Fuchsia : Greenhouse Plants
C – cool, minimum of 7°C (45°F) / W – warm, minimum of 13°C (55°F)
Thewe grow today were originally derived from several species and are the result of much hybridisation. They make super display plants for the greenhouse and varieties can be chosen that are suitable for growing as bushy plants, trailers for baskets or very upright growing types which can be trained as standards or pyramids. Culture is extremely easy; to get really big plants should be taken from stock plants towards the end of summer. These root very quickly if kept moist and humid. If it is impossible to find non-flowering material, remove as many flowers and buds as possible from the cutting which should be 8 cm (3 in) long. Grow these on in warm conditions throughout the winter so that they reach their final pots by spring. Large display plants in 18- or 23-cm (7- or 9-in) pots can be achieved in this way. Even reasonably large standards can be grown in one year. However, if only cool or even frost free conditions are available it is best to keep the stock plants almost dry and cool throughout winter and take the cuttings in spring; this is an adequate method for most moderately sized greenhouses. Large specimens are still possible but this is achieved by pruning last year’s overwintered plants hard back in spring and either potting them on or top dressing them.
Allplants need the tips of shoots pinched back to encourage a branched compact plant. With those grown as bushes this should start at the recently potted cutting stage about 8-10 cm (3-4 in) high. Successive growths’ tips should also be removed when they have reached a similar length. Standard plants, on the other hand, should be encouraged to develop a strong straight stem. Give these plants small canes as soon as they are potted to remind you of their future; remove all side shoots that develop, tie the plant into the cane and replace small canes with larger ones as the plant grows and is potted. Think how high you want the bottom of the head to be and allow the plant to keep its side shoots when this height is reached. These side shoots should be pinched back to get a branched head. When the head is large enough the main stem can be stopped. At the end of the season the growth of the head of the standard should be reduced by half. Further pruning to within one or two buds of the older wood is done in spring as growth is started. An important point to remember is not to get too enthusiastic about pinching out the tips. This should stop a good six weeks before you want the plants to flower to allow the buds to develop at the ends of the shoots. Trailing varieties should be potted five or six to a hanging basket from 8-cm (3-in) pots. Continue the pinching out treatment for these as well. I favour a loam-based for all Fuchsias as they need a lot of water during summer and top heavy plants are much more stable. They also need a lot of feeding in summer if they are to do well. Vigilance against red spider mite and whitefly is necessary.
It is interesting to include some species in the collection. Fuchsia procumbens from New Zealand is a small trailing plant which can be grown in a basket. It has small rounded leaves and curious little orange, purple-blue and green flowers. These are followed by quite large attractive glaucous pink berries. F.fulgens from Mexico is a large growing strong species best grown as a bush. Drooping orange-red flowers are produced a little later than most of the hybrids. This is one of the parents of many of the hybrids.