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Fuchsia Profusion

The fuchsia is perhaps one of the most versatile of all flowering shrubs and certainly one of the most beautiful. Even the rose can­not rival it for ability to produce flowers as it blooms from early summer until well into autumn.

 

Originally from South and Central America fuchsias are very popular in gardens today.

Originally from South and Central America fuchsias are very popular in gardens today.

Fuchsias will grow in various shapes — as upright bushes of all heights, from dwarfs of a few centimetres to giants of several metres. Some will climb, others hug the ground or cascade like a waterfall. All will vary to greater or lesser degree in their needs, likes and dislikes.

 

There are fuchsias for every part of the garden. The majority will thrive in semi-shade but they need good light to bloom satisfactorily and a shade house is ideal for them. Some can be grown in full, sun and others where they get sun for half the day, preferably morning sun. Where humidity is high they will tolerate more sun than in areas where the humidity is low. Some are frost hardy, others tender but even these will sur­vive if a suitable site is found for them in the garden. Often cold winds do more damage than frost and where these are experienced the plants must he grown where they will be pro­tected from the prevailing cold winds.

The ideal soil for fuchsias is a well drained, rather sandy loam but, as few gardeners are lucky enough to have this ideal, they have to work to achieve it. The first essential is to make, sure the soil is well drained for, al­though the plants need abundant water, they will not tolerate ‘wet feet’ — that is soil which does not drain easily. Where the soil in the garden is poorly drained and it is not possible to put in drainage pipes or trenches, the beds should be raised and plenty of course sand and compost added. Poor soil can be improved by digging generous quantities of well-made compost plus a dressing of 2:3:2 at the rate of 60g to 75g per square metre, depending on the quality of the compost.

When planting fuchsias in the garden prepare a holes for them as for other shrubs. Dig square holes at least 30cm cubed, keeping the top soil on one side and the bottom soil on the other. Break up the ground at the bottom of the holes then return the bottom soil mixed with 150g of superphosphate, when returning the top soil add some compost.

Nurserymen supply plants in plastic sleeves and it is advisable to repot these. Soak the plants in a bucket of water for about an hour then allow to drain for some time before potting them up. Choose a pot a little larger than the ball of soil in the plastic sleeve. Make sure the pot is clean, has adequate drainage holes at the bottom and that these are covered with a good layer of drainage material, then add a layer of soil but make sure the plant will be at the same depth it has been growing in the sleeve.

Remove the plastic sleeve carefully so as not to disturb the roots then lower the plant into the pot, fill up round the side with pre­pared soil, firm in well round the sides of the pot and water well. Planting out into the gar­den follows the same pattern­.

Future posts will deal with propagation from cuttings and seeds, growing fuchsias as standards, in hanging baskets, as climbers and as pillars and pyramids. We will also with the diseases and pests that (rarely) attack fuchsias.