This post comes from Rupert Precious, managing director of Montrose of Guernsey, a supplier of plants to QVC.
Most fuchsias look exotic with their profusion of flamboyant flowers all summer long, but the giant trailing fuchsias are a real breakthrough in plant breeding and will be the talk of the neighbourhood when you plant them in your garden.
At home in both traditional and more formal settings, the naturally pendant, trailing fuchsias produce some of the most unmistakably beautiful blooms of all summer flowering plants. Among those varieties are the aptly named ‘Giants’, whose impressive flowers can reach up to a staggering 5in (12 cm) across. Exciting introductions are made each year as breeders release their new varieties into the marketplace. In recent years, we have seen marbled types and new bi-colours added to the list of the varieties available. This year is no exception, these sought after plants are a showstopper in every sense.
To get the most out of these trailing treasures, the trick is to keep it simple. Consider your colour palette carefully and decide what you would like the overall effect to be. Perhaps a group of romantic, restful pastels to add a touch of elegance to a quiet seating area, or maybe some warm, vibrant contrasts to draw your attention to an entrance or simply wake up a plain area of patio? Colours range from shades of scarlet red and deep purple, through to oranges and pinks, peaches, creams and crisp whites.
Remember; odd numbers are best. If you’re aiming for the traditional cottage garden look, you’ll require three pots of differing sizes or differing heights and a mix of varieties. For a more formal arrangement, three identical pots, planted with the same variety and displayed in a line will do the job nicely.
The ideal and most popular way to display your giant flowering fuchsias is in hanging baskets, where their intricately layered, exquisite flowers can be enjoyed at eye level. It’s tempting to overcrowd a basket when planting out young plants, but remember to give each plant enough space to grow, so ideally plant three plants grown in 3in pots into an 18in basket or container, so the plants can breathe and spread. It also reduces competition in the basket for nutrients and water. A 24in basket could take 5 plants so alter your plant volume accordingly.
Care of young plants
While fuchsias are really deciduous plants, most are grown for containers and treated as annuals. Generally bought as cutting raised young plants, when you receive your young plants pot them on into a 3in pot with multi purpose compost, water and feed well with Flower Power and keep them frost free. Plant them out after the last frosts or pre-plant your containers grow them on in a heated greenhouse until the lasts frosts have finished.
Most fuchsias will only produce flowers on their growing tips; therefore, the more growing tips on your plant, the more flowers you will have. That means pinching out! If a growing tip is removed by pinching out, a new tip will appear at each leaf axil below this, if you pitch out the shoot tips twice in the early stages of growth this will delay the flowering but will produce an abundance of flowers later in the season.
Feeding and watering
Fuchsias are very easy garden guests – not greedy or fussy – they are happy in any general multi-purpose compost and will really thrive with a regular feeding of Flower Power. Plants will be perfectly happy as long as they aren’t allowed to dry out. They do like moisture, so a little shade in the day will offer a bit of protection against drying out.
It’s a good idea to do some deadheading throughout the season, removing the berry behind the flowers as well as the flower, this will keep the plants in tip-top condition and promote flowering.