Once you have a reasonable knowledge of looking after fuchsias, the next step is to take cuttings from your stock plants. Although they will root very easily during the period from April to August, the ideal time is from April to May. Only take cuttings that are strong and healthy. It is advisable to carry out this operation in the cool shade and not during the hot and sunny weather.
Always cut just below a leaf joint (node) with a very sharp instrument.
This will reduce the possibility of any jagged edges, thus discouraging infection. The advantage of taking cuttings just below a joint is because this is where the greatest concentration of hormones is found. Carefully remove the bottom pair of leaves. If the stem is left too long on the cutting it will encourage the possibility of botrytis and the cutting will eventually rot. The cutting is inserted in the medium about half the length of the stem below the second pair of leaves (see illustration above). The tip cutting should have as much as possible inserted. It may mean that this type of cutting will just ‘sit’ on the medium, but it must be firmed. Don’t forget to place a name label with the cuttings immediately because the average memory is very unreliable. Having a propagator with bottom heat will be an advantage but not absolutely essential. Shade from direct sunlight and place a lid on the propagator to retain a humid atmosphere.
Before inserting any cuttings into the striking medium, it may be beneficial to bathe them in a mixture of water and a fungicide which will reduce any chance of botrytis which is caused by insufficient air circulation within the propagator. It is not absolutely necessary to use any rooting powder as fuchsias strike very easily. If any flower buds are present it will be advisable to remove them first because the cuttings will require all their energy for rooting. Never allow the compost to dry out.
The length of time it may take for the cuttings to root will vary. With bottom heat it will take about 12 to 14 days, without any bottom heat approximately 21 to 28 days. During the ideal period and with favourable conditions of April or May, these times could be shorter.
Continue to shade from direct sunlight throughout the rooting period. The cuttings when rooted should be a slightly darker green and take on a ‘perky’ look. At this stage it will be necessary to introduce them to the ambient air temperature very gradually. When they are acclimatised, transplant them into their individual pots. Using pots no larger than Ø2½” (60mm) will be ideal for this purpose. Using too large a pot will encourage water logging which will turn the compost sour. As soon as the roots begin to show around the outside of the compost, then will be the right time to transplant to a pot that is one size larger.
Once the cutting becomes established, the next thing to consider is to produce a plant with an abundance of flowers. Apart from feeding, watering and re-potting, this is achieved by ‘Pinching’ or ‘Stopping’.
The ‘Pinching’ or ‘Stopping’ procedure is nothing more than removing the tips of side shoots at one or two pairs of leaves from the origin of their growth. By doing this will encourage more side shoots to grow from the leaf joints on the remaining stems, thus achieving a plant with a potential of producing a greater number of blooms. These resultant side shoots from the initial ‘Pinching’ can be treated in exactly the same way as before. The more times this procedure is repeated will induce the plant to produce an even greater number of side shoots that will eventually become the branches which in turn will yield more blooms.
What is required more than anything else from the grower is patience, because every time the plant is ‘Stopped’ or ‘Pinched’ will put back the eventual flowering period by several weeks; but be assured, it’s well worth the wait.
Knowing when fuchsias will come into flower after the last stop (the final stop made before blooming is intended).
Remember, the stems will be about 4” (102mm) longer when the plants are in bloom. This is not an exact science. Double fuchsias will take longer to yield blooms than singles. Just to complicate things a little further, some singles will take longer than others and the same implications apply to doubles. The climate is also a telling factor, so a little experience is vital if you require the plant to bloom at any particular time.
Although the actual flowering period after stopping is a little obscure, it is recommended that you allow 60 days after the final stop for the single varieties, 70 days for semi doubles and at least 80 days for doubles.
|Type||Penultimate Pinch||Penultimate Pinch Date||Last Pinch||Last Pinch Date|
|Species & Triphyllas||111 days before show||09/04/2017||90 days before show||30/04/2017|
|Double||101 days before show||19/04/2017||80 days before show||10/05/2017|
|Semi double||91 days before show||29/04/2017||70 days before show||20/05/2017|
|Single||81 days before show||09/05/2017||60 days before show||30/05/2017|