This covers basic hints,cuttings,growing a standard,planting up baskets,growing large structures,the biennial method,watering,feeding,general care and hardy fuchsias.


 BASIC HINTS 


CUTTINGS 

The soft current growth from young plants is the best  material to use to achieve good  quality cuttings. If no bottom heat is available then April, May and June are the best  months to take cuttings. If you have a propagator capable of  supplying 55-60°f,  cuttings can be taken at any time of the year. The cutting  should be trimmed with a  sharp knife just below a leaf joint and should consist of  one or two pairs of leaves plus  the growing tip. Any brand of rooting medium can be used but  many growers use  equal parts moss peat and vermiculite or perlite. Insert the  cutting about 1/4" deep into  the compost, do not remove any leaves, then cover with a  plastic bag or plastic cover.  Place in semi-shade and rooting should take between 14 and  21 days. Each batch of  cuttings should be labelled giving the variety and date of insertion. When cuttings  have rooted move them into a 2" or 2/2" pot using  a compost of your choice. Either a  loam based or peat based compost will be alright but having  made your choice you are  advised to use it throughout your potting programme. When  your rooted cuttings have  made three pairs of leaves, the growing tip can be removed, the plant will then send  out side shoots from each leaf axil, which in time can also  be 'stopped' to produce a  bush type plant. 

GROWING A STANDARD

If you wish to grow a standard type plant, do not stop the  plant until the length of stem  is either 6-10", 10-18", 18-30" or   30-42". These sets of sizes are for stem length only.  To produce the head of your standard, grow a further three  or four sets of leaves  before the tip is removed. A standard fuchsia is best  described as a bush on a stick so  stopping for shape is as for a bush type plant. It is  important that standards should not  become pot bound, so as soon as the roots reach the sides of  the pot, move the plant  into a pot 1" larger. All side shoots from leaf axils  should be removed as soon as they  are large enough to handle in order to encourage the growth  upward. Do not remove  the leaves from the stem until your standard fuchsia has  formed it's head. It is  important to give the stem some support. Insert a cane long  enough to reach right into  the head of your plant. Place ties as required to keep the  stem straight, taking care not  to tie them too tight. 

PLANTING UP BASKETS

Fuchsias of a trailing variety should be used for growing in  hanging baskets, wall  baskets or hanging pots. The plants should be in at least a  3" pot before being planted  in their final containers. February onwards is the usual  time for planting up. A full  basket of 16" will require five plants, four placed  around the edge and one in the  centre. The basket can be lined with sphagnum moss or a  sheet of polythene, the latter  gives more room for compost, which should be peat based to  save weight. A few holes  punctured in the polythene about two inches from the base  will give drainage and also  form a reservoir of moisture. The planting procedure for a  wall basket is the same as a  full basket, a 16" half basket should take three  plants. For hanging pots, one to three  plants may be used depending on pot size. For all types of  hanging containers the  stopping programme is the same as a bush type plant. 


                                                       

                                                                  FEEDING YOUR PLANTS

All plants, once rooted, should be fed with a balanced  fertiliser. For current growth a  fertiliser high in nitrogen should be used such as Chempak  No.2. This is used in a  diluted form every time your plants need watering using 1/2  a level tea-spoon of  fertiliser to 2 gallons of water. When your plants start  producing buds change to  Chempak No.3, this is a balanced feed and will give the  blooms good colour and help  ripen the wood of your plants.  

HARDY FUCHSIAS 

For permanent outdoor planting of fuchsias, hardy varieties  should be used. Well  rooted plants in at least a 3" pot are required. In the Midlands, June is the best time to  plant out hardy fuchsias. Normal ground preparation having  been completed a shallow  depression of 3" is taken out. The plant should be  watered prior to planting and having  been taken from its pot, should be planted with the level of the compost at the bottom  of the depression. The soil from the depression is then  replaced. This will give the root  ball some insulation against frost. At the end of the season  your hardy plants will drop  all their leaves and look bare and uninteresting. DO NOT be tempted to cut off the dead  stems but wait until the plants start to grow again in the  Spring, you can then prune as  hard as you wish. 

GENERAL CARE 

Plants in the greenhouse respond to humidity. To achieve  this, gravel or something  similar is spread about 1" deep on your staging and kept moist. To maintain even  growth, turn your plants about a third every few days. Every  plant should be inspected  at least once a week for pests and diseases. Develop this  habit and you will escape  any aphid or white fly infection. Do not grow too many  varieties and limit the number  of plants that you grow, this way you will get to know the  likes and dislikes of your  chosen few and your plants will respond

                                          INFORMATION 

If you require more information about growing and showing  fuchsias it is best that you  join your local fuchsia society where you will meet friendly  people keen on growing  fuchsias and many societies have other benefits worth having  and for a small price of  membership it is well worth the money.  These basic hints were compiled by Bill Gilbert who was a  founder member of this  society and was a staunch supporter for many years up to his  death.He was well  known throughout the country as a showman and at the time  was one of the best in  the country, also a hybridiser with nine varieties to his  name his best known being  Brookwood Belle.



                                 THE BIENNIAL METHOD


This method of growing was introduced to our Society by two growers, Don Stilwell and Alan Dyas who practiced this method with huge successes and was taken up by many of our growers who use this method to this day.  A synopsis of their method is that cuttings are taken in May or June from plants that have not flowered, so are full of vigour. Only the best quality material is chosen and tip cuttings are used. At this time of year no bottom heat is required and no rooting hormone powder should be used.The cuttings are left on the staging and are ready for their first pot of 2½” diameter in about 14 to 21 days. The rooted cutting should be given good light on the staging but must be protected from direct sunlight for a few days. After about 7 days transfer the cuttings to a cold frame again sheltering from direct sunlight. From now on the plants should be treated with care but not coddled. Feeding is recommended at every watering, ie, half a teaspoon of Chempak No.2, for your cuttings, then Chempak No.3 for more mature plants, to two gallons of water. which is the habit to develop from now on, coupled with regular turning of the plants to maintain even growth. If you intend to grow your plants as bushes, let the growth develop to three sets of leaves then remove the growing tip. You have now started the  stopping program which will continue until May time next year. For top quality plants it is best to stop your plants at every pair of leaves, this results in the growth pattern alternating at each stop through 90°, so forming a natural domed shape. 

