rudbeckias; renewed focus on dahlias – all flowering into November or the first hard frosts of autumn.

3. Wabi sabi

Wabi sabi is the art of imperfect beauty; appreciating imperfections in life and the ability to age gracefully (shabby chic). In the garden, this translates as a delicate balance between nature and nurture – a natural feel in the garden yet with a design edge. Thompson & Morgan’s seed scatter boxes work well in this concept as whilst there is a “random” element to the seed distribution, there is also a uniformness in the fact that the varieties have been carefully chosen to suit the desire effect. Our Perennial collections have a similar, though slightly more formal feel to them, giving a wider range of heights, colours and textures in a flower bed.


4. Grow your own protein

The vegan movement has gained momentum on social media and in wider media in the past 12 months, becoming more widely recognised as a way of living in the mainstream society. This, alongside the issue of how we sustainably feed the world’s fast-rising population has led to a shift to high protein veg as an alternative to meat.

Good examples of veg that are high in protein are: Peas, spinach, kale, broccoli, sprouts, mushrooms and globe artichokes.



5. Purple reigns

The health properties of purple vegetables continue  to appeal, usually being higher in anti-oxidants and vitamins as well as having “plate appeal” in restaurants too.

Varieties to look out for include:

Pea Shiraz
Carrot Purple Sun
Cabbage Red Jewel
• Radish Diana
Potato Salad Blue
Brussels Sprout Red Bull
Tomato Indigo Cherry Drops
Sprouting Broccoli Summer Purple

6. Generation rent

With more and more people now choosing to live in rented accomodation, we’re seeing an uplift in houseplants and ‘take-away’ garden containers that can easily be transported to a new property, conatinerised plants are also much easier to rearrgange according to colour schemes, seasonal changes etc
• New this season we have introduced is a full range of house plants to help our customers that are looking into indoor gardening
• Alongside this we have increased the number of pre-planted pots and baskets we have available to our customers, alongside our garden ready plants, which are ideal for planting straight into pots and baskets too
• Shrubs and perennials ideal for containers have also been on the rise, again these can be grown in a large pot and transported easily to a new home without the risk ofloosing an established plant grown in the ground and uprooting it.– more compact forms of garden favourites are; Lavatera ‘Barnsley Baby’ and Buddleja ‘Buzz’™.

7. Climate gardening

David Wolfe, Department of Horticulture at Cornell University said:

“We are in the unfortunate situation of being the first generation of gardeners ever, who cannot rely on historical weather records to tell us what our climate is, or what to expect in the future.”


Our customers are increasingly realising that we need to work with what we’ve got and are asking for planting solutions for;

• Wind-swept gardens
• Longer periods of heat/drought
• Extended periods of wet/rain
• Extreme cold/frost


Summer bedding needs to withstand drought, but also be able to bounce back after summer down-pours – deeming it “weatherproof”
Spring bedding must be able to cope with increasingly poor winters.
Our hardy nursery stock has to cope with all these factors.
As such, all our new T&M plant introductions are tested for their suitability to variable UK conditions, with the above four factors in mind.


8. Under cover gardeners

Again, off the back of more unpredictable weather patterns, we at Thompson & Morgan are seeing increased use of greenhouses, cloches and cold frames in our customer gardens to help level out climate and environment. These help regulate temperatures for crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers an make pleasant environments to garden in too!

9. Stress relief

By 2030, anxiety will be the number one health issue, outranking obesity. A recent survey by Ypulse shows 81% of 18-34 years old are making mental health a priority, looking for new ways to balance physical and mental wellness via ‘digital detox’. Switching off the technology and getting outside.
Gardening and plants can play a big part in mental wellness. Being surrounded by air-purifying plants, creating a quiet tranquil space, eating a plant-based diet are all reflections of wellness trends that have become status symbols for people who make health a priority.



10. Living Social Network

The concept of companion planting (eg. growing marigolds with tomatoes to keep whitefly away) has moved on from plant pairing to viewing planting schemes as a living ‘social network’ rather than a collection of
individual plants. Creating symbiosis between plants puts the focus on garden design and management rather than time-consuming garden maintenance.
For example:
• Low-growing evergreen grasses being grown as a green mulch to reduce watering and weeding.
• Planting nitrogen fixing plants such as lupins to fix nitrogen and feed soil (and using green manures in general).
• Planting taller plants in gardens to create shade and shelter for smaller additions.
• Growing scented flowers to keep pests away and others to attract beneficial insects and also to help the environment by encouraging bees and butterflies.
• Further symbiotic link with the use of mycorrhizal fungi, with research now showing ‘communication’ and transfer of nutrients, plant to plant, carried by fungi.

