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Pruning fuchsias

CAN you please tell me when and how I should prune fuchsias? And what is the best way to take cuttings from them?


PRUNE fuchsias in late winter after the risk of frost has passed but before new spring growth really gets going. How you do it can vary depending on the variety and your growing conditions, but as a general rule cut any dead or broken shoots back to healthy wood and trim all other branches back by about a third.

The idea is to encourage strong new growth on which flowers will be produced later in the season, so at the same time give them a dressing of a balanced fertiliser, such as rose or citrus food, and mulch with compost, sheep pellets or such like.

Later in spring and early summer, it's often a good idea to pinch out or prune off the growing tips of strong new shoots to encourage branching. This will delay flowering a little, but you'll get more flowers in the long run and for a longer period.

Fuchsia cuttings root quite readily. Make cuttings in summer from healthy, strong, leafy shoots. Remove the soft tip growth and any flowers or flower buds, leaving the lower, firmer part of the stem as your cutting. Remove the lower two or three pairs of leaves and dip the bottom end of the cutting in a rooting hormone, although this is not essential.

You can plant the cuttings directly into the soil in a cool, shady part of the garden or into a pot of moist sand or potting mix which you can then enclose in a plastic bag to create a humidity tent for faster rooting. Place the bag in a warm spot but away from direct sun.

The cuttings should root within a few weeks, then you can plant them in the garden or into pots.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 177, 2005, Page 30

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005