Fuchsia ‘Swingtime’ from Thompson & Morgan

Compact bushy fuchsias look fantastic planted in patio containers
Image: Fuchsia ‘Swingtime’ from Thompson & Morgan

Longtime fuchsia enthusiast Carol Gubler explains here how to pinch out your fuchsia plants to control flowering time, grow bushier plants, and kickstart extravagant blooming. Carol draws from a lifetime of experience with these fabulous flowers to create excellent tips and advice you can trust. Don’t miss the video demonstration below too!

How to pinch out a young fuchsia plant

Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’ from Thompson & Morgan

Pinch out your fuchsias to produce more flower bearing stems
Image: Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’ from Thompson & Morgan

What we’re aiming for when we grow fuchsias is lots of flowers. If we just leave the plant to grow as it wants to, generally we’d get a straggly plant with fewer flowers. However, if we take control by pinching out our fuchsias, we’ll get the best flowering results!

So what is pinching out? If you want to grow a fuchsia that has a bushy growth, then you’re going to need to pinch or remove the growing tip at a fairly early stage. If you want to grow a fuchsia standard, avoid pinching out the top growth and follow a standard specific growers guide.

I let the rooted fuchsia cutting or plug plant grow to 3 pairs of leaves (about 2” tall) before removing the very tip of the plant. I remove the very smallest bit at the top, however if you want to use the bit that you take off to strike a cutting, then you may want to let the plant grow slightly taller so that you can safely take off a larger tip. Remove the tip growth with a sharp pair of scissors. Make sure that the cut is just above the next set of leaves, as a piece of stem left behind alone may rot.

How does pinching out fuchsias produce more flowers?

Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ from Thompson & Morgan

Control your fuchsia flower displays in summer by pinching out young plants
Image: Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ from Thompson & Morgan

Removing the growing tip stimulates the side shoots into growth, so that instead of having one main stem, the side shoots will take precedence. Let those side shoots grow until they have two or three pairs of leaves, then remove their growing tips. Repeat this process until you’re happy with your fuchsia form. Having pinched out several times you’ll have a nice bushy plant with lots of growth.

Remember that each time you remove a growing tip, you’re going to at least double the numbers of main shoots. Each plant will be different in its growth – for a slow growing plant or a very short jointed one, you may want to allow more time between pinches. A fast growing and rampant plant may need to be pinched out more often.

What other benefits come from pinching out my fuchsia plants?

Fuchsia ‘Royal Mosaic’ from Thompson & Morgan 

Control when your fuchsia flowers by pinching out the growing tips
Image: Fuchsia ‘Royal Mosaic’ from Thompson & Morgan

Pinching out does several things, firstly it creates a bushy plant, secondly it gives you control of the plant’s growth and finally, and perhaps most importantly, it gives you a degree of control of when the plant will flower!

Different flower types flower at different times. As a general rule:

The word “about” is vital, as we can never guarantee when the plant will flower but it does give us a rough guideline!

Top advice for pinching out plant tips – video guide

Watch the video to see how you can improve the flowering capacity of your fuchsia plants.

For more help with growing and caring for fuchsias, visit our fuchsias hub page for a wealth of practical information.

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