 When the young plants are ready for potting on, the new pot should only be ½” larger in diameter than the existing pot. If you have your compost riddled and it is in a ‘just damp’ state, you will have no trouble using the mould method, which no doubt you know is the only way you can be sure, all the root ball comes in contact with the new compost. Plants which are ready for potting on, are given a good soaking with fertilised water before potting on into the compost. I do not water again until the weight of the new pot tells me it is required. This procedure carries on throughout the year, potting on as required, feeding, stopping and turning your plants. It is prudent to aim at a 4” diameter pot as the maximum size the first year, if you wish to make a 5” pot the ultimate size for flowering.  Plants should be returned to your greenhouse around October or November, climatic conditions dictating when this is done. Ventilators are left open to acclimatise the plants to their new conditions for a few days. Temperatures should not drop below 40°F (5°C), if economy is needed you can set your thermostat at 35°F, at this temperature you may loose a few bottom leaves but the plants will survive. Watering should be limited now to keeping your plants  moist not wet. 

 January when daylight house are increasing, is the time to get the plants moving again so potting on can be started using pots 1“ larger in diameter. The ultimate size of pot will be dictated either by the plant itself or by the show schedule. Stopping, feeding and turning are very important now, as also is hygiene, your plants should be inspected individually at least once per week, this way any infestation of pests or disease can be spotted and treated quickly.You should now have vigorous young plants from which you can take cuttings in May or June for next years plants.There are so many cuttings available you can be very choosy and pick only the best, this way you will improve your stock and create a clone of the variety in question exclusive to you.

 

      GROWING HANGING BASKETS AND HANGING POTS  By John Delaney
Hanging baskets and hanging pots are a superb way to grow fuchsias, fuchsias lend themselves to this  
sort of growth as they fall naturally and to be seen at eye level is a great joy. I usual plant baskets and pots with just one variety of  fuchsia as different varieties grow at different
rates and you are likely to get uneven growth. 


HANGING BASKETS

If you are lucky enough to be able to keep your greenhouse heated to about 40°F (5° C) you can take
your cuttings in May and grow them on until they are in 3½” pots, about October/November when they should be ready to plant into the basket. You will need at least 5 plants for a 16” basket, this obviously depends on the type of growth and the variety of plant you are intending to use. I usually plant four round the edge and leave the middle one until later, what I do is put a 4-5” empty pot into the middle and grow the middle plant separately potting up as necessary
until the following April when I then
plant It into the basket, in that way you get a nice tight and even basket. Remember when you stop the
four plants already planted in the basket to also stop the plant you are saving for the middle. If you cannot keep your greenhouse heated then you will have to buy your plants in early Spring, end  February early March and plant them straight up into the 
basket.
HANGING POTS

You can plant 4-5 plants in a hanging pot, I always think 4 plants are ideal. If you have no heat you 
will have to plant your pot in Spring, late February early March (as you would a basket) but if you have heat one of the best methods I find is to take the cutting in May, and grow one plant on the biennial system until it gets to a 5-6” pot and then plant straight into your 8” hanging pot between November and end of January. One plant in a pot will grow a lot more evenly than 4-5 plants.
HALF BASKETS

To be treated as hanging baskets except that you would need 3 along the front and either one 
or two at the back. I normally use four 3½” pots but that is a matter of personal choice and variety of plant and its growth rate. 

SOIL FOR BASKETS & POTS

Soil is a matter of choice, usually peat based compost because its light but I use my own mix using 3
parts peat, one part Perlite and Chempak base fertiliser. 

WATERING

I feed at every watering with Champak at a quarter strength(half teaspoon to 2 gallons of water). C
hempak No 2 high nitrogen up until a week after the last stop, then Champak No.3 which is a balanced feed for the rest of the time. Please remember that you need to water baskets more frequently than your ordinary potted fuchsias as they dry out much quicker.

GENERAL INFORMATION & CARE

To make it easier to handle the basket when planting rest it on either a large flower pot or a bucket.
Line your basket with either plastic or moss, then place some compost in the bottom and using empty pots of the same size as those containing your plants, place four around the edge of the basket and a larger one in the middle. Completely fit the basket and the pots with compost. Settle the compost by tapping the basket on the bench. It is easier to deal with each plant separately. Remove one of the pots from the basket and you will have a formed mould the same
size as the root ball of your own plant.
Take your plant out and place it in position, another tap will settle it in. Repeat the process with each of the other plants apart from the middle one which will be planted at a later date. (This is called the mould method). When the weather is really nice and warm you can hang your baskets outside for a time as they will benefit from the fresh open air, but don’t hang them in their permanent position until all sign of frost is past usually the beginning of June. Check your baskets regularly for infestation and clean up dead leaves etc as often as possible. Turn on a regular basis to promote even growth. 
Suggested plants that make nice baskets and hanging pots.
Caradela, Harry Gray, Coachman, Frosted Flame, Auntie Jinks,La Campanela, Waveney Gem, Hermenia, Marinka, Olive Davis, Eva Boerg, Swingtime,Cascade, Two Tiers, Susan Green, Jack Shahan. These are just a few, the list is endless.






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