How To Prune A Fuchsia

purple and hot pink fuchsia flowers on a vine

Fuchsia is a very colorful plant that can be pruned to create a particular shape or style of growth. A very important reason to prune a fuchsia at least once a year is that they will not grow flowers on old wood.

Step 1 - Examine the Plant

Late July to August is the best time to start thinking about pruning a fuchsia. Check the plant to decide if you want to prune to enhance the appearance or produce better blooms.

Step 2 - Make First Major Cut

pruners clipping a branch

Cutting back by half in late autumn is often a good start for outdoor plants. Plants in pots should be cut back to four to eight inches above the soil level. These cuts produce the skeleton for the new growth.

Step 3 - Check for Extra Pruning Possibilities

Often the outdoor fuchsia will need reducing by more than a half. As you examine the plant you will be able to see where there is too much wood left. Excess should be cleared away to make way for new wood in the new season and prevent the plant from becoming leggy.

Step 4 - Shape

This is also a good time to adjust the shape of your fuchsia plants. Those that are free-standing can have their shapes rounded so that they look more symmetrical.

Step 5 - Feed the Plant

In spring as the plants start to show signs of wakening, feed them with a rich compost or nitrogen rich fertilizer.

Step 6 - Prepare to Bush

fuchsia flower

As the plants push out new growth, trim off the stems that have three pairs of leaves. This removes the growing tip and forces the plant to grow in width rather than length. This will create more branches. More branches mean more new wood and more new wood means more flowers.

Step 7 - Emphasize the Bushiness

In addition to cutting back stems, cutting new shoots back to three pairs of leaves will create a very bushy plant with a wealth of flowers.

Step 8 - Follow the Contours

Now that you've set the stage for a full and bushy fuchsia, you will also want to maintain the shape that you trained the plant into. Plants that are set against walls should be encouraged to grow to the sides.

Step 9 - Potted Plants

Use these same pruning techniques for fuchsia plants that are growing in pots and hanging baskets. With hanging baskets it might be wise to let a few stems drape over the basket to carry the flowers downwards.

Although a savagely pruned shrub can look as though it has been butchered there really is no better way to ensure strong new growth and a wealth of blooms. It is only in the winter months that the plants look sparse. As soon as the new spring growth sets in the new soft lines will soon create a pleasing effect. Fuchsias that are not efficiently pruned will become much less colorful and hollow looking with flowers only on the outer periphery because all the old established wood stops bearing flowers and leaves.