How to grow and care for Fuchsia Indoors

Houseplant, Fuchsia

Botanical name: Fuchsia hybrida
Family: Onagraceae

Fuchsia is considered as one of the most satisfactory of all flowering houseplants. The blooms are showy sepals and petals which may or may not be the same color. The flowers may be single, semi-double, double bells or clustered blooms on soft-stemmed bushes. Fuchsias may be grown as a bush or in a hanging basket for the trailing types. Regular training and pruning are necessary to keep the plant free-flowering and shapely. Fuchsias do not like sudden changes in growing conditions; maintain the right growing conditions as much as possible. Avoid moving the plant during flowering and bud formation; it can result in the dropping of buds and flowers. Majority of Fuchsias are native to South America, Central America and Newzealand. Fuchsias are named after the German botanist Leonhart Fuchs. Most of the Fuchsias under cultivation now are hybrids. Fuchsia hybrida is a hybrid between Fuchsia magellanica and Fuchsia fulgens.

How to Grow Fuchsia

Light

Fuchsia prefers bright light away from direct sunlight. Fuchsia will not bloom if the light is not enough. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

Water

Keep the soil moist at all times for Fuchsia during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold period. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to Root-rot Disease. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Cool to average warmth between 10-230C is ideal for Fuchsia. Protect the plant from cold and hot draughts. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Fuchsia. Mist the leaves occasionally and set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity if the air is too dry.

Feeding

Feed Fuchsia with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal and it can lead to fertilizer burn. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Fuchsia during the growing season only when the plant is extremely pot-bound; it blooms more when pot-bound. Do not repot a plant that is in flower. Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging as it can lead to Root-rot Disease. The soil should be rich in organic matter and free-draining. Large Fuchsia plants can be top-dressed annually by replacing the top 3-4 in of soil with fresh soil.

Pruning

Pruning Fuchsia is easy. Remove dead flowers and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Pinch off the growing tips to encourage compact growth. After flowering, cut back the stems to rejuvenate growth and prevent the plant from becoming leggy. Place the plant in a cool place and reduce watering until new growth emerges. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Fuchsia

Fuchsia can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings.

Propagating Fuchsia from stem-tip cuttings
Take a 4-6 stem-tip cuttings from a healthy Fuchsia plant. Insert the cuttings in moist free-draining soil. Place the set up in a warm well-lit spot. Maintain the soil moist through out until the new plants are well established.

How to promote flowering in Fuchsia

Fuchsia requires a resting period during the cold season. Place the plant in a cool place about 100C. Reduce watering maintaining the soil barely moist. Withhold feeding during this period.

Common Problems in Growing Fuchsia

  • Sudden leaf drop
  • Sudden leaf drop in Fuchsia is due to hot dry air; set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity.

  • Progressive loss of lower leaves
  • Progressive loss of the lower leaves in Fuchsia is caused by underwatering; Fuchsia prefers consistently moist soil but no waterlogging and low light; Fuchsia prefers bright light away from direct sunshine.

  • Flower buds drop
  • The causes of flower bud drop in Fuchsia are four. One cause is incorrect watering either underwatering or overwatering. Maintain the soil consistently moist but never soggy. The second cause of flower bud drop is low light. Fuchsia prefers bright light away from direct sunlight. The third cause is too much heat. Protect Fuchsia from hot draughts and keep it away from direct sunshine. The fourth causes is moving or turning the pot while in bud. Avoid moving the plant while in the bud formation stage.

  • Poor flowering
  • Poor flowering in Fuchsia is caused by four reasons. One reason is underfeeding; feed Fuchsia every 2 weeks during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. The second cause is underwatering; maintain the soil consistently moist and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely. The third reason is too little light; Fuchsia prefers bright light away from direct sunshine. The fourth reason is too high temperatures during the dormancy period; Fuchsia requires a resting period during the cold season. Keep it in a cool place and reduce watering at this time.

  • Brown spots with yellow margins on leaves
  • Brown leaf spots with yellow margings in Fuchsia are an indication of Leaf Spot Disease which is brought about by overwatering in cold weather.

  • Pests
  • The common pests in Fuchsia are Spider Mites and Whiteflies.

Toxicity

Fuchsia (Fuchsia hybrida) plants are non-toxic to humans and pets. The fruits and flowers can be eaten with no ill-effects.

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