A fuchsia will naturally grow upwards (or sideways) on one stem and whatever you do with your fuchsias i.e. hanging baskets, tubs. borders, etc. they will need pinching out to produce a bushier plant which in return will produce lots more flowers than a plant left to it’s own devices.Fuchsias come in three types of flowers. Singles have a corolla made up of 4 petals. Semi doubles have 5 to 7 petals and doubles have 8 or more. A single flowered cultivar will generally throw more flowers than a semi double which in turn will throw more flowers than doubles. If buds are showing in the tips to be pinched out, then singles and semi doubles will flower roughly 6 weeks after the last stop and doubles 8 to 9 weeks. If there are no buds then you can add two weeks to these times. I say roughly as a lot depends on the weather and your own growing conditions.
Some cultivars will throw side shoots naturally but most need pinching out to force these side shoots into action. The growing tip is pinched out carefully. Even if you can’t see the side shoots in the leaf axils under the growing tip at this stage they will be there and should avoid being damaged. I avoid using knives for this job as it is all too easy to slip and do more damage than good. Please do not use fingernails, despite the term pinching. Below left are the tools I use. Below right is a young plant with the tip removed after 3 pairs of leaves. Removing the tip after 3 or 4 pairs of leaves is a general guide. It’s important to pinch out as soon as the growing tip is big enough to handle. Don’t wait until the plant has developed 5 pairs of leaves then cut it back to 4 pairs, that is wasted growth that could have been put to better use in producing side shoots.
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Below we have three examples of plant growth due to pinching out. On the left is one that has had one stop resulting in the side shoots developing to the point where they in turn are ready for a stop to encourage even more side shoots. In this case above 3 pairs of leaves but the choice is yours. You could keep stopping above a pair of leaves but will end up with a smaller tighter plant.The middle shows a plant after it’s third and final stop. It will now be left to flower. Be sure to do all the stopping at the same time and look for any hidden shoots, especially coming from the roots, its surprising how these will grow through if missed.On the right is a hanging pot with three plants of the same cultivar. After each plant has had it’s first stop then all three are treated as one plant. stopping as needed. You can see the side shoots developing, massively increasing the flower power.Pinching out delays flowering time and you could keep stopping all summer but end up with no flowers that season. This is a method used by some exhibitors to obtain a good sized plant in the second year..