Q&A: Taking care of the fuchsia

Q: My father has had to go into hospital for a few days and he is worried about the fuchsias in his greenhouse. He has asked me to look after them. Can you advise me?


A: I assume the fuchsias in question were started into growth and repotted a few weeks ago; if so, they should be showing signs of fresh growth.

Spraying them with water encourages them to continue to grow and also helps maintain a humid atmosphere, which the plants appreciate.

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If your father is a fuchsia aficionado, he probably also pruned some plants last month and these should be throwing out new shoots – new shoots ideal for taking cuttings.

Take tips cuttings – remove the tip just above a healthy bud so you have an inch or so of plant. Remove the lowest leaves, leaving the top pair intact.

Dip the bases of the cuttings in a hormone rooting powder and pop them into small pots (or a plastic tray divided into little compartments) filled with a mix of compost and vermiculite.

Water the cuttings and put them in a propagator where they can enjoy a temperature of 65-70F. In a few weeks, most, if not all, should have rooted, making your dad a very happy man.