Fuchsia Display

The Fuchsia

Taking cuttings and growing them

Growing fuchsias from seed can be extremely rewarding but you will not be able to guarantee to recreate exactly the same cultivar. This can only be done by cuttings. Propagating cuttings is extremely simple but it is vital that you follow routines, not only for the sake of the plant but for yourself as well!

Knives or secateurs should be kept very sharp and clean provide damage to the plant but they can also be very damaging to fingers as well, and gardeners are regularly injured as a result of a moment's carelessness or by the use of the wrong cutting tools. Always wear gloves when taking cuttings and exercise proper caution.

Soft cuttings

You can take these in the late winter or early spring depending upon your local climate and the condition of your greenhouse which ideally should be kept fairly warm. A technique called tip cutting is best at this time, because the tip of the plant is where most of the nutrients and natural hormones are kept.

You should cut below a node (this is the place on the stem that the leaves or branches come out from) and be very careful because that this time of year the tip is rather delicate and easily damaged. The bottom set of leaves should be removed and the cutting placed straightaway into a pot containing potting compost. The use of hormone rooting powder is not normally necessary.

Your cutting should be given a light, fine spray of water and then the pot placed into a propagator. The temperature in the propagator should be kept above about 60°F and it should be placed in natural light, but not direct sunlight.

Within about 2 to 4 weeks you should notice that the tip of the cutting makes new growth and this is no time to hardened it off somewhat by increasing the ventilation in the propagator, which will acclimatise your cuttings to the drier air outside it. Plants should then be transferred to their own individual pots, which should be no bigger than 60 mm. Leave them in the small parts until routes begin to be visible around the outside of the compost, that which time they should be transferred to larger pots.

Taking summer cuttings

By summer your plants should be flowering away. You can now take a longer cutting comprising the tip and up to 5 nodes. Take off any flowers or buds, dip the base of your cuttings in hormone rooting powder and then treat in the same way as you would a soft cutting.

Late summer and autumn cuttings

By now the wood should be ripe and you should be able to tear off a whole side shoot, along with a heel of bark; remove any flowers or buds and again treat it as you would a soft cutting.

Cutting composts

A good medium for propagating your cuttings is either a commercial soil mixture, or you can make your own from two thirds moss peat which has been finally sifted, thoroughly mixed with one third of washed sharp sand.

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