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How to Cut Back a Fuschia Plant

By Thomas K. Arnold ; Updated September 21, 2017

Fuchsias are flowering shrubs, mostly native to South American countries with temperate to tropical climates. They are known for their decorative, bell-shaped flowers that drop like a pendulum from the branches. Flowers typically have four long, slender sepals and four shorter, broader petals, brightly colored in reds, purples, and pinks, to attract hummingbirds for pollination. Fuchsias are perennials and must be trimmed regularly to get rid of dead growth and encourage new growth.

How to Cut Back Fuchsias That Grow in Baskets

Put the basket on a table or flat surface and clear out all dead leaves, branches, and other debris, so you can clearly see the plant.

Gently take each branch in your hand and, with your clippers, cut about half its length away. When you're finished your plant will likely look like a wet dog with a terrible haircut, but don't fret--this is the only way to encourage new growth, and besides, you're not done.

Take your sharp knife and slice away all the little dead branches you can now see inside your fuchsia bush. Slice away the ones jutting out from the branches, and then cut the smaller branches as well, leaving only the medium to large ones. If there are branches that cross one another, cut the weakest one and leave the strongest one.

Put some fresh potting mix in the pot and water thoroughly. Your newly shorn fuchsia should begin developing new growth almost immediately.

How to Cut Back Fuchsias That Grow in the Ground

Clear out the ground around your fuchsia and dispose of in a trash can. This will give you a clear view of the plant, and also minimize the risk of spreading spider mites, gall mites or whiteflies often found in old fuchsia growth.

Cut off weaker, smaller branches and trim the larger, stronger ones so that the entire plant is no more than a foot off the ground. Use your clippers and trim away, making clean, smooth cuts.

Take the knife and go over the plant, slicing out tiny branches that shoot out from the main stem or larger branches.

Clear up all the debris and dispose of in the trash. Spray the fuchsia, which by this point should be pretty much bare, with a light oil spray or miticide.

Fertilize your fuchsia in the spring, just as new growth starts to develop. Use a fertilizer high in nitrogen.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Clippers
  • Sharp knife
  • Potting mix

Tips

  • Fuchsias only flower on new growth, so it is important to cut back your fuchsia after each blooming cycle, generally in the fall or early winter.
  • For a fuller, denser fuchsia bush, "stop" growth during the growing season by cutting off the growing tips from stems after they have grown three our four pairs of leaves.

Warning

  • Never let old leaves, branches or flowers fall to the ground. Fuchsias are very susceptible to disease and insect infestation and dead flowers and leaves may contain whitefly eggs or larvae.

References

About the Author

 

Thomas K. Arnold is publisher and editorial director of "Home Media Magazine" and a regular contributor to "Variety." He is a former editorial writer for U-T San Diego. He also has written for "San Diego Magazine," "USA Today" and the Copley News Service. Arnold attended San Diego State University.