Copyright 2011
Cultivar.    This   is   simply   an   abbreviation   of   the   words   'cultivated   variety'   and   is   now   used   universally. At   one   time   we   referred   to   them   as   varieties   but,   botanically   speaking,   a   VARIETY   is   a   variant   of   a species   which   has   constant   heritable   differences.   For   instance,   the   wild   species   Fuchsia   Magellanica has   a   good   number   of   these   variants   such   as   Fuchsia   Magellanica   variety   Alba   (   abbreviated   to   F. Magellanica var. Alba). F. Magellanica var. Gracilis and F. Magellanica var. Ricartonnii.
Fuchsia   Flowers.    These   can   be   single   having   four   petals,   semi   double   having   5,   6   or   7   petals   and double having 8 or more petals.
The   flower   grows   out   of   a   leaf   axil   on   the   stem   of   a   plant   on   a   stalk   known   as   the   PEDICEL.   At   the   end   of   the Pedicel   is   the   OVARY,   sometimes   referred   to   as   the   seed   pod   or   berry,   extending   from   this   is   the   TUBE   which eventually   divides   to   form   the   four   SEPALS.   Attached   to   and   growing   from   the   tube   are   the   PETALS   which collectively make up the COROLLA. Click here to learn about hybridizing.
Attached   to   and   growing   from   the   inside   of   the   Tube   are   8   FILAMENTS   terminating   in   the   ANTHERS   on   which pollen is produced and are collectively known as the STAMENS and are the male part of the flower.
Also   extending   out   of   the   Corolla   but   growing   from   the   Ovary   is   the   STYLE   which   terminates   in   the   STIGMA.   The Ovary, Style and Stigma are collectively known as the Pistil and are the female part of the flower.
Striking   Cuttings.    This   simply   means   putting   cuttings   into   some   form   of   growing   medium   and   keeping   them   in   conditions conducive to developing roots. When roots are formed we can say the cuttings have 'struck'.
Potting   Up .    This   is   an   expression   used   generally   when   putting   a   cutting   which   has   'struck'   into   it's   first   pot.   It   is also   used   when   a   plant   which   has   filled   it's   pot   with   roots   is   put   into   a   larger   size   pot,   although   most   growers   use the expression 'Potting On' for this operation.
Stopping   or   Pinching   Out.    This   simply   means   that   as   soon   as   the   cutting   has   reached   the   desired   height,   the   growing   tip   is   removed   by   either   pinching   it   out with   a   pair   of   fine   scissors   or   similar   tool   while   still   very   tiny.   Removing   whilst   small   means   there   is   no   wasted   growth   on   the   plant.   Of   course   there   are   times   when one may wish to wait until the tip is big enough to use as another cutting.
Break.    If   a   plant   is   stopped   after   three   sets   of   leaves   have   formed   then   one   can   expect   shoots,   if   not   already   there,   will   begin   to   grow   (or   break)   from   the   six   leaf axils. The axil being the point where the leaf grows from the main stem of the plant.
Potting   Down.    An   expression   used   when   plants,   normally   in   early   Spring,   are   removed   from   their   pots,   have   some   or   most   of   the   old   compost   removed and then, using new compost, and placed into pots of a smaller size. Standard   Pots.    These   are   pots   of   the   same   height   as   the   width   across   the   inside   of   the   top.   If   showing   plants   at   a   show   run   under   British   Fuchsia   Society rules then standard pots must be used
Watering. There is a level of skill required when growing fuchsias in pots and correct watering is part of that skill that comes more with experience than with anyone trying to teach you, but here are a few tips that may help you.
Most   growers   use   the   peat   based   composts   easily   found   in   garden   centres,   but   this   by   itself   is   not   entirely   suitable   as   it   becomes   compacted   after   a   period   of time and watering which deprives the roots of vital oxygen and if allowed to dry out too much becomes difficult to get wet again. A   common   'mix'   used   by   fuchsia   growers   is   6   parts   of   compost   -   1   part   of   perlite-   1   part   sharp   grit.   The   perlite   keeps   the   compost   'open'   allowing   air   circulation around the roots and also takes up water and releases it back into the compost. The grit also keeps the compost open, aids drainage and adds a bit of weight. Fuchsias   in   pots   should   never   be   kept   permanently   wet,   this   again   stops   air   circulating   round   the   roots   and   drowns   the   plant.   It   is   far   better   to   let   them   dry   out slightly before watering but not to the point where they are wilting. Water must be present to allow the plant to take up nutrients from the compost. A lot can be learnt from picking plants up and comparing the weight of one against another. If   a   plant   does   become   waterlogged   you   might   just   save   it   by   removing   it   from   the   pot   and   standing   it   on   a   folded   newspaper.   It's   surprising   just   how   long   a waterlogged plant can stay in this condition even in the middle of Summer. Try   to   avoid   watering   in   the   middle   of   the   day   in   Summer.   Especially   plants   in   pots   which   may   be   stood   in   full   sun.   Adding   water   to   the   already   warm   compost   can 'boil' the roots. Better to water first thing in the morning and again, if necessary, in the evening. If I were to lay out any rules then they would be as follows. RULE   1.   Never   surmise   that   because   the   first   plant   you   pick   up   is   dry,   that   all   the   rest   are   dry   and   proceed   to   give   them   all   a   blast   with   the   hose   pipe   from   the greenhouse door. Pick them all up. RULE 2. Never surmise that the plant at the back of all the others needs watering because it's wilting. It could well be waterlogged. Pick them all up. RULE 3. Never grow that many that you can't carry out rules 1 and 2.
