Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Fuchsia Basket

 Fuchsia hanging basket in mid summer glory
I am thinking about fuchsias at the moment because now is the time to prune them and re-pot ones in baskets and containers. Though fuchsias don't do well in sub tropical or tropical climates they are fine on the coast and in the city as long as they are protected from hot drying winds in summer. Avoid buying them at this time of year if they are loaded with flowers as they have probably been 'forced' in a glasshouse and may go into shock once placed in a decorative pot or garden bed and drop most of the flowers and leaves.
Basket grown fuchsias make great gifts and are fairly easy to DIY with a little effort. Always buy named varieties as it is much easier to check on whether it is a trailer suitable for baskets or one which prefers a garden site. Searching the web with a proper variety name makes it easier to source the correct information as to how big it is likely to grow.
 I re-pot existing ones by trimming down to a framework of branches and shaking off most of the soil round the roots and trimming them as well. I like the self watering hanging baskets rather than the coir ones which tend to dry out too quickly. The same rules apply for container grown fuchsias, while garden grown ones just need a tidy up and reduction in overall size. When the new leaves start to appear and the branches elongate, it is time to start tip pruning and pinching off the growing points to ensure the resulting plant will be compact and producing the maximum quantity of flowers. Liquid fertilizer helps to improve the quality and quantity of the blooms.
 My potted or basket fuchsias don't stay perfect all year long. By the end of summer they can look a bit tired and often have burnt leaves or even a bit of insect damage. I put them out of sight in a cool damp place and leave them till now to start the revival for their best months.
 Fuchsia ready for re-potting
Re-potted and waiting for warm days ahead

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