Fuchsia Wall Baskets

So is there a secret in the way you should grow a wall basket of fuchsias? The answer is no, all that is required is a little thought before you start. 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.

When building up a wall basket (half basket), first place a wire mesh or nylon netting inside the bottom one third. This helps to support the weight of the compost and also helps to keep the moss in place, which should completely line the basket. Lastly, at the bottom of the basket, place a small piece of black plastic with only a few holes in, to help moisture retention. During the summer months baskets tend to rapidly dry out so moisture retention is probably one of the most important aspects of building a basket. Regular watering will also leach out the nutrients within the compost rather quickly.

The compost used is a soilless type mixed with Perlite (A recommended ratio of 5 parts compost to 1 part Perlite) and a good handful of a granule fertilizer. The fertilizer will take approximately twelve weeks to liquidize, so this will give the plants in the basket that little extra boost just when they are getting hungry for more food.

If you are fortunate to own a greenhouse and are able to allow the plants within to grow to a reasonable size, then the following instructions will be beneficial. The plants that are used will have come from cuttings taken in September. It is advisable to grow eight cuttings during the winter until March when they should be in 3½”Ø (90mm) pots. From these, select five of the most even grown plants for the basket.

Those of you that do not own a greenhouse, then buying five equally matured plants in March will do just as well. This is generally a cheaper method than having to pay for expensive electricity to heat the greenhouse during the winter just to keep the plants in there growing satisfactory.

If you happen to have an enormous amount of plants, then it will be more of a practical advantage to heat the greenhouse and maintain a temperature of 13°C (55°F) to 16°C (61°F).

Doing this will enable the plants to grow unhindered during the very cold months.

Planting

The young plants are placed three across the rear of the basket and two in the front. Although it is not absolutely necessary, they may be planted at a slight angle leaning forward. The compost is then lightly firmed around the plants and then watered in 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.

Aftercare

If it is at all possible, try to position the wall basket in a place where it will receive some form of shade during the heat of the summer. Once the plants are established in the basket, start carrying out a spraying programme against all the well known fuchsia nasties.

After about four weeks, begin feeding the plants.

Stopping is done on the same day, with the aim of getting a nice flowing head coming from the basket.