Fuchsias are one of the most popular plants for summer displays. Their blooms can be simple and elegant or showy and full, and come in a range of colours to complement any planting scheme. Even better, they keep flowering more or less continuously from summer to autumn and, as they don’t need full sun, they’re so useful for shady spots.
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Caption: Fuchsias make elegant plants for patio pots
Plant your fuchsia into Best Buy compost for containers in May or after all danger of frost has passed. Add some controlled-release fertiliser and keep the compost moist, but not waterlogged.
Although fuchsias will tolerate sun, they prefer partial shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS
To form a bushy plant, pinch out the growing tips of your young fuchsia plants after two or three pairs of leaves have fully formed. This will stimulate side-shoots to grow.
Once these side-shoots have developed two sets of leaves, pinch out the growing tips once again to encourage the plants to form a bushy shape. Continue pinching out until you have the shape you require or want the plant to form flower buds.
Pinching out delays flowering, so stop pinching out the growth by the end of May. The plant will start to flower six to eight weeks after this.
Feed with a liquid fertiliser from the end of summer, or earlier if the leaves on your fuchsia become pale.
Caption: Liquid feed fuchsias in late summer to keep their display going
PESTS AND DISEASES
Fuchsias often suffer from rust, which causes unsightly orange spots to appear on the leaves. If it’s a mild infection, remove the diseased leaves. You can spray with a fungicide suitable for use on ornamental plants, such as Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra. However, fuchsias are susceptible to damage from these types of fungicide. If you need to use a spray, it’s best to try it out on a few leaves and leave it for up to three weeks to see if any damage has occurred before spraying the rest of the plant.
Fuchsia gall mite is a microscopic sap-sucker that is particular to fuchsias. Symptoms of the pest are swelling and distortion of the leaves and stem, and growth at the shoot tips can become a mass of distorted tissue. Treat it by cutting off any infected shoot tips to remove the mites, and check over your plants every week in case more mites appear. Alternatively, destroy the