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I hope all your plants are all growing well and you are looking forward to the season now the days are lengthening.
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After a cold spell in April and early May, we have had some weeks of hot summer weather accompanied by some severe thunderstorms. I hope your plants are growing well in these conditions. As I write this the next week is supposed to be a bit cooler with some rain.
There seems to have been an lot of moths and butterflies around so watch out for eggs laid by the tortrix or elephant hawk moths. They will be single eggs (elephant hawk moth) or clusters (tortrix moth). If allowed to hatch the caterpillars will do a lot of damage to your fuchsias.
Hardy fuchsias also need feeding, and the best time to do it is when I give them their spring prune. A slow release fertiliser is the easiest way of feeding and you will notice the difference during the summer with the quantity of flowers and the healthy growth.
Finally a bit of mulch around the plants will help hold in the moisture and keep their roots cool
Next new hardies for your garden –
When you actually plant them out will depend on where you live and when you feel the danger of frosts is past. I generally reckon towards the end of May. Also do not leave planting out until too late in the summer, as the plant will not have time to establish and is less likely to survive the winter – early July is the latest ideally
Firstly we need to establish what is a hardy fuchsia? The best way to find out is to pay a visit to your local specialist nursery, they will advise you on what range of fuchsias will be hardy in your part of the country. Fuchsias that are recognised as hardy can vary considerably if you live in the north or the south of the country! If in doubt try the tried and tested hardies that have been around for many years – they will rarely let you down!
A hardy fuchsia is only hardy when it is planted in the ground so any fuchsia in a pot is liable to be killed by the frost affecting the roots. Standard fuchsias will never be truly hardy as the stem is the weak point and if you don’t give them protection you could end up with a nice bush fuchsia the following year!
Firstly choose a spot in your garden that ideally gets some sun, but not too much. Ideally, when you plant them out the fuchsias should be in a 4” to 5” pot. Dig the hole larger than the pot – so that you can plant the fuchsia lower than it was before, so the roots are protected. A larger hole will also enable you to put something “nice” around the plants roots, very few of us have perfect garden soil and some compost around the roots will give the plant a better chance of survival. Leave a small dip around the plant – so that as you water it, the water does not run away from the roots. Watering and feeding is vital for at least the first summer. Feed once a week throughout the summer and it will help ensure that the plant establishes a good root run – and therefore a better chance of surviving the first winter!
Once established then Hardy fuchsias will be the most generous of plants giving you months of flowers through to the first frosts!
Fuchsia Gall Mite
Last autumn there have been more cases of Fuchsia Gall mite recorded and so we all need to keep being vigilant. They are still in the South and West and close to the coast – however this might not always be the case. So please keep an eye on your plants and those of your neighbours.
We are tracking where and when cases are found - please can you contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the post codes of any places where it is found.
Don’t forget if you have any questions on fuchsias – please ask us and we will do our best to help – we have a great team who will answer your emails.
Please see our fact-sheet on Fuchsia Gall Mite - click here