You are now ready to cross pollinate. Either with a brush or by hand, coat the Stigma of the Seed Parent with pollen from the Pollen Parent. If you are doing it by hand it may be easier to detach the Pollen Parent flower, remove the Stigma and bunch the Anthers together and coat the Stigma of the Seed Parent. If you are using a brush it should be thoroughly cleaned if doing several different pollinations. At this stage you could cover the Seed Parent flower with a small paper bag but thoughts are that, like humans, once fertilisation takes place the doors are closed to any further fertilisation. You should identify the Seed Parent flower by coloured wire or wool loosely  fastened around the Pedicel behind the seed head. Records should be kept as to the parentage, in this case it would be - Seed Parent ‘Wilf Langton’ X Pollen Parent ‘Millenium’. If you are doing several crosses on one Seed Parent plant but using different Pollen Parents you could further identify each Seed Parent flower with different colour wire or wool and add each colour to your records. If your new plants eventually end up on the show benches growers do like to know the parentage. Now you have to wait until the seed pod ripens. This can take around 6 - 8 weeks, sometimes longer, and will swell and generally turn a dark purple colour like the one below, some may stay a greenish colour. Either way it should feel quite soft
Copyright 2011 www.fuchsiaflower.co.uk
Whilst   taking   cuttings   of   fuchsias   can   give   enormous   pleasure   a   step   further   is   to   actually   raise   them   from   seed   yourself. This   way   you   have   the   chance   of   introducing   a   totally   new   and   unique   cultivar   and   the   option   of   naming   it   yourself. Remember   though   that   taking   seed   pods   at   random   from   around   the   garden   will   not   lead   to   plants   with   the   same characteristics   of   it’s   seed   parent,   this   can   only   be   done   by   taking   cuttings,   but   it   can   still   be   good   fun.   Hybridizers   having been   trying   for   years   to   produce   a   yellow   fuchsia   using   the   one   in   the   picture   above,   which   is   Fuchsia   Procumbens,   a specie and the only yellow fuchsia, but they still remain unsuccessful.
Hybridizers    will    look    for    characteristics    such    as    colour    and    shape    of    blooms,    whether    they    are floriferous,   more   disease   resistant,   the   growth   habit   (trailing,   upright,   etc.)   and   colour   of   the   foliage. The majority tend to go for cultivars which will do well on the show benches. First   of   all   let’s   familiarise   ourselves   with   the   parts   of   a   fuchsia   flower   that   you   will   need   to   know connected with hybridising. The   flower   on   the   left   shows   the   Style   and   Stigma.   The   Stigma   is   the   female   receptive   organ   and   leads up to the Ovary or Seed Pod. During hybridizing this flower is refered to as the Seed Parent. The   one   on   the   right   shows   the   Filaments   and   Anthers.   These   are   the   Male   sex   organs   and   during hybridizing this flower is known as the Pollen Parent That’s   as   much   as   you   need   to   know.   Some   websites   on   this   topic   wander   off   into   genetics   and technical jargon. Here it’s kept plain and simple!  
Just what time of the year to start hybridizing is a matter of choice. Obviously it has to be during the flowering period but one theory is that the end of August or the  beginning of September is better because the plants will be slowing up for winter and will hang on to their seeds pods (which is what you want) better than the main summer months. Be aware that most cultivars will keep their seed pods after the flower drops anyway but some will drop flowers and seed pods together.
Having decided which 2 cultivars to cross pollinate you have to make sure that the Pollen Parent does have fresh pollen present at the same time as you prepare the Seed Parent. The flower above on the right has none at all on the Anthers whilst the one the left is just showing signs on a couple and will be ready in a day or so.  
To prepare the Seed Parent select a bud from the top of the plant which is just about to open. A bud from the bottom may already have been pollinated by flowers above it. Carefully open this bud without damaging the Stigma. Above right you can see the Stigma and Anthers still enclosed by the petals/corolla. Carefully cut away the Anthers with a small pair of scissors leaving the Stigma intact.  
POLLEN PARENT ‘Millenium’
SEED PARENT ‘Wilf Langton’
Another    sign    is    the    Pedicel    shrinking    and    becoming brittle    so    be    careful    the    pod    does    not    drop    off    and become lost. Once   it   is   ready,   place   the   ripe   pod   on   a   tissue   and   cut down   the   length   and   separate   the   two   halves.   With   the tip   of   a   knife   or   tweezers   remove   the   fleshy   part.   This   is where   you   find   out   if   your   efforts   have   been   worthwhile. There   could   either   be   no   seeds   at   all,   just   one   or   two,   or quite   a   few.   You   can   see   them   in   the   picture   on   the   right (much   enlarged   and   a   bit   blurry   I’m   afraid)   but   you   can   see   they   are   quite   tiny. With   a   pair   of   tweezers   or   a   pin   remove   any   fertile   seeds   (which   are   hard   and usually   dark   brown)   from   both   halves   and   any   stuck   to   the   fleshy   bit   to   a   clean tissue to soak up any moisture. You may find a magnifying glass useful as well. Leave   to   dry   for   24   hours   and   then   sow   them   into   seed   trays   or   pots   filled   with sieved   compost   which   has   been   moistened   beforehand.   The   seeds   should   be spaced   out   and   fractionally   below   the   surface.   Cover   with   a   plastic   lid   or   bag and   place   out   of   the   sunlight   but   somewhere   where   the   temperature   should   be around 18 Centigrade/64 Fahrenheit.  
Whilst waiting for germination and the compost surface looks as though it is drying out then dampen it with a fine mister. Some or none of the seeds may be fertile but, given the right conditions of moisture levels and warmth, your efforts should be rewarded with germination taking place in 4 to 8 weeks or so. Germination can be erratic and the seeds might not all germinate at the same time. Whilst the seedlings develop the best way of watering is to briefly dip the pot or tray in liquid feed. Once they have developed a pair of seed leaves they should be carefully pricked out and potted up individually into 2” pots. Only handle them by their seed leaves and don’t forget to label them with their parentage. If you are lucky enough to have 20 seedlings from one pod then you should introduce a numbering system of some sort for each seedling. This makes it easier to keep track if you eventually take cuttings later on. As the plant grows then pot them up accordingly adding canes for support. Hybridizers intent on releasing new cultivars, especially for the show benches, will evaluate their new seedlings for at least three years. Any showing weak or spindly growth in the early stages will be dispatched to the compost bin. The remaining are usually left unstopped and allowed to flower as soon as possible. If the flower is imperfect or the colour and shape is the same or similar to a cultivar already in circulation then, again, these are discarded. Any showing uneven growth (branches growing much longer on one side than the the other) will also be discarded. The colour and form of the foliage is also taken into consideration as well as their resistance to pests and diseases. Any left showing signs of making it have cuttings taken from them to see if these carry the same characteristics. After all this, any seedlings left they think are suitable are generally given to a specialist fuchsia nursery for them to grow on and evaluate. Out of 300 seedlings a hybridizer raises, only several, if they are lucky, will make it to the public or the show benches. So you see it is all very hit and miss and results can be unexpected. The seed and pollen parents own parentage may reappear. Of course if you are hybridizing just for the fun of it then you do not have to be as critical as the serious hybridizer but you should really leave them unstopped and allow them to flower as soon as possible. Keep the best and discard the weak. Its hard to say just how many different cultivars have been introduced over the years but its estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 with about 7,000 still in circulation. If you are successful you can quite rightly claim these as your very own fuchsias and there may be no others like them.
Roll Over with mouse to see enlarged fertile seeds
Next (Pests & Diseases) Next (Pests & Diseases)
Hybridizing Fuchsias