IT'S THE WEEKEND: Fabulous fuchsias brighten Gwent gardens
1:36pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
NO ONE can deny that Gwent’s fuchsias look fabulous at the moment.
As the season draws to a close, the colourful plant has had a final burst of show, prompting the question for many aspiring gardeners: how can I achieve that?
Anna Jones, of Usk Garden Centre, has seen some beautiful fuchsias there this year.
Mrs Jones said: “Basically, you would buy a fuchsia plant from a garden centre in the spring and choose from hardy and non-hardy varieties.
“You buy them as a small plant in the spring and grow them on. It is important to keep both types indoors until the middle of May, when you can plant them outside.
“As green plants, they like it not too hot and sunny, although they do like the sun in the morning, they don’t like to be baked.
“The flower buds begin to form in May and then they flower in June.”
Non-hardy fuchsias have thousands of varieties, with bush varieties such as Winston Churchill, Diana Princess of Wales. Trailing varieties include Pink Galore and Blue Eyes and are great for hanging baskets.
Hardy fuchsias have fewer varieties, with about 20 available. They can be put in a container and remain in the ground, but most die off when hard frosts come.
Mrs Jones recommends cutting them back in the autumn, which enables them to come back to life quickly in the springtime.
Marion Powell of the Usk in Bloom committee believes that the fuchsia is essential in every flowering garden: “There are so many varieties and colours and they bloom throughout the summer.
“I think the appeal is the different colours and sizes, and as they are not too difficult to manage, some people have nothing but fuchsias in their garden.”
The Royal Horticultural Society says all fuchsias need the same general routine care. In the garden, grow them in fertile, moist, but well-drained soil, with shelter from cold, drying winds. In containers, use a loam-based potting compost (John Innes No 3) or peat-free multi-purpose compost. Water plants sufficiently to keep the compost moist but not waterlogged. Do not leave plants standing in water. Fuchsias prefer shade for the hottest part of the day.
Half-hardy fuchsia: Overwinter in frost-free conditions. In hanging baskets, they may need to be watered daily). In baskets or containers, plants benefit from a balanced, liquid fertiliser in late summer
Hardy fuchsia: Plant the base of the stem 5cm (2in) below the soil surface. Protect the crown in autumn with a mulch of compost, bark or straw. Take cuttings in early autumn as insurance against frost damage. Apply a dressing of general fertiliser in spring and again in summer
Standard fuchsia: Should always be brought under cover for winter as the main stem is prone to frost damage even if the variety is considered hardy. A balanced, liquid fertiliser in summer encourages better blooms over a long flowering period.
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