Greenhouses .   Anyone   thinking   of   starting   a   collection   of   fuchsias   should   seriously   consider   purchasing   a   greenhouse.   This   will   give   you   far   better   control   whilst over wintering and propagating, How big a greenhouse do you need? The answer is as big as you can afford, you will soon fill it.
Aluminium or wooden? This is your choice. Aluminium will last a lot longer but somehow is not as pleasing to the eye and has its own problems when installing staging, shelving, etc. A wooden one overcomes this problem but will need constant maintenance.
Whatever your choice, most greenhouses never seem to come with enough opening vents. They may be adequate  during the Winter and early Spring months but, once the danger of frost has passed, controlling the temperature can be helped by removing the top panes of glass in each gable. Replace with netting to keep out birds and insects. Removing one or two panes from around the base will also greatly assist in air circulation.
The   door   can   be   left   open,   but   a   wooden   frame   covered   with   netting,   should   be   stood   in   the   opening,   again   to   keep   out   birds   and   insects   but   it   also   keeps   out   the neighbour's cats who seem to enjoy basking on a tray of cuttings. Fuchsias prefer a cool humid atmosphere and really should not be in the greenhouse at the height of Summer. If   you   intend   exhibiting   your   fuchsias   then,   if   room   permits,   construct   a   nethouse   for   use   in   the   summer.   This   is   similar   to   a   greenhouse   except   the   sides   are covered   with   fine   netting   and   a   flat   roof   is   constructed   with   clear   corrugated   plastic   sheets.   The   netting   keeps   out   insects   and   cuts   down   wind   whilst   the   roof   keeps the rain off the flowers.
Feeding.   Fuchsias definitely benefit from supplemental feeding, but which one do you use and when? Pick   up   any   plant   food   and   you   will   find   an   analysis   somewhere   on   the   packaging.   But   what   does   N.P.K.   stand   for?.   'N'   stands   for   Nitrogen   and promotes   stem   and   leaf   growth,   'P'   is   for   Phosphates   which   feeds   the   roots   and   'K'   is   the   chemical   symbol   for   Potash   which   helps   to   ripen   or harden the plant and enhances the colour of the flower. Underneath   the   letters   N.P.K.   you   will   find   a   set   of   three   numbers.   If   they   are   all   the   same   such   as   1-1-1   this   means   that   this   feed   has   the   same ratio   of   fertilisers   and   is   an   equal   strength   feed.   You   may   find   some   feeds   say   25-25-25,   this   does   not   mean   it   is   any   stronger,   it   is   just   the manufacturers way of saying it is an equal strength feed. A high Nitrogen feed may be 25-15-15 whilst a high Potash feed would say 15-15-25. Cuttings   or   plants   which   have   just   been   potted   up   into   new   compost   should   have   sufficient   feed   from   that   compost   to   last   them   four   or   five   weeks.   It is   after   this   time   that   they   will   need   some   sort   of   feed.   A   general   rule   of   thumb   is   to   use   a   high   Nitrogen   feed   early   in   the   season   and   change   to   an   equal   strength feed   mid   season.   A   high   potash   feed   will   enhance   the   colour   of   the   flower   and   ripens   or   hardens   the   stems.   Most   fuchsia   growers   tend   to   avoid   high   potash   feeds as it can harden the wood so much that, if plants are to be kept for a second year, it can be difficult to get them into growth again. A   quarter   strength   feed   can   be   given   at   every   watering.   A   little   often   is   better   than   a   lot   all   at   once   but   never   feed   a   plant   which   is   dry,   this   can   harm   the   feeding roots. Learn a lot more about compost and feeding here
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