What could look more imposing than a basket of fuchsias with superb foliage and a mass of spectacular blooms? Ideally, having all the plants of the same cultivar will look more impressive than having them different sizes, shapes and colours. The varied rate of growth and the different flowering times would also have to be taken into consideration. The following instructions are best carried out during mid April and the basket kept from any severe cold by protection of a greenhouse. Hang up the basket in the permanent place when frosts are finished. The size of the basket required will depend on the ultimate dimension of the trailing plants selected. To retain the basket in an upright position whilst planting, place it in a large container.
As a guide, it will need four plants for a 12” (300mm) diameter basket, three around the edge and one in the centre.
A 16” (406mm) diameter basket will require four round the edge and one central plant (below). If the fuchsias aren’t of a vigorous nature, then it may be necessary for an extra one or two to be planted in each basket.
Some people prefer to use moss whereas others may decide on using a sheet of black plastic to line the basket. To be prepared for any hot and dry weather during the summer months, it is always a good idea to include a reservoir in the bottom of the basket. This is achieved by not piercing so many holes in the extreme base of the basket liner. If moss is used, place a piece of plastic in the bottom of the basket. Once the liner is placed in position, add about two or three inches of moist multi purpose compost and gently firm it. Some experienced growers use empty flower pots of the same size as the pots containing the plants and place them onto the first layer of compost. Fill around these empty pots with moist compost until it is level with the top of the rims and then firm it very lightly by using finger pressure only. Carefully remove the empty pots. After removing the plants from their pots, place them into the cavities in the compost within the basket and then gently tap the base of the basket onto something solid to ensure the compost is in contact with the roots of the freshly planted fuchsias. The compost is then watered by using a rose on the watering can. It is most important now not to water again until the basket is nearly dried out. This will allow the plants to establish themselves by making the roots search for moisture.
Whichever lining you decide to use, it should not be visible once the fuchsias come into bloom and the foliage is cascading over the sides of the basket.
Position the basket within easy reach because it may be necessary to apply water two or three times a day during very hot and dry weather. Ensure the support fixings are really secure and capable of dealing with a very heavy weight, especially when the basket has just been watered.
If it is at all possible, try to position the basket in a place where it will receive some form of shade during the heat of the summer. Once the plants are established in their basket, commence a spraying programme against all the well known fuchsia ‘nasties’.
After four weeks, begin feeding the plants. StoppingPinching out the tip of the side shoots at one or two pairs of leaves from the origin of their growth. is done with the aim of getting a nice flowing head coming from the basket. Repeat this procedure until the plants reach the desired size.