Pruning fuchsias that are growing in the garden

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Pages updated September, 2018.
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Pruning pots is very similar, baskets too though usually to about the edge of the basket

Fuchsias must be pruned severely once a year with a light prune in summer to help with water loss. Where you live will govern when you prune. For 30 years I lived Woodford in the Blue Mountains, where one or two very light frosts that didn't do any damage were the norm, we had a mixed garden with a lot of azaleas. Our fuchsias flowered all year round except for 8-10 weeks after pruning, the light frost didn’t often affect them. So we pruned in spring as soon as the azaleas started flowering and by the time the azaleas had finished the fuchsias were ready to bloom again, this way we had fuchsias all winter.

At Lawson only 5 minutes further up the mountains we get a few more frosts and they cause minor to major damage to my fuchsias, all survive but the flowers, some or all the leaves and a few the stems are killed. So I tried pruning in autumn at least 4 weeks before the first frosts, so the new growth is hardened off. After the very severe frost in 2007 I changed my method - I left any plants that get frost damage and  pruned them in late August. So if you get any damaging frost at all prune 4-6 week before you are likely to get frost or leave till after the last frost. If you have very heavy frost prune back to top shoots as soon as the danger of frosts is over. If you don’t have to worry about frost you can prune at any time, many people prune in mid-winter as flowering is much less at this time.

Fuchsias flower on new growth so once established you just remove all of the current seasons growth, cutting back to the skeleton of woody growth you have developed to support the plant.

Before and after photos of pruning. These suppose that you have a good shaped plant. If you have let the plant grow leggy with long straggly branches cut back about 2/3rds of the plant then pinch out a few times when re-growth starts. Follow the instruction in my “Growing fuchsias in the garden Barbara’s way”

 Sometimes it is hard to cut off so many flowers – if you don’t your plant won’t be as good next season.

I try to have at 40 - 100 short woody branches on the larger fuchsias, to form the skeleton to support the next season's growth. This means little or no pinching out will be necessary as they will be nearly double this number the next season . Any branches that don't shoot can be trimmed off when you are sure they are not going to produce leaves. This will give early flowering and lots of time before the hot weather spoils the blooms.

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