It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Should I cut back now?

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks for all pics, PC, of your inside fuschias. I'm still waiting on the darn thermometer!!

Your photos led me to another question, since my little fuschias in the house are growing again, and getting quite leggy, I know I need to cut them back for good shape, and bushiness. My question may seem a bit trivial, but I so want these babies to survive the winter, and alll your feedback helps me make good decisions.
I figure it will be at least another 10 days to two weeks before I try to induce dormancy. Ordinarily with the legginess that is actively continuing I would cut them back a bit right now to control shape. Or, should I wait and do all the cut-backs when I put them in the GH???

Thanks for the advice. I've attached photos of two of the five that are growing like this................

Thumbnail by clpgirl
Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

They look happy to me! Some fuchias grow taller faster than others and have longer spaces inbetween nodes. If they were also thin, I'd be worried, but they look sturdy.
If they are not going to freeze in the little greenhouse and if they are going to get direct winter sun in it, then I would not cut them at all. Since they are uprights and you'd have more height on them by next year.
hummer_girl has the instructions on how to winterize for extremes in weather like yours. But I am wondering if those instructions are designed for the more common, hanging basket fuchsia. Bottom line though, is that the pruning she described is not something I have ever needed to do. Especially since my intent is to encourage them to be tall.
Would you be willing to consider trying more than one method? Letting some be, and using the techniques hummer_girl described on some?
If I did not have a souther facing window where I know they will get direct sun, I wouldn't consider trying to grow them indoors without the lighting system hummer_girl is also going to be using.
I bought my seed warming pad today. Can't wait to plug it in and see how much warmer it makes it in the mini greenhouse. I just have a $5 outdoor thermometer from the hardware store in it. The better, digital system that reads the indoors and outdoors plus humidity, is on the other side of the house.
I hope I haven't confused you.
I'd at least wait to hear what hummer_girl has to say before cutting them.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

clpgirl: my first thought when I looked at your picture was, I wish I had a water view through my windows. My second thought was, take cuttings from the tall growth and make more plants!

If it were me, I would cut back for shape control now and use the cuttings to make more plants (which you would have to keep inside the house, your GH in the breezeway will be too cold for cuttings).

Right now I have about 85 plants/cuttings under lights in my basement. Last weekend I started filling up my garden table (now under lights) in my garage with overwintering plants. So far only 1 fuchsia has made it inside the garage, F. Leverkusen, a trailer (the only trailer I plan on keeping from this years planting). I unpotted, trimmed the plant and roots and repoted, still in green leaf. But I think I remember reading this plant doesn't like to be disturbed, so this experiment might not work. I'm not sure I'm going to let the trailing Leverkusen continue to overwinter in green leaf. I might trim all the foliage off depending on how it looks after a week in the garage. I have been misting the foilage everyday and I am watching the plant to see how it's dealing with the changes. Keeping it in green leaf might be too stressful when it also needs to adjust to the cold temps we are gradually starting to get. Might have our first killing frost soon; on the average we get frosted Novermber 27th and they are predicting a possible frost on the 26th. I've taken some Gartenmeister cuttings, which I think are rooting, but I still need to drag at least 1 of my potted mother plants inside the garage before a frost. My fuchsias are still in full bloom. Amazing! I plan on finishing up cleaning up my garden beds this weekend so I'm hoping any frost will hold off until after the weekend.

I saw a segment on Paul James' show (Gardening By The Yard) about overwintering fuchsias (trailing included) and all the foilage was removed, stems cut back to about 6", and stored in a cool, dark place with just enough moisture to keep the rootballs from drying out.

Sometimes my mind reels from all the different methods different people suggest to overwinter fuchsias. I believe if the plant has a large, healthy root system, the plant can most likely be overwintered in cold conditions (40s-50s), but newly rooted cuttings and very small plants need a warmer environment.

Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

I think the operative key here is what the temperature inside the area a fuchsia is going to be stored is going to be. If the temps are going to be in the 40-50's and there is a good light source, there is no reason to cut or defoliate them. Especially uprights.
It has been down into the 30's here already and soon it will be almost every night. Although I don't have to worry about temps as low as you two do, I have over wintered rooted small plants (4-6 inches of growth) outdoors with no protection at all without problems.
It seems to me that the process of pruning foliage, roots, and/or defoliating, is for cold storage where the plant will not be growing at all.
I think clpgirl should wait and see what kind of temperature she is going to be able to maintain in her new greenhouse.

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the info! HG, I didn't realize we are so close in zone. I printed out all your , and PC's, suggestions. My temp. gauge FINALLY came, and for the past three days the GH has maintained between 46-51. Outside it is 32 today w/ a little snow. I am glad I didn't buy a heater yet. Since it's supposed to stay snow weather for a couple more days, I'm going to track these temps, and then decide. They are so happy on my window seat that I almost hesitate to move them now.................

