winter care for upright Fuschias

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Keara, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. Keara

    Keara Member

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    Langley, BC Canada
    I am new to BC (and CA) from, most recently, the Gulf Coast of Florida. I've got years of gardening experience but not in this climate; I have several bush form Fuschias in pots and would like to keep them for next year. My mother-in-law puts all her Fuschia hanging baskets in the basement and they survive. Is is possible to plant the upright ones or will they freeze? How do I winterize my plants? Thanks in advance for the help!
     
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Welcome Keara--fuchsias grow well in our cool(ish) summers, but are at best marginal overwinter. I have kept many supposedly tender varieties from year to year in the ground here, tho they inevitably die back to the roots and have to struggle back upward each spring. Mulching would help if I could remember to add some each November, sigh!

    A frost free greenhouse is the perfect overwintering place, tho almost none of us have such an animal...your mother in law has duplicated this somewhat in a cool basement. Everyone's house is different tho, and too warm a spot may not allow the plants to be dormant thru winter...trying to grow in low light they often croak. They can survive on a window sill in the house, but will get kinda ugly in the warmth that encourages weak growth in our dark winters.

    Another interesting strategy used by a fuchsia specialist I knew was to dig a trench, lay the plants down in it and cover with peat...kinda like a shallow root cellar. Probably best to cover that with something to shed water, like a sheet of plywood or some plastic...drier is better than sopping wet if possible...
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Hardiness varies with cultivar. Some overwinter in the ground here, others are not likely to. Overall the climate in maritime areas out here is much less challenging than just about anywhere back there.
     
  4. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    What about lining the sides of the pots with insulating plastic popcorn sheets, you know, that packing material, and repotting with the soil saved from this procedure, or for that matter wrapping them with burlap blankets, and just allowing them to shelter out of the coldest places close to a door or in a patio out of the wind? Someone in Victoria in a plant nursery said she does this. The hardy fuschias in my garden soil die off a bit but are raring to go again in early summer, needing to have lots of the old woody stems cut out in early spring and the whole thing cut back, usually, but 3 weeks later they are sizeable bushes again! Hanging basket fuschias are a different fuschia, are they not, much softer?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  5. eric_r

    eric_r Active Member 10 Years

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    This method of keeping fuchsias in pots in the relative shelter of a 50 cm overhang on a north-facing back deck, next to the house, seems to be working well for me this winter, in the southwest part of Vancouver.

    The variety in the attached photo, is, I think, "Jingle Bells" and is shown blooming in late December. The plant shown in the photo was a cutting taken from a plant we got about two-and-a-half years ago. The parent plant is the ground, and has already lost all its leaves in spite of being in a relatively sheltered location. It will come back in the spring and likely sprout from the ground again.

    As a result of trial and error, I found that what has worked for me is to (a) choose reasonably hardy varieties, (b) keep propagating new plants from cuttings in the late spring or during a cool spell in June or early July (very easy with fuchsias) so that one can have relatively small specimens to keep in pots, and (c) bring the pots indoors (into a cold unheated bathroom) during "cold" spells (e.g. a six-day spell earlier this month when the temperature went down to about -5 Celsius.) The plant shown in the photo remained outdoors during nights that went down to about -1 Celsius according to the weather report, although the temperature on the back deck may have been slightly warmer.
     

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  6. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Excellent, this kind of question-and-response is really what this website is all about, isn't it... since there are some really lovely fuchsias available, with various colorations, and shapes/size of bloom, some quite surprising, this is a great way of multiplying their presence in pots...
     

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