Taking and growing on fuchsia cuttings.
If you have a named variety, please remember to write the name on a label with the cuttings. I always write the name on one side of the label and write D or S to say whether it is a single or double variety . I also put “Upright” or “Trailing” (“Up” or “Tr” for short) and I always write the date I took the cutting on the other side of the label. This is useful information to have with your plants.
They also need a warm, light place to stand and form roots (not in bright sunlight).
It helps to plant them in the small, cheap containers which can be bought with a clear, plastic dome or even in small pots which can be inserted into a clear plastic bag with a little stake to keep the plastic from resting on the soil. A cheap propagator can be made by cutting a large plastic bottle in half. Remove the cap and place over this over a cutting – or cuttings in a small pot. Don’t place in direct sunlight.
Water sparingly, only when necessary, until growth starts when light intensity begins to increase.
As the plants begin to grow, covering can be removed by degrees and, when the plants are growing strongly, they can be potted on into larger pots. To check if they are ready for repotting, place your hand carefully but firmly on the surface of the compost, turn upside down carefully. If the roots cover the outside of the compost, it is ready for repotting. If the compost is loose and not many roots are visible, wait another week or two and check again.
Pinch out the growing tip when the plant has produced three pairs of leaves to make your plant nice and bushy. This can be repeated again when the side shoots have each produced three sets of leaves. The danger of continually pinching out a fuchsia is that you could end up with a beautiful, bushy and well-shaped plant, but no flowers. Single flowered fuchsias take 6 – 8 weeks to start to flower after the last pinching out. Double flowered can take 10 – 12 weeks, while triphylla types can take 16 weeks. This helps when you would like your plants to flower for a special occasion such a wedding, party or to bring to a Flower Show.
See the progress of bought-in cuttings in the pictures below. The progress of your own spring cuttings will be much the same, depending on when you took your cuttings.
It is very easy to buy new plants in the spring, but it is very satisfying to show a display of plants, whether small or large, and be able to say that you have grown them yourself from cuttings.
Bought-in plug plants
If you decide to buy young plants in the spring, it is a good idea to begin to look at online catalogues from the nurseries around Christmas time. I like to order mine in January, before the new varieties and the more popular varieties are sold out. I usually buy from nurseries in The Netherlands, Germany or France. Since Brexit, plants can no longer be brought into the E.U. from the U.K. These catalogues have their fuchsias in alphabetical order, with good descriptions of the plants, whether they have single or double flowers; an upright or trailing habit; whether green or variegated leaves; the colours of the flowers. Fuchsia flowers have four main parts – the tube joins the stem to the sepals, the sepals are the outside petals, and the corolla is the cluster of centre petals. Single varieties have a corolla with a maximum of 4 petals, those with more than 5 – 7 petals are classified as semi-double and those with 8+ petals are double. The anthers hang down from the centre of the corolla and carry the pollen.
This is how they look on delivery. See the healthy root system, nice white roots but not pot bound. It is a good idea to allow them to rest in a cool, bright place for a day or two and then pot them on into small pots or in trays with separate compartments. Never put plants into larger pots than necessary. Place them in a bright, frost-free place, not in full sun, until the roots fill the pot. This can take 4 – 6 weeks.
Fuchsia plants can be bought in Garden Centres and in other shops from mid to late spring and can be planted in containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. These can be gradually hardened off outside during the day, but moved to shelter at night for a few days. They can be moved outside permanently after all risk of frost is gone.