Trailing fuchsias are ideal for hanging baskets; upright types are grown as pot plants or developed as standards. No longer are you limited to the purple-red blossoms of the species you may indulge your fancy for colors from white through pink to. red, orange, orchid, even blue, and for single or double flowers.
Fuchsias like a cool temperature and a humid atmosphere, but unless air circulation is adequate, there may be trouble with fungous diseases. The plants are not extremely fussy in their light requirements and will do well in full sun or light shade except during summer, when they must be shaded lightly. They require a lot of water when in active growth, which means soil must be kept moist. Planting mix must be coarse enough to allow excellent drainage. Try a mix of equal parts Ieafmold, garden loam, well-rotted manure, and add a small amount of clean sharp sand to aid drainage. Feed regularly every two weeks while in active growth fish emulsion is good.
Fuchsias may be summered in the greenhouse, or outdoors under lath or other light shade. When returning to the greenhouse in fall, let plants rest for a month by keeping them almost dry. Then remove from pots, scrape away some of the old soil, and repot in the same size pot in fresh soil.
A fuchsia standard, or tree, is not difficult to grow and the result is well worth the little extra attention required. Transfer a well-rooted cutting to a 6- or 7-inch pot. When it is growing well, stake it to insure a straight sturdy stem. Rub off side shoots as they appear and allow only the main stem to grow until it reaches the desired height. Then pinch so the top will become a many-branched, bushy head. Pinch at intervals as growth continues, and you will have a nicely shaped standard in about two years.
Fuchsia to be used in hanging baskets should be trailing varieties that are self-branching. If self-branching kinds are not available, pinch other trailing types to encourage branching.
Propagate fuchsias by cuttings taken anytime from October through March and rooted in moist sand. Transfer rooted cuttings to 2/2-inch pots and grow them slightly warmer than mature plants, about 52 to 55 F until well established. The next move is to a 4- or 5-inch pot; or, for full bushy specimens, place three plants in a 6-inch pot and pinch. Pinched plants flower seven or eight weeks after the last pinch. Fuchsias may be grown from seed interesting, because the seeds do not always come true and you may grow a new or unusual form.
Fuchsias are susceptible to several pests white flies, mealy bugs, thrips, and red spiders and should be sprayed regularly.