Pruning may be carried out during early spring if a greenhouse is available, otherwise it is best not to attempt it until all signs of frost have disappeared.
Drastic measures are required when pruning a fuchsia plant (Diagram A) after dormancy.
Cut back the branches as shown (Diagram B).
Very carefully ‘tease out’ a little of the old compost from around the root system so as not to inflict any unnecessary damage. Some very light trimming of any ‘straggly’ roots may be necessary.
Using a multi purpose compost mixed with a proportionate amount of horticultural grit or Perlite, transplant the pruned fuchsia into a pot smaller than the one it was in originally.
Reducing the pot size is to enable the roots of the plant to accommodate all the recently added compost before it becomes sour.
Immediately after planting, sparingly moisten the compost with water only. It is not necessary to apply fertilizer at this stage because the fresh compost contains sufficient nutrients to last for several weeks.
Be exceptionally careful when watering the recently repotted plant until it is well established in the fresh compost.
The end of March and the beginning of April is the time to prune the previous year’s fuchsias and repot them into fresh compost. The first job will be to spray the dormant plants with tepid water for two or three weeks before pruning commences. This will induce buds to sprout from the original branches. When they appear it will be the time to begin pruning.
The main reason for pruning fuchsia plants is to encourage the new growth that will eventually bear good quality blooms. The best flowers are produced on the current season’s growth. If pruning is ignored, the plant becomes very ‘woody’ and the blooms turn out to be of inferior quality.
Most beginners are very reluctant to participate in such a severe amputation programme because it drastically reduces the overall size of the plants. It is surprising how quickly they will recuperate after this ruthless treatment. In no time at all they will take on their original magnitude and reward you with a marvellous profusion of blooms that you would not have thought possible.
Before tackling this most important job, check your secateurs for sharpness and correct action.
When a decision is required regarding pruning fuchsias, forget the ends of the branches and concentrate on the frame which is going to support the new head of blooms. Whatever type of fuchsia plant you are dealing with, it will have need of your concentration to carry out this process. Give particular attention to the structure where the plant springs from the compost and immediately above this. Firstly, trim out all the weak growth and damaged twigs to their main stem, then commence to shorten all side branches of the plant’s second break down to one pair of new leaf buds. As mentioned earlier, there is great reluctance by some who have never carried out this operation before, to actually go through with it.
It may have been over two feet tall when you began pruning and now it’s only four inches high, but remember that it still has the root system to support a plant of its original dimensions. Be rest assured, it will soon recover and you will be more than satisfied with the ultimate result.
After this initial pruning, the growing tips of the resultant side shoots will need to be pinched out every two or three sets of leaves until the plants reach the size you require. It will take several weeks for them to come into flower after the last stop.
The pruning of standards is done in exactly the same way, the only difference being that the head is carried on top of a long stem instead of just above the pot. The growing tips of the resultant side shoots will need to be pinched out every two or three sets of leaves until the head of the plant attains the size you require.
It will take several weeks for it to come into flower after the last stop.
All plants will require feeding to encourage the young shoots to grow strong and healthy.