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Cultural Notes – Fuchsias

Fuchsias – magnificent, unique, very versatile and easy to grow. Just a little care will give you great results. They are excellent in the garden, pots or hanging baskets. And will give you years of bright vibrant colours in your garden or patio.Fuchsias can be grown in all parts of the eastern and southern parts of Australia and areas of Qld, SA & WA.

HISTORY: These lovely shrubs originate from the rainforests of South America and have been cultivated into over 5000 varieties.

VARIETIES: In terms of colour, fuchsias flower in an infinite number of combinations, sizes and forms Which flower for most of the year. Some are single with just one circle of petals in the corolla, others are doubles withmany sets of ruffled petals. There are hundreds of named varieties available including many variagated forms.

SELECTION: Consider whether you need a tall or trailing variety and whether or not to combine them with other plants. Choose upright varieties for low or general garden beds and pots, perhaps a standard to mix in with otherplants and trailing varieties for that raised embankment or hanging basket. Try to let the hanging blooms be seen to their best advantage. Some of the beautiful variegated types such as Crimson Bedder can make excellent ground covers. Fuchsias can be grown to any shape with staking as well.

OTHER USES: Fuchsias are such versatile plants and the foliage is also appealing. Grow them in hanging baskets, pots or window boxes. Grow them in the garden as standards,bushes And hedges – or espalier them against a wall or fence.

Hanging baskets are an extremely popular style for courtyards, patios, balconies and unit gardens where space is at a premium. Baskets also have the additional advantage of allowing plants to be moved from site to site according to the seasons and prevailing weather conditions. Firstly, consult the Brenlissa fuchsias catalogue to ascertain the varieties best suited to basket culture and which are hardy in your area. Use a premium quality potting mix to backfill about half way up the container and then set your plant firmly on this. Settle the plant in gently teasing the roots and then pack to within 3-4cm from the top with mix. Water thoroughly, add some osmocote, attach a name tag, secure the hanging chains and hang your basket on a bright frost-free balcony preferably with an easterly aspect and filtered sun.

If you do not use a potting mix already containing water storage granules it is a good idea to add these to the mixture around the root area of your fuchsia.

Taller growing varieties are ideal for training as standards. You need to choose a plant with a strong main stem and one which is known to make vigorous growth. You need to prune all the side shoots away and tie the stem toa stake which is as high as you are aiming for your plant to grow. When your plant has reached the desired height, pinch out the top and thus force the side shoots to develop immediately below the top of the stem. The emerging side shoots should be regularly pinched back to create a bushy crown of foliage. Once this crown has formed a good umbrella network of the required size, no more pinching need be done and you can allow the plant toflower freely. The result can in many ways be even more outstanding if you choose a trailing variety and train it in this fashion so you will end up with an umbrella shaped plant dripping with gorgeous blooms.

Pot culture is probably the most common way of displaying your fuchsias. In much the same way as a hanging basket they can be transported to and fro as you wish. As long as attention is paid to watering and feeding on a regular basis the potted fuchsia will provide wonderful value. Potted fuchsias should be re-potted and root pruned at least bi-annually for best results from your plant. There is always a spot for a pretty fuchsia in any garden.

Please check with us for your advise on your local area.

CULTIVATION: All Hydrangeas like deep, fertile, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade, they will require plenty of water in warm, dry weather.
PLANTING: After purchasing your plant, don’t let the roots dry out and be sure to give it a good soaking the day before you intend to plant. This will ensure that the soil does not fall away from the roots at planting time.Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the size of the container in a well drained position. Use a premium quality potting mix with blood and bone and plant carefully into the hole. When you are planting a Fuchsia do notplant any deeper than the soil level of the previous container. If planted too deep the stem can rot and it will die. Tease roots gently below and around the plant then press into the new soil (excluding all air pockets) water in well and keep moist, so that it can establish itself in its new position. Particular attention should be given to watering during the first few months and through summer while the plant is becoming established.

WHEN TO PLANT: Please email or phone us for advise on your local area.

WHERE TO PLANT: Ideally fuchsias grow best in an easterly aspect,where they would receive a few hours of direct morning sun. Alternatively semi-shade, in good filtered sun is adequate. They dislike hot, scorching or dry positions, however, be sure not to plant them in excessive shade where they may grow lanky and flower poorly.

POSITION: Best if sheltered, filtered afternoon light & direct morning sun is great(avoid hot winds)

Height: 1 metre* Width: 1 metres**Depends on variety and growing conditions.