Be back w/ updates, appreciate all of you very, very much :)

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

OFF TOPIC I forgot to mention- HG that is the 'famous' Chippewa Lake! Home of a small mom and pop amusement park from 1878-1978, Chippewa Lake Park. some interesting photos on the net, since the 2nd owners left the park w/ all buildings and ride intact. A great photo of a ferris wheel with a tree growing through the middle of it!

Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

I am going to have to look that up! The Chippewa are one of the five united tribes which includes the Chickasaw. I am a registered citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. I bet there is some very interesting history to read about that amusement park.
I am very glad to hear the temps are in a good range for growing int your greenhouse.
Yesterday, I was turning my indoor fuchsias and realized it was something very important I ought to have mentioned.
It is very important to turn plants. Even ones in big commercial greenhouses, must be turned or they will grow lopsided towards the south. Indoors, they will grow lopsided towards the closest window.
So to keep them centered and strong, they should at least be turned every time you notice them bending towards the light!

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

clpgirl: my suggestion to trim the plant is because you said you wanted the fuchsias to go into dormancy. The books say to trim back so the plant doesn't need to overexpend energy trying to keep a large plant alive. The plant needs to conserve its energy to help it survive cold temps, even if it is in green leaf and under lights and your temps are in the 45-55 degree range. But when it gets really cold ouside, in the teens or single digits, the temp in your GH will probably drop, especially if the low temps outside are for a prolonged time. And if you have small potted plants in the GH, they might not have enough soil around the rootball to insulate them. My garage will drop to 35 degrees during the coldest days of winter. Any plant I'm overwintering in my garage is in at least an 8" plastic pot.

Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

hummer_girl is right, you did mention that you intended to induce dormancy. If that is what you are planning, then yes, you need to follow the directions she has provided us.
Fuchsias will grow in the 45-55 degree range. I will be posting photos of my large outdoor fuchsias in full bloom this December and January. Cuttings will root in that temperature range.
So I would imagine that one would need to be careful to keep the temperature down or they will try to grow and that growth will be weak in low light conditions.

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

I'm getting so attached to them, I feel bad about cutting them back. I wonder if I used an LED grow lamp in the GH, plus a GH heater-which I'm going to need to get anyway-now that it's really cold the temps aren't holding well in there-if I can allow them to keep growing...........Just a thought right now, since I don't have the heater yet. If PC is seeing growth at 50deg. I'm pretty sure I can maintain that temp for the winter................My guys are in 5 inch pots, and it sounds like I'll need more around their rootballs, and need to move them up.........


Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

As long as they have a good light source and are not in any danger of freezing, there is no reason to cut them or induce a dormant state.
So it all depends on what kind of conditions you are going to be able to maintain :-)
I hope you experiment a bit with both methods. But the ones you choose to cut and put into a dormant state, cannot be kept in the same location as those you are maintaining in a growing state. They would just try to start to grow also.
Good-luck! And keep us posted!

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

They are doing so well in the window that I'm thinking about repotting them into larger pots and placing some kind of shelf over the window seat...........also have a star jasmine that's been doing quite well on the breezeway (not in the GH) and may bring it in to join the others. Had our first really hard frost last nigiht and my 16 buddleias are very sad this morning. (They should do fine outside....). Winter IS on the way and I just can't seem to cut the babies back. Marin Glow has three buds soon to open. I lost little Chang, and Mood Indigo-I'm sure it was a moisture/heat issues, as I think I overwatered whe I first moved them insides.........will be ordering more next year............ of course .LOL!

PC-if that bud opens I just might keep the blue pollen. It seems such an odd, bright color in the pics!!!

Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

Ha, ha! We will all be waiting to see if you use it to decorate your face like the natives do! My Mood Indigo is doing okay indoors to far. I didn't try a Chang, but Orange Crush instead. And it is doing well. Yes, it is going to be difficult to not over water them indoors. I confess, if I am going to err, it will be too much water instead of not enough. Outdoors, it is never a concern. It is almost impossible to overwater them when they are out in the sun.
I have trays full of gravel underneath all of the indoor fuchsias. Not only will they catch excess water and keep me from overwatering. The bit of moisture in the gravel will evaporate and provide a bit of humidity to counter act the dry air from the heater.
My orchids are in a east window that gets full rising sun. I literally bolted a brand new iron barbeque grill onto the old windowsill to make a strong enough shelf to hold the gravel tray they sit in. This old house was built before electricity and indoor plumbing was available in this area. Let's just say it is rustic! The original outside of the house is still inplace when one goes out what used to be the back door, in order to get to the bathroom they added on way back when. So I can get away with things like bolting barbeque grills to a windowsill ;-)

