Overwintering Fuchsia in Pots
Pruned and cleaned ready for overwintering
During late Autumn all fuchsias in pots that I wish to overwinter have all flowers and foliage removed and anything between one third and one half of stems and branches cut-back, (this depends on variety of fuchsia). As a general rule always leave between 4 and 6 inches of old stems above soil level. Also remove at least 1 inch of soil from top of pot, give them a real good clean. Spray with insecticide and fungicide. If leaving your plant in same pot treat with ‘Provado’ (kills vine-weevil larvae).
You can if you wish ‘pot-down’ at this stage. This procedure means that (a) the plants take up less space when overwintering and (b) it is better for the plant and roots not to be in too bigger pot during overwintering. Remove plant from pot, tease out at least half of old soil; remove any old brown roots leaving as much fine white root as possible. Place in new pot, at least 2 sizes smaller, add fresh soil, give adequate water to settle new soil, but do not drench with water. A good way to avoid overwatering during the winter months is to place plastic saucers underneath the pots and give water via the saucer. The moisture then goes straight to the root area, this also avoids having a whole pot full of wet soil, which you would have if you watered from the top, which in turn helps against fungi developing such as botrytis. Place in greenhouse for the winter at 45f/8c.
If you do not have a greenhouse, and wish to bring them back into growth straight away, place in a well lit, cool room e.g. windowsill, no direct sunlight, but you must turn them frequently, so as to keep their shape. Re-pot as above. Keep them moist but not wet. Spray branches and stems with tepid water once per day, this helps new foliage to come back. As soon as new foliage appears start shaping again, ready for next season.
Another way of overwintering is to keep plants frost free, with little or no light, and just keep slightly moist, (otherwise they will die). They will not start to shoot new growth until you bring them back into light and warmth. Using this method it is best if you delay re-potting until the following Spring.
If you live in parts of the world where they really don’t die down for the winter, it is still best, when they are looking a bit ‘tired and weary’, to let them have a ‘rest period’, trim them back and re-pot if necessary.
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