How To Winterize A Fuchsia
Fuchsia is known as a hardy plant that copes well with harsh winter conditions. Plants that are well established in the garden should be able to cope with cold winters, but there are some precautions that you can take if you feel the need. Potted fuchsia in containers or hanging baskets require a little more careful consideration.
Step 1 – Pruning
Once the growth has definitely finished and the leaves have fallen from the plant prune it back quite severely. Cover the soil around the fuchsia with a thick layer of mulch or compost being careful not to dress up to the plant. A good mulch for the winter is straw.
Step 2 – Bagging
To protect the stems the plant should be covered with a heavy duty plastic bag. If necessary the bag can be supported on stakes so that it doesn’t damage or get damaged by the plant.
Step 3 – More Pruning
Once the fuchsia has stopped growing and the leaves are no longer falling prune the stems back to about six inches.
Step 4 – Water and Store
Water the plant lightly and then store it in a room that is not going to get warm (50º is a nice temperature for storing fuchsia). While fuchsias are dormant they still seem to be affected by what happens around them. They particularly react badly to a lack of light and water. If you fail to water your fuchsia through the winter to ensure the soil does not dry out, you will probably find that the fuchsia will die.
Step 5 – Mold
Although you must water regularly you also have to be very careful about the possible development of mold if you over water.
Step 6 – Frost
A dormant fuchsia is not frost tolerant so you need to be sure that the area ibn which it is stored is frost free.
Step 7 – After Winter
Once the storage period is over you need to introduce the fuchsia back to the open air with some care. Don’t bring the fuchsia out into full light immediately, put in a position where it will get plenty of shade and reflected light.
No Indoor Storage
Step 8 – Dig a Trench
If you do not have anywhere indoors to store your fuchsias and a neighbor cannot help over the winter you can try trench storage. Prepare the plants as before with pruning and light watering. Dig a trench in the garden in a sheltered spot. A position near a house wall would be ideal. The trench should be long enough and deep enough to bury the fuchsias and their pots.
Step 9 – Line the Trench
Line the trench with several inches of straw.
Step 10 – Place the Plants in The Trench
The plants in their pots must be lined up along the trench. It helps if they can be laid on their sides but that is not important.
Step 11 – Pack the Trench
Pack the trench around the plants with more straw. The plants should be well covered by at least six inches. Finally cover the trench with netting to hold the straw in place.