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How to Care for Fuschia Plants

The fuchsia is a perennial flowering tree or shrub. Also known as lady's eardrops, the fuchsia has long, delicate, hanging stems loaded with purple and pink pendulous blooms. It grows in the garden as a bush or shrub, but also does well in a pot or hanging basket. According to Ron Monnier of the American Fuchsia Society, growing a beautiful and healthy fuchsia plant "boils down to some very basic premises." As long as the plant gets lots of food, lives in moderate temperatures and the roots remain somewhat cool, it will thrive.

Grow your fuchsia in dappled sunlight and moderate temperatures, in a well-draining, loamy soil with a high manure content. The ideal temperature range is between 60 and 70 F. The lowest temperature that the fuchsia will tolerate is 40 F, and the plant will cease to bloom above 80 F. High temperatures can overheat the roots and kill the plant.

Soak your fuchsia. It loves water, especially in the middle of the summer when the water helps cool the roots. If the soil texture is correct, the water should drain quickly so the plant is wet, but not sitting in water.

Feed the fuchsia heavily during the summer. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 18-18-18, diluted to half strength, and apply it whenever you water the plant.

Avoid pests and diseases by misting the plant frequently, removing dead flowers and leaves, and re-potting when the soil becomes hard and packed. The Northwest Fuchsia Society suggests that for treatments of infestations of aphids, white flies and spider mites, spray the leaves of the plant with a mixture of one part alcohol (isopropyl, 70 percent) to three or four parts water and a couple of drops of vegetable oil.

Prune the fuchsia after the last frost. The American Fuchsia Society recommends watering the plant and giving it an application of fertilizer, at half normal strength, a few days prior to pruning it. Cut away any dead branches and, because the plant will bloom only on new growth, cut to within one or two bud sections of the previous year's pruning. Make the cut just above a bud section.

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