How To Cut Back Your Fuchsias!
How to Videos:
We at Weidners strive to help you succeed in your gardening. I hope that these 3 videos will help you do just that with your Fuchsias. You can pause and replay as many times are you need to and save the link for the future. Just click on the links below and it will take you to our You Tube videos. Enjoy!
You probably bought a fuchsia basket that looked something like this.
In Southern California the best time to cut back your fuchsia basket is in the middle of the winter. In actuality here in our climate you may cut back at any time. Because most fuchsias are spring, fall bloomers winter is the ideal cut back time. In other parts of the country follow your local nursery directions. Your fuchsia will soon be ready to come into bloom again sometime in the spring.
You will need:
- a table or flat surface to work on
- clippers or a sharp knife
- a small amount of fresh potting mix
- a larger basket or container if needed
- Add in a plastic trash bag for trash
- a little courage.
Note: we are using several different fuchsias to show you the cut back stages. You may notice the difference but we want you to see the best images to help you.
Take a good look at the pictures and you'll see the different stages of cutting back a fuchsia basket.
Put your basket on the table and cut back all the branches about 1/2 way. You'll be cutting more so this is quick and dirty to allow you to see your plant better.
Now you can really see the branches that are left.
Begin to fine tune your pruning by cutting away all of the little thin branches. We want to leave the good strong medium and large branches. Are there branches that cross over other branches? Leave the strongest and cut off the other.
Since your fuchsia will send out new growth from the old wood you may safely cut back your plant to somewhere just outside the outer edge of your container.
Fuchsias bloom on new growth,if you don't cut back at some point during the year all your growth will be on the tips of the strongest old branches and you will end up with a 3 or 4 armed monster with a few blooms at the end of long ugly branches
Clean out the old leaves and trash from the base of the plant. Go ahead and clip off more of those branches almost to the edge of your container.
If this seems scary remember the advice in Proverbs about sparing the rod and spoiling the child Remember that? Well, Mother Evelyn and Mother Nature have written a new one! "Spare the clippers and spoil the plant"! Write that down in your plant bible.
To the right is the cut back basket. You will have very few if any leaves left when you finish. Be sure you have cleaned away any old leaves or debris in the pot. Take off about half an inch off the soil in the pot and fill in with some new fresh potting mix.
Hang your basket up, water if it needs it. Don't forget that at this time it won't need very much water.
All you have to do is wait for the new growth to begin.
More details and videos on how to pinch properly coming soon.
Frequently Asked questions. Not all your questions but we'll answer a few.
Question:What is a node and how do you find it on an old woody plant?
A node is the word we use for where new growth starts from an existing stem.
We use this word often when we talk about plants. When we talk about pinching
a plant, we might use the term "pinch to the 2nd or 3rd node" That
means you take away all the growth except the last 2 or 3 three nodes.
This is a little complicated but keep reading and I'll try to make it clear. Look at the picture to the left and you can see all the new shoots beginning to grow.
These shoots are all starting out of the old wood. That growth is coming from an old joint or node. That is how your fuchsia will look as it starts to grow again.
When those shoots get longer than your little finger it is time to pinch out the growing tip. We call that a "pinch". You pinch out the tip and you often do it with your fingers by just "pinching" out the soft new tip. Where you do that it forces the nodes on the little shoot to make more little shoots and so it goes. Grow, pinch grow, Grow,pinch grow until your basket it nice and full.
If you don't pinch at the right time then your shoot has gotten waaay too long and we tell you to pinch to the 2nd or 3rd node. You start at the tip and count inwards until there are only 2 or 3 leaf nodes left. Look at the picture and try counting to where the pinch would be. .
The new growth should begin to grow in a few weeks.
You should see little green sprouts starting to come out of the old wood. Look at the picture again. See the little sprouts coming out of the bare branches. When your plant begins to look like this then it is time to start to feed and pinch.
Where do I make my cuts?
Every place where there is a node whether there are any leaves or not...That is the place where your new growth is going to begin.. Make your cut just above it. Not right on it because you often have some of the stem die back a little bit below the cut. Any time you prune a plant you make the cut above a leaf node. Look to see which way the node is pointing. You can then help your new growth come out the correct direction. Cut just above the leaf node pointing in the direction you want the new growth to point. This is not too important on a fuchsia basket plant so don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. Actually, don't worry about where you cut, since your fuchsia will survive even if you don't cut exactly right.
I forgot to cut back my fuchsia in the winter.Now it is spring and it is blooming and growing. Shall I cut it back now or wait or what?
Take a good look at your fuchsia basket. If it is full and good looking then go ahead and leave it. You can trim it back later when it is going through a seed pod cycle. If your fuchsia has lots of woody growth and looks pretty bad then go ahead and cut it back and you will have to wait several months for a good plant with bloom.
I still don't understand "pinching"
When we use the term 'pinch' it is just that. We pinch out the end or the tip of the branch. When you pinch out the tip it temporarily stops the growth that is going straight out and encourages the side shoots to grow. The natural path of growth for any plant is to grow longer and longer.
We want a plant that is bushy and full. We use the terminology of pinching to the 2nd, the third, or any other number we choose. That means you leave 2, 3, or 4 nodes on that particular branch to grow. When they are long enough then you pinch out the tips of those side shoots.
To grow a really nice full fuchsia basket we pinch them at least 3 times. this is very time consuming especially as the basket gets larger and has lots more tips that must all be given a pinchl
All sorts of plants are pinched, not just fuchsias.the purpose is always the same . To encourage a nice full bushy plant that you will want to buy.
see all the small branches coming out from the main stem. Tat's what happens when we pinch.
We usually pinch the tip of any cutting when we first stick it. However if we are growing a fuchsia tree then we certainly don't want to pinch. We want that straight up growth. We then call it the 'leader' and as it grows we will pinch off any side shoots that come out along the main stem. When the main stem gets bigger and stronger then we even call it the trunk. Eventually in a fuchsia tree or a tree rose we do pinch out the top tip and begin to form what we call the 'head' or a ball of branches and flowers.
You cannot make a fuchsia tree out of a fuchsia that has already been pinched. The bigger fuchsia that we call a tub is what you get when you take an upright growing fuchsia and allow multiple stems to grow up and bloom.
They are all pretty and each has its own special place in your garden.