I aim to have my wall baskets, full baskets, tubs, troughs, hanging pots, etc. planted up during the first two weeks in April at the very latest. This is time enough to give a fair result by July. I know not everyone will have the facilities to take cuttings and have them up into 3” pots by March, but this is where your specialist fuchsia nursery comes in (try the ‘Links Page’), plus they have a wide range of cultivars you will never find in B&Q and the like. Nothing against B&Q, I’ll buy there myself, you just have to make sure you get there on the delivery day!
Half or Wall Baskets(Trailing Cultivars)
On the left is a 16” wall basket planted up with 5 plants (3” pots). 3 plants along the back and 2 along the front. You can use the same method as for potting up, 5 empty pots placed in their positions in the basket, fill around them, remove them and drop in your plants. I know it sounds daft but take them out of their pots, I have seen them planted up still in their pots! Plant them up so they are leaning towards the front. I guess this one will be around the beginning of May and ready for pinching out. It looks as though it is going to grow upwards but I know this cultivar will trail.The middle one is now out of the greenhouse and in the nethouse which makes it about the end of May beginning of June. This will be going to a show (hopefully) and the idea is to hide the basket and it is well on the way in doing that.On the right its show day (end of July). As you can see its quite feasible to obtain a decent looking specimen in that time. The cultivar was ‘Sylvia Barker’
Full Baskets(Trailing Cultivars)
On the left a 16” full/round basket planted up with the cultivar ‘Harry Gray’, again around the beginning of May. Most fuchsia books suggest 5 plants in a half basket’, which I do. They then suggest 5 in a 16” basket, 4 around the edge and 1 in the middle, why? Beats me! I will put 10 plants in, 7 around the outside and 3 in the middle. If you use this cultivar I can guarantee a basket 30” across.The middle shows the same basket on it’s way to the nethouse. This will be heading for a show at the beginning of August so one more pinch all over and hope I’ve got my timing right.On the right, the end result. To be fair this cultivar does all the work for you. It has very even growth when pinched, grows fast and is very floriferous.
Hanging Pots. I use 6”, 8” and 10” hanging pots (10” are allowed in our show). 3 plants in a 6”, usually 4 or 5 in an 8” and as many as I can comfortably get into a 10”. Again trailing cultivars and they get the same treatment as the baskets. On the right 5 plants of ‘Billy’ in a 10” pot.
Some of the plants I grow are for display. These are for the Society display at the North West Fuchsia Societies Festival in September. I quickly learnt that the only way to get a decent size plant in a 6” pot in one season was to do a bit of multi planting. 3 plants of the same cultivar go into a black 2 litre pot, again before the second week in April. Now this is considered as over potting (too much compost for the plants) I don’t think so, I feel it’s no different than making up baskets. The only thing I have to watch carefully is the watering. This is done sparingly when planted up, even letting the plants go dry and almost wilting before watering again. This helps to avoid Botrytis (mould) which can happen with overcrowding and over watering. I also remove some of the lower leaves to let the air get through. Once I know the roots are getting down they are then placed on saucers and I water from the bottom.You can see some of them on the left below. This would be about the end of May again and they are in the nethouse. By the end of June they will almost double in size. They are treated as one plant and pinched out all together. I use black pots because they are not as noticeable in a display, although when I see what nice shaped plants they make I am tempted to put them into terracotta pots for the show bench!
You can apply the same method of three in a pot when planting up tubs, patio containers, etc. After all, we are always advised when planting up shrubs in the garden to plant up in groups of three.You will achieve a far superior display of fuchsias in one season that one plant on it’s own. The only drawback you may find is that when some of the larger flowering cultivars come into bloom, they tend to pull the plants apart but a few well hidden canes and ties will cure thatAlways stick to three of the same cultivar, different cultivars will not blend together as well and possibly not flower at the same time.On the left a tub of three plants of ‘Paula Jane‘ after a second stop and on the right the results. A fuchsia flower will last 10 about days. Like all plants, all they want to do is flower and set seeds, after that they consider their job done, so don’t forget to keep on removing dead flowers, including the seed pods, and don’t forget to keep on feeding.