- Managing Nasturtiums: Controlling Spread and Maximizing Benefits - September 23, 2023
- How To Know if Nasturtium Seeds Are Viable - September 23, 2023
- Will a Mandevilla Come Back After a Freeze? - September 22, 2023
Fuschia is a popular potted plant known for its gorgeous trailing blossoms, which come in many colors. Knowing how to keep your fuchsia healthy means more blossoms each growing season. Pruning is an important part of this process.
If you don’t prune a fuchsia, it will have fewer blooms and less new foliage the following season. Cutting these plants back encourages new growth that wouldn’t happen otherwise. It results in more branch tips, which means more flowers since fuchsia produces flowers at the tip of every branch.
This article will explore when and how to prune your fuchsia. I will also include details about pruning different types of fuchsia, including upright and trailing varieties.
When To Prune a Fuchsia
The best time to prune your fuchsia is early spring, when new growth has just started. Pruning earlier means the plant will blossom earlier in the season. In fact, you can prune fuchsia during its dormant phase, but only if it’s one of the hardy varieties that can withstand very low temperatures.
Some hardy fuchsia varieties include:
- Alice Hoffman
- Dollar Princess
- Heidi Ann
- Mrs. Popple
- Wicked Queen
- Lady Bacon
If you live in an area with a warmer climate, you can prune less hardy varieties in late winter. Just make sure you wait until the weather is warming and the plant is coming out of dormancy (i.e. when new leaves start forming).
The only time you should not prune a fuchsia is when it’s very young, as in the plant’s first growing season.
How To Prune a Fuchsia
Now that you know why and when to prune, let’s get to the ‘how.’ Fuchsia plants love to be pruned and will respond well to being cut back by at least 50% at the end of their dormancy period. The stems should be about 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) long after cutting (source).
Fuchsia will also benefit from mild pruning at the end of spring or early summer. Cutting back 30-35% during this time will result in a renewed explosion of growth and blossoms in the second half of the growing season.
Fuschia should also get minor pruning all through the year. Deadheading and removing withered and dying branches encourages the plant to produce new growth no matter the season.
Pruning can be done with small pruning shears that have been sanitized to prevent cross-contamination of bacteria and infection from other plants.
Lastly, always prune to about ¼ inch (0.6 cm) above a node (growth point). This encourages the plant to produce two new branches for a fuller plant with more blossoms.
Pruning Upright Fuchsia Varieties
Pruning a fuchsia that grows upright is slightly different from pruning a trailing variety. However, you should always keep an eye on the plant’s overall shape.
The shape you prune it into will significantly affect the shape of the regrowth. You want a full, evenly rounded plant, so do your pruning as follows.
First, completely remove any branches that are:
- Thin or misshapen
- Crossing or oddly angled
Once all the unwanted branches have been removed, cut the rest of the growth back no less than 30-50% depending on the time of year (as described above).
In terms of shaping, it’s best to go with the natural shape of the variety you have. If the variety you have tends to grow in a tree shape, prune into that shape. If it grows in a column shape, prune it into a column, and so on.
Don’t try to prune a columnar plant into a bush shape or vice versa. Just go with the plant’s natural shape and growth style, as this will produce the healthiest and best-looking results.
Pruning Trailing Fuchsia Varieties
Trailing fuchsia is usually kept in hanging pots, so you want a full, bushy plant with many overhanging branches displaying the gorgeous blossoms prominently.
To achieve this, follow the same initial steps as you would for an upright fuchsia.
- Remove unwanted branches.
- Prune back the outer branches 30-50%.
The shaping is where things are a little different.
Only prune back the branches at the center of the plant to 6 inches (15 cm) in length (unless they have dead or unhealthy growth). Leaving the central branches of the plant long will encourage it to focus on growing new outer branches with more flowers while leaving the center of the plant full and attractive.
At the end of the growing season (fall), prune the lower branches back, so they’re no longer hanging over the edge of the pot.
Do You Need To Deadhead Fuchsia?
You don’t need to deadhead your fuchsia unless you want it to continuously produce new growth during spring and summer. You can also wait to do a smaller pruning mid-season.
Either way, cutting off the dead and dying blossoms will encourage the plant to continue creating new growth and new blossoms rather than focusing on producing seed pods.
Don’t prune or deadhead during the hottest part of summer, as the plant will already be stressed by high temperatures.
How To Deadhead
You can deadhead using your shears or by pinching off the ends of the stems with your fingers.
Cut the end of the stem behind the flower and seed pod, about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) in front of the next node. The node will be easily recognizable because it will have two leaves stemming from it. You can cut back further if you want, but always cut back to a node and leave at least two nodes on the branch.
How To Fix a Leggy Fuchsia
If your fuchsia has been a little neglected or just hasn’t flourished, don’t worry! A leggy plant can easily be revived come springtime when new leaves are starting to bud.
The best way to fix a leggy fuchsia is to prune it. Here’s how to go about it:
- Remove dead and unhealthy growth.
- Trim the center branches back to 6 inches (15 cm) in length.
- Cut the rest of the branches back to the pot rim or just inside it.
Fuchsia are beautiful flowering plants that absolutely flourish when pruned properly. Prune back 50% of the growth at the beginning of the growing season (early spring) and follow that up with a 30-35% trim near the end of spring or early summer.
You can also deadhead throughout the season, but avoid cutting the plant at all during the height of summer.
The center stems of a trailing fuchsia variety should be trimmed back minimally to about 6 inches (15 cm) in length. Meanwhile, upright fuchsia should be trimmed evenly according to its natural growth shape.