A Year with Fuchsias                                                                              

On 30th April ODGC welcomed Gareth Davies.  Gareth is a member of the British Fuchsia society and exhibits fuchsias.  He is also Chairman of his local gardening club, the Usk Valley Gardening Association, a member of the Rose Society UK, a National Rose Judge, exhibitor and speaker for that society.

Gareth divided fuchsias into three categories, hardy fuchsias which can remain outside year round such as F.genii, half hardy fuchsias which will winter out providing that they are planted deeply to protect the crown.  These will be cut to the ground by frost but usually come through unscathed, for example Waverley Gem .  The final group are the tender varieties like Thalia which require frost free conditions.

Gareth’s year begins in autumn when the plants are starting to look tired.  They are defoliated, tipped out of their containers and repottted in fresh compost, care taken to tease out the old compost from between the roots. The new pots should be only just large enough to accommodate them. The plants are cut back to a suitable framework and kept at a temperature of between 5 and 10 degrees Centigrade, just high enough to promote slow growth.

In February or March cuttings are taken and planted in modular trays in a mixture of compost and perlite.  Care must be taken to not overwater.  Bottom heat of between 15 to 18 degrees C is beneficial and they are fed with a weak liquid feed at one quarter strength. They are then potted on and the sideshoots  nipped out with tweezers, aiming for balanced growth.  Care is taken to shade the young plants from the sun.  They are fed with a balanced feed until they start to flower and then a high potash feed such as Tomorite is used.

Cuttings of one variety can also be potted together to make a larger containerised plant.  To grow a standard an upright variety such as Garden News is used and the sideshoots removed apart from the top few.  The tips are nipped out and the plants allowed to flower in their second year.

Hardy varieties may be used in the garden and are useful in lightly shaded positions.  They make wonderful container plants either on their own or associating with bedding plants such as begonias and petunias.  Trailing varieties such as Eva Bjorg, magenta petals and pink white sepals, or Dark Eyes, frilly red and purple, lend themselves to hanging baskets and look good spilling over the edge of containers.  Upright varieties like Dollar Princess make superb centre plants for containers.

The club was fortunate in receiving a step by step guide to propagation and treated to a stunning slideshow of fuchsias prepared for the showbench and on display in Gareth’s beautiful garden.

                                 Ghi Arundale

Gareth has kindly given us his calendar with hints and tips for looking after your fuchsias.
Please click on the link below for an A4 printable version of the calendar