Deadheading Fuchsia Plants – Do Fuchsias Need To Be Deadheaded
By: Liz Baessler
Deadheading can be an important step in caring for flowering plants. Removing spent flowers makes the plants more attractive, it’s true, but more importantly it encourages the growth of new flowers. When flowers fade, they give way to seeds, which most gardeners don’t care about. By getting rid of the spent flowers before the seeds start to form, you keep the plant from expending all that energy – energy that can be better spent making more flowers. Deadheading isn’t always necessary, however, and the method can vary from plant to plant. Keep reading to learn more about how to deadhead a fuchsia plant.
Do Fuchsias Need to Be Deadheaded?
Fuchsias will drop their spent flowers naturally, so if you’re only interested in keeping things neat, deadheading fuchsia plants isn’t really necessary. However, when the flowers drop, they leave behind seed pods, which take energy to form and discourage the growth of new flowers.
This means that if you want your fuchsia to continue blooming throughout the summer, it’s a good idea to remove not just the faded flowers but also the swollen seed pods underneath them.
How and When to Deadhead Fuchsias
When your fuchsia plant is blooming, check it weekly or so for spent flowers. When a flower is starting to wilt or fade, it can be removed. You can use a pair of scissors or simply pinch off the flowers with your fingers. Make sure to remove the seed pod with it – this should be a swollen ball that’s green to deep blue.
If you want to encourage bushier, more compact growth as well as new flowers, pinch off a little bit higher on the stem, including the lowest set of leaves. The remaining stem ought to branch out from there. Just make sure you don’t accidentally pinch off any flower buds in the process.
That’s all there is to removing spent blooms on fuchsia plants.
This article was last updated on
Fuchsia plants are some of the earliest ones sold in spring. Why? Because these extravagant bloomers prefer cool air. For many types, their ideal growing temperature is 55° to 80°F. Some fuchsias stop forming flowers at higher temperatures. In regions with naturally cool summers, fuchsias thrive easily. In warmer regions, fuchsia plant care must be on target to keep these bloomers happy.
To succeed with fuchsias, give them bright indirect light in most regions with protection from afternoon sun. In foggy areas of Coastal California or the Pacific Northwest, where summers are cool, full sun is fine. Fuchsias perform well in containers on porches or north-facing patios.
Protect containers from prolonged sun exposure because fuchsia plants dislike hot soil. When temperatures slip into the 90s, many fuchsia flowers drop and plants stop blooming until lower temperatures return
Fuchsias are fussy about soil. It can’t be too wet, too dry or too hot. In containers, use a commercial bagged potting mix developed for the close confines of a pot. These mixes are soil-less, lightweight and drain well. Mix in a handful of compost to enhance soil fertility. To keep soil from overheating, site your fuchsia where the pot is shaded through much of the day. A porch, north-facing deck or partially shaded location works well. You can also create some shade by surrounding your fuchsia pot with other containers that shade it.
Successful fuchsia plant care requires attention to soil moisture. Avoid letting soil in containers dry out completely. Keep soil moist, but don’t overwater. The best gauge for knowing when to water is shoving your finger into soil or lifting the container. Wet soil is heavy dry pots are light.
To encourage fuchsia flowers to form in record numbers, pinch out growing tips until flower buds form. This works if you overwinter fuchsias or buy small seedlings. Removing stem tips causes stems to branch and become bushy. More branches mean more flowers.
For plants in full bloom when you buy them, keep the flower show going strong by watering with a water-soluble bloom booster fertilizer every 7 to 10 days. Slow-release bloom booster fertilizers work, too, but for fuchsias in containers, plants need more nutrients more often than a slow release delivers. Pair a slow release bloom booster with a weekly dose of water soluble bloom booster at half the recommended rate.
The last step in encouraging fuchsia flower formation is to remove the berry-like fruits that form on plants. They’ll appear as hard green fruits at first, then slowly ripen to a softer, often purple fruit. All types are edible, although many are flavorless or have an unpleasant aftertaste. Fuchsia splendens is supposed to have the tastiest fruit that folks use to make jam.
To overwinter fuchsia, bring plants indoors prior to the first hard freeze. Cut plants back by at least half. Place them in a cool location, like an unheated bedroom or basement, where the temperature hovers near 45° to 50°F (temps near 60° F are okay). Water occasionally—just enough to keep roots from drying out. Leaves will drop until you have a pot of bare stems.
In spring, after all danger of frost has passed, carry your pot outdoors. Replace the first inch or two of soil with compost-laced potting mix water thoroughly. As new growth appears, trim branches. Pinch growing tips until first flower buds appear. Pinching results in bushier plants. Overwintering works best for fuchsias you planted yourself in a blend of potting mix and compost. It’s tough to overwinter hanging baskets because the soil mix they’re in tends to dry out and won’t rehydrate.
How to pinch out fuchsias
Pinching out fuchsias helps create bushy growth. Find out how to do it, in our How-to guide.
Published: Sunday, 14 April, 2019 at 3:00 pm
Do not To do in September
Pinching out the soft growing tips of fuchsia plants encourages the development of bushy side shoots that will be covered in summer flowers. Ideally start pinching out in spring and continue until early summer. The first fuchsia flowers will be produced around four to six weeks after the last pinching.
You Will Need
On young fuchsia plants or rooted cuttings, allow two to three pairs of leaves to fully expand before pinching out the soft shoot tips.
Use scissors, a knife or your finger nail to gently remove the shoot tips. Repeat the pinching two or three more times, allowing two pairs of leaves to expand fully on each of the subsequent side shoots. This may take between 10 and 20 days, depending on the speed of growth.
Don’t forget to pinch out the tips of hardy garden fuchsias a couple of times. This will stop the plants becoming too leggy and promote masses of blooms right through into the autumn.