PLANTING TIPS FOR LESS WATERING: Fuchsias in the past have been recognized as being high water users (Due to the popularity of fuchsia baskets), but in fact if planted correctly and you follow some of the tips below you will find that they will use a lot less water than you think they need:

  1. There are now lots of water saving granules and wetting agents on the market, use these when planting.
  2. Ensure your fuchsia is well planted with potting mix level planted just below top of planting soil. Build up a small mound around the drip line of the plant so that it holds a reservoir of water when watered.
  3. During summer water deeply and less often to encourage deeper roots and less evaporation.
  4. Prepare your soil well, Using lots of organic material and composts i.e. Blood & Bone, rotted manures. With this the soil is able to retain more moisture and fertilizer.
  5. Once planted ensure to mulch well and thick.
  6. Try not to plant your fuchsia in direct afternoon sun or in areas of wind.
  7. Regularly fertilize for plant health and resistance to heat stress.
  8. Fuchsias that are well spaced will ‘breathe’ better and not compete for moisture, remove all weeds etc from around.
  9. During summer products like ‘Envy’ can reduce transpiration by the plant and help against wilting; ‘Envy’ is a liquid polymer which is sprayed on, also very effective against frost damage in winter.(Available on our website)
  10. When planting out baskets use wetting agents and water saving granules, ensure basket is of good size to prevent it from drying out to quickly.
  11. Avoid using plastic baskets as these absorb heat from the sun and kill fuchsias quickly in summer. Use fibre lined baskets instead, these ‘breathe’ better & drain away excess watering.
  12. When planting your basket use a piece of plastic with a hole in the centre for drainage this will help retain some moisture.
  13. Regular pruning of spent flowers & seed pods will invigorate the plant and reduce energy into producing seed.
WATERING: In summer, plants must be kept moist at all times, particularly baskets. Established fuchsias in the garden won’t need as much care. Watch containerised fuchsias carefully, they may need daily or twice daily watering in summer. You may let plants dry a little in their dormancy during mid-winter – but do not allow your fuchsias to grow in conditions that become dry or are exposed to strong winds. If plants wilt in the heat you may find that spraying the foliage with water or Envy will help them lift. Adding water saving granules to the mix will reduce water consumption.
MULCHING: Mulch is recommended to aid water retention. A layer of mulch should be spread over the soil when planting and in spring as an aid in keeping the roots cool during the hot weather. Keep this a few centimetres from the trunk to prevent any problems with collar rot.
FEEDING: As fuchsias grow and flower over most over the summer months it is best to provide fertiliser at this time. Osmocote slow release , or nutricote is best applied in early spring and again in summer (at pruning is also ideal), where the fuchsias are plant out in the ground. For better results liquid fertiliser and blood and bone can be applied at regular intervals too.
PRUNING: Fuchsias will only flower on new wood, and in order to achieve this situation it is essential to prune all plants quite hard each year. Late July to August, when the chance of frost is over, is the best time to prune. In the coastal districts of NSW/Qld pruning can be done as early as May. You should reduce the plant by at least two-thirds to get rid of all the previous season’s flower-producing wood as well as any old, ragged, dead or twiggy stems. As a general guide, cut back to approximately two nodes from the main structure. Prune back quite severely on all sides to produce stubby well-rounded plants, with a good network of branch structure facing out- wards in a circular profile. At least that’s the ideal for baskets and standards. Some bush plants grown against a wall or fence may need structural pruning in the most aesthetically desirable direction rather than a circular profile. During the growing period your plants make rapid lateral growth. To keep a neat compact form it is necessary to ‘pinch out’ or ‘tip control’ the laterals. By removing the growing tip on each lateral, these growths will develop extra branches and flowers! and shape the plant. You might curtail your early flowers, but on later you will be rewarded with a wonderful display with more flowers on a bushier shrub.Each time you pinch out you double the flowers per branch!
PESTS/DISEASES: There are invariably a few pests to watch out for. If your fuchsia is suffering from an attack by some insect, phone us at Brenlissa Fuchsias for advice on how to control or eradicate the pest. This is better than the trialand error, expensive method of buying and trying various insecticides which may or may not be suitable. Some pests known to fuchsias are: Red Spider mite, White Fly, Thrips and caterpillars.

Rust: A yellow/orange rust type fungus causes purple-red blotches on upper leaf surfaces. Prompt removal of the first-affected leaves may solve the problem. If spraying is necessary use Zineb/mancozeb according to the directions.Ensure good airflow around your plants.