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I have 3 very healthy, but young 'Miss California' fuchsias in a very large (24") hanging basket.
It was originally 1 plant back in April/May, that I divided mid-summer as it was getting too large for the container it was planted in. They have performed admirably & rate as keepers.
I'd love to overwinter all 3, but have no greenhouse and my garage freezes. Not really anywhere to keep them in the dark as Ed Hume has often suggested. So is there an alternative?
Any methods known of &/or used that might ensure their continuation of life?
Could the 3 plants be potted up & kept indoors under grow lights? Will bright light at an east window work?
Temps: indoors usually about 62° during the winter unless we get the woodstove going...
A Begonia boliviensis will join them for company, or at least that's the game plan.
what to do, what to do?
I am going to be trying this myself this winter! As before reading in the forums here, I would never have even considered the possibility of growing fuchsias indoors.
But allot of people have, and they have been successful. So I am hoping they will come and leave some advice for us here.
Personally, I am going to use the same conditions that I use for my other indoor blooming plants. Such as dendrobiums, gloxinias, and fibrous cane begonias.
Of these three, the begonia is the one I have to be most careful with, as if it stays too wet, it will rot so fast it isn't funny.
I make certain that all of my indoor blooming plants get at least a couple of hours of direct sun every day. I even have 2 little coffee trees and 2 hoyas in a southern facing window.
Since we are in the northern hemisphere, a southern facing window will get the most sun of any window in your house. During the summmer, this can be too intense for many plants. But during the winter, it can not only mean they survive, but thrive and bloom.
Now, I just have to decide which varieties to try and set up an area by the one remaining southern facing window with no plants yet ;-)
I believe hummer_girl has quite a set up using flourescent lighting in her basement. I am looking forward to seeing photos of it.
And I will do the same, as soon as I get mine set up.
Meanwhile, this window faces east, but it is on the very corner of the southern side of the house, so it actually gets full on sun all the way up until past noon. These are my dendrobiums. They bloom like crazy starting in Febuary.
Both require similar maintenance, and both are hardy to 25 degrees F. You could overwinter in the garage under grow lights, even if temps in the garage drop below 32 degrees. The regular grow light bulbs put out a lot of heat that the fluorescent grow bulbs don't. So using the regualr bulbs will help warm the air around the plants. And if the bulbs are placed in a metal shade, (like those clip on work lights), that would generate even more warmth for the plants. What would also help keep the rootballs from freezing would be to insulate around the pots. One way is called the plunge method. That's where you put a potted plant inside a much larger pot that is filled with soil. In the larger pot you dig a hole in the center big enough to set the potted plant inside, you bury the potted plant to just below the rim, then push the soil in the bigger pot back around the potted plant. The surrounding soil insulates the potted plant, and the outside of the bigger pot creates a barrier against drafts and freezing air. You could also put bubble wrap around the outside pot. Just remember each pot needs a drain hole and a saucer under the larger pot, because the plants will require enough moisture to keep the rootballs from drying out.
You could overwinter the plants inside under grow lights (use fluorescent bulbs because they don't generate a lot of heat), but I would pick the coolest area of my home. If you chose a window to provide light, just remember when it heats up outside the sun coming through the window might heat up the pots the fuchsias are in, and one thing fuchsias do not like is hot roots. Pick a window that gets only early morning direct sunlight, or very late afternoon direct sunlight, and rotate the plants. A window with very early morning direct sun, and bright indirect light the rest of the day probably would be the best choice. Also, a heated house is usually a dry atmosphere, and fuchsias need humidity. So you'll need to put some standing water nearby to help put moisture in the air, and you'll need to mist the plants regularly. Try putting pebbles in a drain saucer, add water, and stand the potted plant ontop the pebbles, but high enough so the water in the saucer doesn't seep into the pot. Keep water in the saucer to add moisture to the air around the plant. Just remember to keep the plants cool and provide humidity. And it might take a few weeks for the plants to acclimate to the change in atmosphere, from being outside to inside. I would do more misting than actual watering, to help them adjust to different conditions.
Are you going to cut the plants back before taking them in? I'm going to overwinter several varities of fuchsias in my garage under lights and I plan on pruning all of them, taking off about 2/3 of the growth, but keeping them in green leaf.
HG - thank you so much. I must have caught your vibes earlier today, because I fashioned a place in the shed (not insulated!) with enough room for my Brugs & the Fuchsias to be plunged. I'm going to buy a temperature actuator & hook it up to a heating mat I have for whelping puppies. I can encircle the whole thing with fencing, wrap with bubble wrap & throw a blanket around it if the temps dip below 40°.
I was planning on cutting the fuchsias back - thought that was supposed to happen if dormancy is the goal. I hope this works! They will be dug over the next couple of days, but this is hard as they are still flowering & putting out growth. Wish it could be warm for another month!
If you want the plant to go dormant, you need to let the first frost kill off all the leaves, and if any leaves don't fall, you need to remove them. Then prune back the bare branches about 2/3. Even though the plant will be dormant, it still needs enough moisture around the rootball to keep the plant alive.
When a plant is kept "in green leaf" it is kept in a growing state.
You are brave gardeners!
Before reading in the forums of DavesGarden, I would never have even imagined having to do something like that to one of my fuchsias! I've been growing fuchsias for 30 years. But tucked into the safety of zones 9a-9b. So I am thrilled to see that fuchsias are growing in zones like yours, and that people care enough about them to do what is necessary for their continued survival. At first, I only heard about people who treated them like annuals and just threw them away once their summers got too hot or their winters got too cold, yicks! I felt like yelling, "no!"
This year has been quite a learning experience for me!
I can't wait to hear and see success stories next year.
And I hope you will take photos of the process as well.