Martin Fish explains how to keep your fuchsias going
Give them some protection now to see them through to next year
Fuchsias are very popular and are perfect for growing in many situations in and around the garden. Hardy types are great for giving late summer colour to borders and need very little attention. The tender varieties, of which there are many wonderful types with flowers of all sizes and colours, are perfect in containers, hanging baskets or as specimen plants. This type needs protection over the winter to save them from frost and, as long as you’re able to keep them several degrees above freezing, they should get through winter without too many problems.
There are several ways that people overwinter fuchsias, depending on what facilities you have. In my frost-free greenhouse, maintained with a minimum temperature of around 5C (41F), I cut the plants down at this time of the year to remove all the top growth and any last flowers. This vastly reduces the size of the plant, which means you can pack lots of plants into a small space, and by removing the bulk of the foliage, it cuts down problems with botrytis and other fungal diseases that can be a problem under glass in late autumn. It’s a simple method. All you do is cut back the stems to a framework of older wood, using a sharp pair of secateurs.
If you want a few new plants for next year, you can also take some cuttings from tips of the pruned-off stems, but for them to root in October you’ll need a heated propagator and warm growing conditions afterwards.
Once the plants have been pruned down, they can be stood much closer together and the amount of water they’re given reduced. I keep the compost just moist to touch. Over the next month or two short stems will start to develop and come spring the plants will start to make strong, new growth.
Fuchsias will be healthier with a trim and can have cu ings taken from prunings
Cut the growth back now to reduce disease and size