Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should young fuchsias be pruned?
A: If the growth is only young and fleshy, tip pruning should be enough at this stage.
Q: Should fuchsias be sprayed with white oil after pruning?
A: It is a good idea to do this, as it kills any lingering pests, but use winter white oil and do it on a cloudy day.
Q: Should shoots coming from the base of a plant be encouraged?
A: Yes! As these are suitable for cuttings and often make good standard cuttings, especially from Checkerboard.
Q: Can standards be produced from grafting?
A: Yes! A cascading variety can be grafted on to a strong-stemmed variety, but for all the trouble it would take, it is hardly worth the effort. If the top broke off, you would not be able to let it grow on again, as you would only have the base plant.
Q: Why are my cuttings not striking?
A: One of the reasons could be the propagating mix you are using. The mix that you use to strike your cuttings should be of an open texture. A suitable mix is 50/50 mixture of normal potting mix and materials such as Styrofoam, coarse perlite or very coarse sand. It is useful to treat propagation mixes with a fungicide to reduce the levels of pathogens in them. The following methods can be used to sterilise the mix:
Method 1: Place moist mixture in a large clear plastic bag that is flattened out on a concrete or similar path in full sun. The mixture should be no thicker than 4cm and the open end of the bag should be folded under to prevent moisture escaping. Allow 2 to 5 days in full sun using this method.
Method 2: Place moist mixture in a four litre ice cream container (without the lid) and heat in a microwave on full heat for about 7 minutes. The hot mix is then placed in an cool box so that the temperature of the mix remains about 60°C for at least 30 minutes.
Q: To grow fuchsias for coloured foliage do you need to pinch out the same as for normal flowering fuchsias?
A: Yes, in fact it is more important, as the most colourful foliage appears on the new growth. As with all fuchsias, pinching out is used to shape plants as well as control timing of blooms.
Q: What do you do when the stems are hardened and leafless?
A: They are probably in a position that is too sunny, so you need to move the plant to a shadier place.
Q: What should be done with the leaves turn yellow?
A: For magnesium shortage, add 1Tbls Epsom Salts to 5 litres water and apply three time fortnightly. For nitrogen shortage, feed the plant twice with a high nitrogen mix.
Q: If a plant looks ‘tired’, what should it be given?
A: Apply a high nitrogen feed once or twice weekly.
Q: How do you treat a diseased fuchsia?
A: Prune it lightly and remove all leaves. Spray against red spider/fuchsia rust three times at weekly intervals. Mist daily. Feed sparingly until new growth starts. Then AND ONLY THEN resume normal feeding program.
Q: Do fuchsias in the garden need root pruning the same as those in pots?
A: No, as the roots are not restricted and can search for their own moisture and nutrients. Pot and basket fuchsias are root pruned to create new feeder roots.
Q: Why is it necessary to water your plants prior to fertilising? Does this apply when using both slow and foliar fertilisers?
A: Watering your plants ensures that liquid fertilisers do not burn feeding roots and the fertiliser is evenly distributed through the pot’s soil. It is not necessary to water prior to applying slow release fertiliser but it is a good idea to water once applied.
Q: Should we top prune heavily and root prune at the same time with two-year old plants, or will this be too stressful for the plants?
A: Many growers undertake top and root pruning at the same time, believing the plant undergoes only one shock this way, but there are others who think this should be done at a different time.
Q: Can you spray rust when there are buds and flowers, and does it hurt uninfected plants?
A: Spraying can cause staining and browning of buds and flowers, especially the whites and pinks. Preventative spraying is recommended and does not harm the plants, provided the correct dosages are used.
Q: How do spider mites get on to the plants and where do they come from?
A: Spider mites lay dormant in the soil and when conditions are right they climb up plants and become a pest. Red spider appears mainly in summer.