Fuchsias will put on a good show with minimal care throughout the season, but for the best displays it pays to learn a few simple tricks and tips.
For a fantastic fuchsia display this summer follow our secrets for success:
- Plant in fertile, moist but well-drained soil, with shelter from cold, drying winds. Work plenty of rotted compost or manure and slow release fertiliser into the area ahead of planting.
- In patio containers and window boxes use a 50:50 mix of multipurpose compost and soil-based John Innes No.2 compost, mixing in 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.
- 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.
Growing on Thompson &Morgan fuchsia plug plants:
-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, once threat of frost has passed.
-Pot on plug plants soon after delivery into small pots or cell trays filled with multipurpose compost.
-Pinch out the soft stem tips once plugs have put on three leaf sets – simply remove the tip and top pair of leaves with scissors snips or fingers. This will encourage bushier, compact plants and more flowers. Pinch out 2 or 3 more times once each resulting side shoot has developed three pairs of leaves – the first flowers will start to bloom 5-8 weeks after the last pinching.
- 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. We’ll be posting more in-depth instructions for this method – watch this space.
- Boost the flower power and habit of your fuchsia plants by pinching out the soft stem tips.
- 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 composts and soils 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 foliage.
- Deadheading: Look for faded blooms every time you go past you plants – the more you remove the more your plants will bloom.
Fuchsias are edible too!
All fuchsias produce edible berries but some taste better than others! We’d love you to taste test the berries of every variety you grow this year. Let us know your favourites varieties and how you used them in the kitchen.
Try a little tenderness!
While there are some fantastic hardy fuchsias available it is usually the tender varieties that put on 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! We’re finding that tender varieties are getting tougher and tougher and you may find they will overwinter in your garden soil with little to no protection. Experiment this year with your favourite plants – leave them in place at the end of the season, cutting them back by a third and mulching around the base. With luck you’ll be rewarded with re-growth the following spring. If not, you can always reorder fresh plug plants in spring for guaranteed success next summer.