Trailing fuchsias are popular, attractive house and patio plants that produce whimsical flowers that some people think resemble a ballerina. Fuchsias are frost-tender, so you must protect them in winter if your temperatures drop below freezing and you receive frost or snow, but they do well indoors, especially in hanging baskets, for part of the year. According to the Southwest Portland (Oregon) Fuchsia Club, fuchsias thrive in a partly shady outdoor area, such as under a tree, during the warmer months.
Plant your trailing fuchsia in a hanging basket or pot that accents your décor. Make sure that your pot or basket has at least one drainage hole and use a standard potting soil. Water it well, until water seeps out of the pot or basket’s drainage holes.
Move your trailing fuchsia indoors or to a protected area where the temperature does not dip below about 40 degrees Fahrenheit all winter, according to the Southwest Portland Fuchsia Club. When outdoor temperatures rise to 40 degrees at night or above, hang your fuchsia outdoors—under an arbor or tree is a good location because this plant prefers filtered or partial sunlight. If you want to move your plant outdoors during mild winter days, it will respond well to the natural light. Move it back indoors at night.
Clip a clothespin to each branch that begins to form blossoms to encourage it to hang down. Remove the clothespin after the flower develops into a plump pod because it will be heavy enough to dangle where it will be most attractive.
Water your fuchsia thoroughly before you fertilize it for the first time in spring after you move it outdoors. To encourage blossoms, use a “blossom booster” or low-nitrogen plant food. You can fertilize your fuchsia every time you water if you mix your fertilizer to 1/4 the strength listed on the label instructions.
Prune your trailing fuchsia in fall or spring when you first move it outdoors. The Southwest Portland Fuchsia Club recommends cutting back all “wispy, weak growth, leaving only sturdier branches.” Always cut off spindly, light green foliage. Then cut back all other branches, leaving two or three nodes on each from its connection point to the main stem. Also, rub off any loose bark on older plants—it can provide hiding places for harmful insects.
Repot your trailing fuchsia every two years to ensure that it doesn’t become rootbound. The Southwest Portland Fuchsia Club advises that it is a good practice to trim off “thick, dark roots” that are tangled. Leave the finer roots. You can tell when it’s time to repot your fuchsia if there are tiny white roots all the way to the bottom of the pot.
Things You Will Need
- Hanging basket or pot
- Standard potting soil
- Garden clippers or pruning shears
- Pinch off faded flowers and seed pods promptly to encourage the plant to grow and produce more blossoms.
- Check your fuchsia for insect pests frequently (the Southwest Portland Fuchsia Club says to check every day). If you see white flies or other insects that might harm your plant, it's easier to treat them before an infestation becomes severe.
- Trailing fuchsias respond well to a daily misting of water, especially on hot days---not only does this improve the humidity, it also discourages spider mites that can harm your plant.
- Always remove fallen leaves and flowers from your fuchsia's pot to prevent fungal diseases and hiding places for insects.