Have you also always disposed of your fuchsias in the fall, only to buy new specimens in the spring? Most amateur gardeners do so, but it is not difficult to bring this beautiful perennial plant through the winter. Especially hardy fuchsias are perfectly suitable for this purpose. We list some of these varieties and explain how to overwinter fuchsias – depending on whether they are in a pot on the balcony or in the garden bed.
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Winter hardy varieties for tubs and boxes
To make wintering a little easier, you can opt for varieties that have been bred to be more hardy. Below you will get a list of such varieties, among which you can find both standing and hanging varieties.
- Alice Hoffmann – standing
- Ballerina – standing
- Caledonia – standing
- Cardinal Farges – standing
- Delocate Purple – semi-hanging
- Dollar Princess – standing
- Fuchsia regia ssp. reitzii – standing wild variety for open ground
- Magelan fuchsia – standing wild variety for open ground
- Tom West – hanging
Despite better winter hardiness, you should take some important measures to ensure that the plants can really survive the cold winter. What are they?
How to overwinter fuchsias?
Like most plant species, fuchsia goes into winter dormancy and this is also very important to ensure healthy and lush growth in the coming season. If the natural conditions are not sufficient for the plant to go into hibernation by itself, we should help or rather not disturb the process (for example, a room with low temperatures instead of a heated one). What do you need to do if you want to overwinter hardy fuchsias?
Where are the plants best to spend the winter?
You can both overwinter the fuchsias in the basement or other winter quarters (non-hardy varieties), and outside in the garden, if you planted them in the bed. We summarize the most important things for both variants:
Potted plants are best placed in a bright, frost-free place with temperatures between 8 and 10 degrees. There, water them very sparingly, because they need water only in such quantities to keep the roots from drying out. Fertilizing is not done at all. If you have only a dark and cooler place available (between 2 and 8 degrees), this is also not a problem. Then only the time for pruning will change (see below) and in this case you should aerate regularly to prevent fungal growth.
Bedding plants can remain outside after you have pruned them (cut off one third of the plant). This is ideally done after the first frost. Then the fuchsias need frost protection to overwinter by first mounding them with soil and then covering them with leaves, brushwood, bark mulch or straw. If you want to play it safe, you can also place a protective plant fleece over the fuchsia.
Tip: Evergreen ground covers offer the best winter protection. This allows garden fuchsias to be underplanted with them, making a layer of winter protection unnecessary.
Preparations in late summer and fall
Plants must be able to adjust to the fact that winter dormancy is approaching. And while this happens in the wild all by itself, you can quickly disturb the plant in the process of domestic cultivation by the wrong care. In most cases, this happens due to the wrong fertilizing, or late stop. Already from September you do not need to provide the fuchsia with nutrients, so that it can stop growing.
Overwintering and pruning fuchsias
Furthermore, you need to cut back the fuchsias to reduce the risk of diseases and pests. The exception is potted and box plants , which you can bring through the winter indoors in a cool and bright place (about 10 degrees). Pruning is not necessary in this case, because the brightness would cause new shoots, but they will be too cold. Instead, do not carry this out until spring. If the place is dark, calmly prune in the fall, but before the first frost, as follows:
- leave one or two eyes on the plant per shoot
- remove the leaves (except for small-leaved varieties)
- remove withered flowers
- clean the plant: cut off dead plant parts and shoots that you find annoying
Overwintering fuchsias – at what point is it time for the winter quarters?
Although the plant inherently prefers cooler temperatures, those below zero are fatal for it. Frost will damage it, and in the long run it will also cause it to freeze. No matter what hardy variety you choose, winter protection is mandatory. And after you overwinter fuchsias in pots, don’t be in too much of a hurry to bring them back outside in the spring. There should be no danger from mid-May or the Ice Saints. Theoretically, you can try it from April, but for plants overwintered near zero-degree temperature, and then you need to find a location that is protected from frost. Gradually accustom the plant to conditions outside again.
First care measures after the winter
Already in early spring, you may cover the plants in the bed again. Now you can also check them for dead parts and remove them if necessary.
Gradually accustom the potted plants to the conditions outside again and from now on keep the soil moist, but not wet. At night, the potted plant first comes back inside, because temperatures around 20 degrees are currently her favorite. You can also spoil it with a new, larger pot and fresh substrate. If the plant has already sprouted, put it in a semi-shaded place for the time being, so that the young shoots do not burn from the sudden sun.