I did a blog on Fuchsias in August but wanted to revisit them because there are several flowering now that weren’t then and because they really are contributing hugely to the late season flower display. Most of what was flowering then still is, to a greater or lesser degree.
Our garden club speaker this month was talking about preparing Fuchsias for overwintering. She grows them for showing and has done pretty well in local shows, so I was interested in what she had to say. She pruned the plant back pretty hard, removing most of what it had produced this year, then stripped any remaining leaves to help control rust. She then stripped all the compost from the roots, trimmed the roots and repotted into a pot perhaps a third smaller than the one it had been in. This was her defence against vine weevil, the reasoning being that the adults would by now have finished laying eggs so by removing the compost any eggs or young larvae would be removed with it. While she was demonstrating this, she found a few vine weevil eggs which she passed around the audience. They were granules of controlled release fertilizer.
I leave my potted fuchsias in their pots and today treated them with nematodes in order to control vine weevil. Generally I cut them back pretty hard and put them under the bench where they are kept fairly dry but not parched, until about February when they get brought out into more light as they start into growth. Most varieties perform satisfactorily on this regime but there are a few that are naturally late flowering and I will not cut them back so hard this year, in the hope that they will come into flower before October.
All the Fuchsias in the garden will be left unpruned until late winter and depending on how harsh the winter has been, will either be cut to a few inches from the ground or not pruned at all. Generally pruning hard results in a later but much better flower display than not pruning and is what we do to most bushes. Some of the hardiest varieties, microphylla for example, can flower all winter and if the winter is kind, will just keep going into a new season. I’m trying to grow ‘Delta’s Sarah’ and ‘Lady in Black’ up a wooden arch, so I want a mild winter with little or no damage inflicted upon them.
Hardiness is never an easy concept to nail down and we had several varieties survive in the ground through last winter with no ill effects. In mild areas, or mild winters, or with some protection, the range that can be left in the ground expands.
Here are some pictures of varieties flowering today that did not feature in the August blog.