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Herb Herbert
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How to grow Fuchsias

Fuchsias are easy to grow shrubs and trees, native to the rainforests of South America.

They have beautiful pendulous single, double or semi double tubular flowers that hang down like dancing ballerinas. The contrasting colour combinations and flower forms seem endless. Fuchsias brighten up a shady corner in any garden.

At a Glance:

  • Height - 50cm to 2 metres
  • Position - Semi shade
  • Soil - Cool, moist and well drained
  • Flower - Early spring to autumn
  • Colours - Pink, white, red, crimson, purple

Selection

There are trailing varieties ideal as groundcovers or in hanging baskets. You can get varieties that are tall upright shrubs and trees, or miniature forms - both in leaves and flowers.

 

 

 

When and Where to Plant

Fuchsias are best planted in spring and summer. If planting in summer, keep well watered.

Fuchsias enjoy cool summer temperatures with plenty of moisture.

Plant in the semi shade in a sheltered position away from hot dry prevailing winds. Do not plant in full sun. Protect from frosts.

Fuchsias grow in any well drained average garden soil. Raise beds in clay soil to improve drainage or if planting under established trees.

 

How to Plant

Dig in plenty of compost or well rotted organic material before planting. CLICK HERE for more information on how to plant.

After Care...

Feeding

Fuchsias require regular feeding throughout summer to encourage continuous flowering. Use Tui General Garden Fertiliser or a soluble fertiliser such as Phostrogen or Yates Thrive Flower and Fruit.

Watering

Fuchsias are thirsty in summer and require regular watering. Overhead watering is best as this helps increase humidity, which they enjoy.

Mulching

Mulch in spring to keep the roots cool and moist throughout summer.

Pruning

If fuchsias are not regularly pruned they become leggy and woody with very few flowers. Prune in winter (May to July).  In cooler climates, prune in early spring when frosts have passed.

Pruning usually involves removing dead wood and spindly growth.

Regular pinching of the new tips encourages bushy growth and more flowers.

Remove spent flowers so berries do not form as this reduces flowering.

 

 

Pests and Diseases

Thrips are small black sucking insects that cause speckled silvery leaves. Spray with Mavrik or Confidor. Prune back affected foliage.

Mites are minute sucking insects found on the underside of leaves that cause distortion, speckling and silvering of leaves. Spray with Mavrik.

Aphids are small sucking insects on new growth. Hose them off or control with Confidor.

Leaf Roller Caterpillars chew holes in leaves and flowers and roll themselves up in the leaves with webbing. Squash the caterpillar with fingers, or spray with Mavrik.

Rust can be seen as orange or red raised spots on the underside of yellowing leaves. Spray with Yates Bravo or Shield.

Other Uses

Fuchsias are versatile. They are great in containers for the patio and deck or placed around the garden in pots to brighten a shady spot. Keep well watered in summer.

The trailing varieties can be grown in hanging baskets.

They make great hedges, are suitable to use for topiary, responding well to pruning and shaping into a standard, and can be espaliered along wires against a shady wall.

 

                First remove all perennial weeds, such as couch and dock, with a fork and then with a rotary hoe cultivate a seed bed about 20cm deep. Hollows and high places must be levelled out. Use a long board as well as much tramping with your heals - this will find all the soft spots that would sink and create hollows after the very first rain. A roller is not suitable at this stage for developing a level surface as it will simply roll the mounds and straddle the low bits.

                Most lawns are sown with fine leafed grass seed such as Fescue and Browntop and this is fine for a show lawn. But for a hard wearing lawn that will take the punishment of family cricket and playful dogs select a lawn mixture that contains some Rye in the mix. Clover is not recommended in a good lawn as it produces a large head of leaves that spread over a largish area in summer then shrinks back in winter, allowing weeds to take over before the clover re-grows.

                Because the seed is so small divide the whole lot into four parts and sow up and down the area then across as well as diagonally for an even coverage. Rake the seed in very lightly and roll. Moisten each morning to stop the birds from enjoying wonderful dust baths and you will find cats are not fond of digging damp soil either. Moisture is also vital for germination.  When the grass is 6cm to 8cm high it may be cut with a lawn mower set high.

                OLD LAWNS that are only slightly uneven and have good grass can be transformed into a really nice lawn. Spray out dandelions and daisies and 

            Autumn is the best time to sow a NEW LAWN and rejuvenate an old lawn. Lawns establish better from March to mid April when the autumn rains will soak well into the soil while it is still warm.

                First remove all perennial weeds, such as couch and dock, with a fork and then with a rotary hoe cultivate a seed bed about 20cm deep. Hollows and high places must be levelled out. Use a long board as well as much tramping with your heals - this will find all the soft spots that would sink and create hollows after the very first rain. A roller is not suitable at this stage for developing a level surface as it will simply roll the mounds and straddle the low bits.

                Most lawns are sown with fine leafed grass seed such as Fescue and Browntop and this is fine for a show lawn. But for a hard wearing lawn that will take the punishment of family cricket and playful dogs select a lawn mixture that contains some Rye in the mix. Clover is not recommended in a good lawn as it produces a large head of leaves that spread over a largish area in summer then shrinks back in winter, allowing weeds to take over before the clover re-grows.

                Because the seed is so small divide the whole lot into four parts and sow up and down the area then across as well as diagonally for an even coverage. Rake the seed in very lightly and roll. Moisten each morning to stop the birds from enjoying wonderful dust baths and you will find cats are not fond of digging damp soil either. Moisture is also vital for germination.  When the grass is 6cm to 8cm high it may be cut with a lawn mower set high.

                OLD LAWNS that are only slightly uneven and have good grass can be transformed into a really nice lawn. Spray out dandelions and daisies and rake or scarify up old thatched grasses that tend to choke out a lot of lawn grass which is often the cause of a thin patchy lawn. Fill in the low areas with soil and tramp, rake, level and sow lawn seed. Scatter some seed over scarified area and sprinkle a little top soil on top of the seed and keep it moist to help the germination.

            If GRASS GRUB has been a problem in the past, attack these pesky pests immediately. Many families of young grubs are silently underground eating the grass roots and it is not until the damage has already been done that we notice the destruction. If damage is already beginning to show sprinkle Soil Insect Killer over the lawn on a mild dewy night.

rake or scarify up old thatched grasses that tend to choke out a lot of lawn grass which is often the cause of a thin patchy lawn. Fill in the low areas with soil and tramp, rake, level and sow lawn seed. Scatter some seed over scarified area and sprinkle a little top soil on top of the seed and keep it moist to help the germination.

            If GRASS GRUB has been a problem in the past, attack these pesky pests immediately. Many families of young grubs are silently underground eating the grass roots and it is not until the damage has already been done that we notice the destruction. If damage is already beginning to show sprinkle Soil Insect Killer over the lawn on a mild dewy night.