Through the Contact Page I am often asked fuchsia related questions and some of the answers are not always covered on this web site (or anywhere else for that matter) so here we go with a Questions & Answers page. Keep your questions coming in and I will add them to help others on their way.
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Q. Can you buy fuchsia compost ?A. There is no compost specifically for fuchsias. I have seen compost with pictures of fuchsias on the front but that doesn’t mean a thing. Have a look at the Compost and Feeds page for more information on this subject.
Q. When can my fuchsias go outside ?A. It all depends on the weather. Last year (2012) here in the U.K. most of mine were outside or in the nethouse by March. This year (2013) they were still in the greenhouse at the end of April with some very cold winds which would have done them no good at all. So there is no straight answer I’m afraid, it’s when the weather begins to warm up,
Q. What are those black pods left behind after the flower falls off. Are they seed pods and can I do anything with them?A. These are seed pods. Some get left behind when the flower falls whilst others will drop off with the flower. and there are several things you can do with them. 1 - Make fuchsia jam. 2 - Make fuchsia wine. 3 - Sow them. I don’t recommend the first two, I’ve tasted them both!Go to the Hybridizing Fuchsias page for step by step instructions.
Q. Why has my fuchsia stopped flowering?/ Will my fuchsia flower twice?A. Two questions with the same answer. Most fuchsias will flower a second time after a brief spell whilst the second batch of new buds form. Some varieties seem to flower continually. In both cases it’s important that any dead flower heads are removed (including seed pods) to encourage more flowers. If not then the plant will set seed and consider it’s job done.
Q. Can I use fuchsias as cut flowers?A. I’m afraid not, they might last the day or so but that’s it. If you would like a simple table decoration for that evening dinner party then float some flower heads in a glass bowl with floating tea lights.
Q. Do the new fuchsia cultivars ‘Lady Boothby’ and ‘Lady In Black’ really climb?A. Definitely not, The only thing that makes these cultivars different is the unusually long lengths between leaf nodes. They do not climb, they would need tendrils like a sweet-pea to do so. They needs tying in to a trellis, canes etc. ‘Lady Boothby’ was introduced in 1939 so neither is it ‘new’.
Q. Can I move a hardy fuchsia in the garden?A. Yes, but wait until the Autumn when temperatures have dropped. Take as much as the root-ball as possible and relocate. If it is a large root-ball then you can cut in half with a spade if you wish. Keep it/them well watered the following year.
Q. What are the white powdery marks on the leaves of my fuchsias in pots?A. This is excess salts from feeding and will do no harm (apart from looking a bit unsightly). I feed at every watering with a quarter strength feed but at the fourth I use plain water to wash out any excess salts.
Q. Can I take hardwood cuttings from fuchsias?A. Yes. Cut these from 6 to 12 inches long, remove all the leaves and put them into pots leaving 2 to 3 inches above the compost. You don’t need the growing tip for this method (unless you are growing a standard) but they will take longer to root.
Q. Can I have a fuchsia named and what would it cost?A. Because of the length of time involved in producing new cultivars, hybridists usually have a name ready and waiting - family, grandchildren, etc. but I know of one gentleman who will possibly let you name one his seedlings in return for a donation to the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust. Use the Contact Tab and I will pass on his details.
Q. Why do buds keep dropping off my fuchsias?A. This is usually down to under or over watering. If they are being under watered the smallest buds will drop first even though the foliage looks fresh. Check the pots for drainage as fuchsia dislike sitting in water. If they are in full sun move them to a cooler part of the garden or is your problem connected to the one below?.
Q. Can I grow fuchsias in the house?A. Fuchsias do not make the best of house plants but It is possible if you start with a very young plant or young cutting sitting on any window ledge except one facing South. Stand the pot in a tray or saucer with grit which should be kept wet at all times but not that wet that the pot is stood in water. Give the plant a fine spray of water every morning, more on warm days and feed at least once a week.
Q. Why do the leaves on my fuchsia turn yellow and blotchy and then drop off?A. One of the hardest questions to answer but here goes. Older leaves will drop off in this way and is quite natural but if younger leaves do this then the plant is under stress. Again, over or under watering could be the problem. It could be an over abundance of salts from feeding, flush the compost through with clean water. Another reason could be a lack off Magnesium in which case try a tablespoon of Epson Salts in a gallon watering can and water into the compost. Every now and then I will give my plants a spray with a foliage feed (Seaweed Extract) but this is done before they come into bud to avoid marking. Also check for aphids on the underneath sides of leaves.
Q. I’ve overwintered my fuchsias but they are leggy, can I take cuttings from them?A. Not really, taking cuttings from leggy plants will result in weak spindly growth in the cutting itself. It would be better to cut the plant back to just above the first pair of leaves from the compost and move it into the light. This will lead to something like normal growth and then you can take cuttings if you wish.
Q. When do fuchsias flower and how long does a flower last?A. In the U.K. Fuchsias in pots can be in flower by mid June and carry on through to to the first frosts. You will see them on sale flowering earlier, but this is to entice you into buying. The flowering season for the show people is generally early July through to the middle of September. Don’t forget that pinching/stopping will reduce the flowering time. Hardy Fuchsias will be in full flower by around the end of July and in the case of 2011, mine were flowering at Christmas! The flower itself will last about 10 days.
Q. How long will a fuchsia live for?A. With the proper care and attention a fuchsia can live for many years. I know of some growers who have plants 25 years or more old and, because they have ‘grown up’ with their children, are now part of the family.
Q. When is the best time to buy fuchsia cuttings?A. Specialist Fuchsia Nurseries will be selling them by the middle of March but you will have still have to keep them protected from frosts. If you are buying them for baskets, bedding out etc. then leave it until the middle of May.
Q. Are double flowered fuchsia cuttings different than single flowered ones?A. No. Prepare and treat them both the same way. See the Cuttings page.
Q. How do you know when a fuchsia cutting has roots?A. Once a cutting has rooted it will take on a fresher, turgid look and perhaps show a little bit of new growth in the tip. If you are still unsure, gently give it a slight pull, if you can feel resistance then there are roots there.
Q. Should I feed fuchsia cuttings?A. Once a cutting has rooted and been potted up into its first pot, providing you are using fresh compost, ideally there should be enough nutrients to last 5 or 6 weeks. Saying that I know that some composts in retailers can be old stock brought out again from last year and any nutrients have gone. Also some composts have little or no nutrients at all to start with and it is for these reasons I start feeding straight away. I use a high Nitrogen feed at a quarter strength on cuttings and all plants at every watering during early Spring switching to a quarter strength balanced feed through the summer months. Avoid high Potash feed at all.times. Have a look at Compost and Feeds for more information.
Q. Can I wash rust off the leaves ?A. Not really, all you will be doing is spreading it around. Better to use Rose Clear 3 and isolate the plant.
Q. Why are some leaves turning a coppery or black colour ?A. Some varieties such as ‘Marinka’ seem prone to cold or cool winds and show their disapproval by doing this.
Q. How can I tell if my fuchsias are alive after winter ?A. Fuchsias in pots that have been overwintered correctly can be tested by scratching the stems. If they show green underneath they are fine. If it is brown then they could well be dead but don’t give up on them, in some cases whilst the stems may be dead they may just throw new shoots from the base or just below compost level.If the Winter has been severe then the stems on hardies in the garden will have been killed off but these can be cut back to a couple of inches above ground level in Spring and new shoots will appear from the base. Even in a mild winter they should be cut back, otherwise growth will come on the top of the old stems.