Overwintering a Fuchsia Plant

(Question)

I had a beautiful white-flowering hanging Fuchsia plant last summer. I brought it in for the winter and treated it like a house plant. I did trim the length of the branches a few times. I have now taken it outside. The trailing branches are hanging down about a foot and look healthy but no sign of buds. How do I make it flower?

(Answer)

Fuchsias are heavy feeders and they should be kept damp neither too wet or dry.

Sprinkle organic fertilizers on the soil every few weeks.  Fertilizers are made up primarily of  N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus) and K (Potash).  Nitrogen makes plants grow but in a shaded areas can lead to soft growth if too much is used.  Phosphorus is for root development and general plant health and stays available to the plant  for longer than do other fertilizers.  Potash leads to maturity setting and developing fruits and flowers.  Too much of this at the wrong time (sunny conditions) can lead to brittle, stunted growth, small leaves and flowers.  It seems N and K  have almost opposite effects as have bright light and shade.  This means reduce N in shady conditions but increase K . In bright conditions reduce K but increase N.   It is suggested you apply these every 7 to 10 days but  a number of people  use it along with every watering  at one quarter strength.  Sometimes these fertilizers are in powder form which must be diluted with water.  My suggestion, as you probably have your fuchsia in some sun use a fertilizer lower in N as this is good for green and use something  higher in K which is good for fruits and flowers.   Commercial fertilizers  are put together so you won’t experience brittle conditions unless you use and excess of K  or soft growth from N unless you use an excess.

Flowers are borne on new growth so cut back the stems in spring before new growth begins.  Removing dead blooms will promote new bud formation.

Ref:Geranium, Pelargonium & Fuchsia Society of  Ontario – Issue: August 2013   Volume 92