‘Sophisticated’ is the perfect adjective to describe Fuchsias. Fuchsias have delicate suspended flowers that look like ballerinas in the most intricate costumes. They come in a huge selection of gorgeous ruffled blossoms. Fuchsias like to grow in sheltered shady areas, so a full north, northwest and northeast location is best. Fuchsias are fragile and will sustain damage by tearing or breaking in a windy area. Some people prefer to keep them in screened porches.
A fun thing about fuchsias is that hummingbirds are attracted to them. We hope you get a visit!
We will do a quick review of general hanging basket care using the acronym C-A-R-E and then look at Fuchsia hanging baskets specifically.
- This is about keeping a watchful eye on your hanging basket.
- Each day, do a general top to bottom overall check of your hanging basket – inspect leaf & flower health: any curling, wilting, spotted or yellowing leaves, and old or deformed flowers. Turn the leaves over to look underneath for bugs, they love hiding there.
- Fuchsias are delicate and require a caregiver that likes to pay attention to detail. Stay vigilant; be in tune for small changes in the leaves indicating they need water.
- Fuchsias have a tropical heritage, so remember that they hate to get cold. Bring them indoors in the evenings when the temperature is threatening to go down to +10C or lower. When they get chilled their leaves will droop, tricking people into thinking they need water when in actuality they’re just cold.
- If the wind picks up and it gets stormy, it may be best to bring it indoors because the wind will damage or even snap off its branches.
- Few pests are attracted to them. Because aphids are everywhere, keep an eye out for aphids. If that happens, an application of safer soap can really help keep them at bay. You may also make homemade aphid spray from recipes found on the internet. As a last resort you may need to use insecticides, such as Dr. Doom specifically for aphids.
- This is all about watering.
- A good way to check hanging baskets for adequate hydration is to feel how heavy they are, lift them a bit by pushing on the bottom of the pot as they are hanging to check the weight. As you get more familiar with how heavy a fully watered hanging basket is, you will be able to tell when it’s time to water. If you happened to put your Fuchsia basket in an upright container, you can dip your index finger deeply into the soil. If the soil is dry at about 1.5 inches, it’s time for a drink of water. When watering containers and hanging baskets, water thoroughly so that water drains out of the bottom of the pot- that’s how you know you have watered effectively. If you don’t let water flow out, salts from the fertilizer will accumulate causing the leaves and flowers to burn.
- Fuchsias are sensitive about their watering. They like to stay evenly moist at all times. If they get too dry, they will wilt but if they are too wet, they will look droopy too. Watch your Fuchsia to understand its rhythm and water it regularly and fairly often, like every 2 or 3 days depending on the weather. If it is very hot outdoors, they may need to be watered twice a day. When the weather is cooler, they need water less often.
- Try to keep an eye out for when they are just beginning to wilt and then water gently and thoroughly so that the water just begins to drip out of the bottom of the pot.
- This step is about fertilizing.
- Replenishing nutrients is important for containers and hanging baskets because there is a finite amount of nutrients held within the soil and when water drips out of the pots, some of those nutrients are lost. We recommend fertilizing weekly. Pick a regular day of the week, and make that your fertilizing day – make it an alarm on your phone. Our favorite fertilizer is called ‘Nature’s Best’. It is a natural fertilizer and we have found it to be easy to use, gentle on plants without burning and we think it makes flowers brighter. ‘Miracle Grow’ is another good choice and other balanced fertilizers like20-20-20 work well.
- Fuchsias need regular weekly fertilizing as described above. Best choices for fertilizer for fuchsias are ‘Nature’s Best’ and 20-20-20.
- This is a maintenance step.
- Plant growth is encouraged by taking off old flowers, known as deadheading, removing dead leaves, and pinching straggly, leggy plants back. Taking off old flowers is important because the ultimate purpose of flowers to produce seeds for reproduction. By taking off those dead flowers, the plant continues to flower. Old wilted and curled leaves actually take energy from the plant in an attempt to repair itself but if they are removed, the plant can continue to focus its efforts on flowering. Plants can also get long and straggly looking – it’s ok to literally give them a haircut with scissors – it will make them branch, become bushy and thrive.
- Fuchsias must be deadheaded to continue flowering. Be sure to take off the green seed pod at the top end of the flower when you take the drying flower off. If you don’t, the Fuchsia will continue to develop seeds in that pod and your Fuchsia will look like it is growing an impressive crop of green grapes.
- Keep a few of the stems at the top of the Fuchsia basket pinched back to maintain a rounded top on the hanging basket. If not, the top will flatten out – a phenomenon we call balding.
- Also, don’t be afraid to clip back any branches that look straggly or if the Fuchsia is looking lopsided – it won’t hurt the Fuchsia – pinching them back will stimulate compact fresh growth.