On Thu, 24 Jul 2008 12:50:07 -0400, Alistair Macdonald wrote
It's fairly easy but might take a bit of practice the first few times
depending on your general gardening experience.
In the Fall, slowly reduce watering. You should have stopped any feeding a
few weeks before that. When the plants have dropped most of their leaves
you'll know they're ready to be stored. Fuchsias won't go truly dormant but,
as the weather cools and the days shorten significantly, the leaves might
have started to yellow and thin out quite a bit by anyway. Gently pull off
any remaining leaves and clean up all fallen leaves to cut down on
overwintering any insects, like whitefly.
Store in a place that's cool but remains above freezing. About 35-45 F is
ideal. As they're not actively growing, they don't even need to be kept in
the light. Keep water to a minimum and give only enough to ensure that the
stems remain alive and pliable. You really aiming to keep these plants in a
semi-dormant state with the cool temperatures and the drier compost. You can
test if you're doing a good job by scratching slightly at one on the stems
with your thumbnail. If you see green underneath, they're fine.
In the Spring, cut back the stems. How much is up to you and depends on how
big you want the plant to be or what special shape you might be training.
Don't be afraid to prune. Fuchsias can be cut back quite severely as they'll
break new growth from even older wood.
Take the plant from the pot and remove a good deal of the old compost. Repot
with fresh. Don't pack it down around the roots and the remainder of the old
root ball, but settle it in by tapping the pot gently on the potting bench.
Fuchsias like loose, organic soil and this helps the new roots find a
hospitable home and get off to a good start.
Water gently. You might do well to initially use a smaller pot and pot up as
the extra soil can go sour quickly and start rotting the mostly still dormant
roots. Do make sure that the new soil is kept evenly moist but not wet. The
plants will probably need more water as they get going.
Set in a warmer, brighter spot and pinch out the new shoots every two to
three leaves to encourage a bushier plant. Depending on the cultivar,
flowering is about 8-12 weeks after the last pinch. Fuchsias are heavy
feeders but you'll really want to wait until the plant is off and growing
well. They appreciate more frequent but lighter feedings after that.
The exact timing of all this will depend. With my own fuchsias, for example,
I've left them outside until the first frost anywhere from later November
until the beginning of December. This year I was able to start setting them
outside again in the middle of March. Your mileage may vary with your own
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