Decorative dual cropping veg plant holds its own against latest flower introductions

Innovative Egg & Chips® plant makes the finals in two of gardening’s most prestigious floral awards

Thompson & Morgan is celebrating a second time in as many weeks, following the industry success of its latest dual cropping creation, Egg & Chips®.
The innovative potato and aubergine graft has been well received by all sectors of the industry and customers alike, with strong sales in its first season on the market. Already an announced finalist in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year, the Ipswich-based seed and plant specialist has just been informed that Egg & Chips® has also been shortlisted as one of the five finalists in the prestigious Fleuroselect Fleurostar awards.

Egg & Chips®

Egg & Chips®

Traditionally a bedding plant event, organisers where so impressed with the unique attributes of Egg & Chips® that it is being pitted against four new floral creations in this year’s ceremony; Argyranthemum ‘Grandaisy’, Dahlia x hybrida ‘Dahlegria Red Yellow Bicolor’, Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Capitán Colón’ and Begonia hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’.
Thompson & Morgan new product development manager, Michael Perry said; “We’re really pleased to see recognition being given to this very special creation. Previous finalists of these two prestigious awards, such as Petunia ‘Night Sky’ and Viburnum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’, have gone on to become top-sellers for the industry, so expect to see Egg & Chips® widely grown on allotments, patios and gardens across the UK. Our recent focus on dual cropping vegetable plants has opened up home growing to everyone. Both our Egg & Chips® and Tomtato® plants allow home grown crops to be produced in the smallest of spaces. As long as you have room for a large patio pot, you have the space to grow your own potatoes and aubergines or potatoes and tomatoes.”

Egg & Chips®

Egg & Chips®

Michael says these quirky plants could be the answer to encouraging the next generation of gardeners too.  He adds: “These plants really capture the imagination of children. Grow Egg & Chips® with your kids or grandkids this summer and see their amazement as they harvest large shiny aubergines from the top and a crop of large white potatoes from the pot below.”

Egg & Chips®

Egg & Chips®

The FleuroStar Contest will be held at nine locations in The Netherlands and Germany as part of the annual Flower Trials open days. More than 30 professionals working in plant breeding, production and retail, as well as trade journalists and marketing specialists, will choose the ‘Winner with the Wow Factor’ based on the highest average score on commercial potential and point of sale attractiveness. The winner will be announced on 16th June at the Green Inspiration Event at RAI Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Egg and Chips® can be grown outside in a sunny sheltered spot and will crop right through to the first frosts of autumn – even longer if you can bring the pot indoors later in the season. So there is still time to grow Egg & Chips® this season. Visit and search ‘Egg & Chips®’ to order yours.

Golden Wonder!

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold two years in a row for amateur potato growers

A Great Pavilion exhibit without a single decorative bloom on show has again charmed judges into awarding a Chelsea Gold Medal to Scots potato aficionados Morrice and Ann Innes.

The exhibit, sponsored by Thompson & Morgan, acts as a simple showcase, highlighting more than 140 varieties, and traces the origins of the potato while drawing attention to its diversity and versatility in the garden and kitchen. Morrice of Old Town, Aberdeen, claims to have the largest private collection of potato varieties, built up over 20 years, and has long championed his favourite vegetable.

In 2015 Morrice and Ann took the first ever Gold Medal for a potato-only display in the show’s 150 year history. Having followed judges recommendations for 2016 by giving the tubers more breathing space on a bigger stand, they have done it again.


Many of the potatoes on display this year come from Morrice’s unofficial national collection of over 300 varieties, and include original South American species as well as historical European heritage varieties such as Karaparea, which was taken to New Zealand by Captain James Cook in the 1770s. The exhibit is completed with some 50 modern varieties grown from Thompson & Morgan seed potatoes including blight resistant main crop Sarpo Axona and high-yielding salad potato Jazzy, currently the mail order supplier’s best seller.

The modest, yet impactful display also includes several plants of wild potato species which were the starting point of many of today’s cultivated varieties. Seeds of these species varieties were supplied by The James Hutton Institute and grown in containers by Thompson & Morgan’s horticultural team in Ipswich. Visitors to the show have commented on the surprisingly pretty flowers of these wild forms.


Morrice said: “We’ve tried to tell the tale of the potato by highlighting a vast array of skin colours, shapes and sizes, while suggesting the best uses of each variety and the places where they come from. You won’t find many of the varieties for sale at the supermarket. Hopefully we’ll help inspire more people to grow potatoes and to try some of the more unusual forms while they are at it.”

Thompson & Morgan has worked with Morrice and Ann in the past, scooping silver and bronze medals at previous RHS shows, and is delighted to see a second Gold Medal awarded to the nation’s favourite vegetable. Thompson & Morgan Vegetable Product Manager, Colin Randel, worked with Morrice to set a world record for the largest display of potato varieties at the 2004 Shrewsbury Flower Show. He said: “Amongst all the glitz, glamour and colour of the world’s most prestigious flower show, it’s great to see a homage to the humble potato stand out from the crowd to scoop another Gold Medal. Morrice and Ann have put on a fantastic display again this year. There’s pretty much every potato colour under the sun on show, from very old varieties right up to our latest hot potato, Jazzy.”

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