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

I knew that was a bbq grill. Old refrigerator drawers made of plastic coated wire work well too.
PC, been thinking about your kitty problems. When I line the top of my indoor pots with rough quartz rocks that I find out walking, they never mess with those plants or try to use them for kitty boxes. I don't know if it would help with your teen aged terrors, the other thing I've found helpful is a squirt bottle of water, and being there to catch them in the act. One squirt and the cat is gone.
Liked your idea of having your plants on a gravel tray. Mine are all doing great in the gh, despite temps in the low 40's at night.
I am becoming quite fond of Chiquita Maria, and of course, Delta's Groom. All of them are thriving, and even in the gh, I am turning them to grow more evenly, but some are just going nuts. Lycoides is very happy and getting bushy. San Leandro is a beaut too. The only one that didn't make it I am thinking got too much water. Poor Gypsy Prince. Can't wait for spring. : - )
The ones outside, Cardinal and Lycoides (a different one), are still green and growing in their leaf mulch.
This is the Lycoides in the gh, right after I watered it.

Thumbnail by SingingWolf
Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

SW, you are so right about squirt bottles! The best cat training piece of equipement there is. And if you have a very stuborn cat, put a little vinegar in there. My older cat, Seti, doesn't even wait to see why I picked up my misting bottle, she just splits the second she sees it. The wee plants in the house are too small for gravel. I am worried that the cats will jump into the tray and send them all flying. But so far so good.
clpgirl, what kind of temps are you reading in your greenhouse? Have you put a source of heat in there yet? Everything in my minigreenhouse looks okay so far. But it isn't as cold here as it is where you are!

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

Sorry to kind of disappear for a bit! With a 100 year old Dad (and issues w/caregivers), and my 19 year old son home from college, things have been a bit hectic. All sorts of distractions.

I just told my brother I am spending the rest of today obssessing about plants, and the heck with the rest of it.

PC, I just got my heater yesterday! At this point there is snow outside-the outside temp is 21, and the gh temp is 24! Sooo, I need to put some more insulation around, and try my heater then. I did get a humidifier for the room where the pots are, and they are looking OK-not great. I think, being in the window. which is drafty, semi-induced dormancy in several. I hadn't realized, and haven't had time to monitor that as well as a I should have. I have a feeling the temp where they are hovers around 40.............

This week my goal is to get things set up to move them out. Everyone apparently thought i wanted an amaryllis for Christmas, so I have four of them, and two little pots of narcissus...........I'd like to put them in that window.

So that's the update. I haven't even read through the threads lately. But I am today. (Now, no doubt someone will come walking in.............)

Oh, PC I finally realized the 'bud' is the berry! It must have bloomed before I got it---now to take the taste plunge........

Happy New Year to all , and thanks for all the support and info in '09!

Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

Keep us posted! I hope they are all doing well. I just took photos of my outdoor fuchsias to post in one of the threads here. They have no protection unless I fear it is going to freeze. And the night time temps have been in the low 40's and high 30's. Some are doing wonderful, and some are recovering from being burned from freezing. So I bet your fuchsias will be fine as long as they are at least in the 40's. Since even my fuchsias that got burnt are busting out with new growth.

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

Hoory for me!! Sorry, but that's how I felt this morning! After pricing tiny 'greenhouse' heaters, and finding the 'cheapest' for 49$ at Gardener's Supply, I went to a local big box store two days ago, and found the SAME heater, make and model, called a garage heater, and purchased it for 18$. All last evening when the breezeway temps were in the teens, it kept the greenhouse around 45-50-and the outside of the liner wasnt' even hot. This morning however, it was 60 in the breezeway-very sunny, and the greenhouse temp was 72. So I have a bit of playing around to do with ventilatioln before I move any of my fuschias out there. But I'm thrilled with the insulative value of the plastic. So, on to another step. :)

Will update as I move on!

Freedom, CA(Zone 9b)

I wonder if a cheap timer would be a good idea? I know it sounds complicated, but it will actually save you a great deal of money on the cost of heating, if you can connect a timer to turn the heater off at a set time in the morning before the outside temps start to rise. You can even attach a sensor to a temperature gauge and have the heater turn off when it reaches a specified temperature.
I do not have anything like that right now myself, ha, ha! I need to go out there and open a flap in the roof if the sun is out or it will get into the high 70's in there also. Especially since I am using clear plastic and they are getting direct winter sun.
Meanwhile, I would not be concerned if the temps get up to 72 unless you were trying to induce dormancy. The flunctuation in temps from 30's to 70's is something my entire collection of fuchsias outside of the greenhouse deal with every single day. And they do so every winter.

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

That's good info. If the issue is just keeping above 45 and below 70 or so, I think I have it made! Thanks!

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.