Fuchsia Year


The Calendar

The Fuchsia Calendar in Scotland probably differs somewhat from our Southern neighbours in milder parts of the UK.  Even in Scotland the climate can vary greatly from North to South and East to West.  Here in the West Central Belt we can get four seasons in one day, in general we get higher rainfall than other parts of the UK, which isn't bad for Fuchsia growing, but have a shorter growing season.
This Calendar should be used therefore only as a rough guide and is dependent on the prevailing weather conditions of each month, which obviously are not consistent from year to year.  If only we could get an accurate monthly outlook.  Two old sayings from country folk here are :-
       "If Candlemas Day (2nd February) be fit and fair the half o' winter's to come and mair"
      "If March comes in like a Lion it'll leave like a Lamb"
                    In my experience they're not that far wrong.

January Keep plants moist but not wet and frost free. For semi-dormant plants in greenhouse keep a temperature of around 42°F.  If temperature rises above freezing, open greenhouse windows and ventilate whenever possible, even if it's just for a short time, but remember to close them early.  Watch out for gale force winds which are likely in January, make sure your glass and vents are always well secured when high winds are predicted.  As the days become longer towards the end of the month you should see your plants taking on a fresh look with some signs of new life.  For plants in your loft, garage, etc., which should be completely dormant simply check occasionally they are not too dry but just very slightly moist.  Browse the catalogues for new stock.
FebruaryGreenhouse plants, with the longer days, should be showing new growth and it might be possible to take some early cuttings.  Spray plants with some tepid water to soften the wood and encourage new growth.  'Re-pot plants in fresh compost to same or smaller size pot.  Dormant plants in storage checked to ensure compost is slightly damp.  This month is very often the worst of the year for bad weather in terms of cold, wind, frost and snow.
MarchTake spring cuttings, raise temperature in the greenhouse as light increases to encourage growth to at least 45°F and as always ventilate when possible.  Any plants over wintered in a loft or garage should be introduced back into the light and sprayed twice daily with tepid water to soften the old wood. If you don't have a greenhouse, then if possible put them outside during the day and bring them into a cool room at night.  Remember that whilst temperatures can rise with the sun during the day, frost at night can still be severe.  Lightly prune any of last seasons plants to shape.  Keep a sharp lookout for pests and diseases spray with insecticides or fungicides if necessary.
AprilDepending on the weather you may want to consider shading especially young cuttings, it can get very warm in the greenhouse during the day, ensure good ventilation, but secure at night as it still gets very cold with frequent frost.  Start getting your plants into a nice shape by pinching out at every two or three pairs of leaves. Look out for greenfly and whitefly and spray if necessary, this is the time they can get out of control and spoil new growth.  Make up your baskets and hanging pots.  Maybe start quarter strength feeding every watering session.
MayBy this time of year most greenhouses are bursting at the seems, it should be safe to bring plants out of the greenhouse by about mid month, and plants over-wintered in storage left out, but be on the alert for any late frost!   Continue feeding at quarter strength lookout for pests and diseases spray with insecticides or fungicides if necessary.  On sunny days the temperature can rise dramatically in the greenhouse, so give plenty ventilation during the day and maintain a humid atmosphere, and remember it still gets cold at night with a chance of a late frost.  Stop any pinching out in line with flowering dates, singles flower 8-10 weeks after last stop and doubles 10-12 weeks after.
JuneThere should be no more frosts and most if not all your plants should be outside now, any left in the greenhouse will need shading and checked for water regularly as temperatures can get very high inside.  Avoid temperatures above 75°F, Fuchsias stop growing after this ensure there is sufficient ventilation and humidity, if you can't keep the temperature down, put your plants outside they'll do better.  Should you need to spray this is best done early morning if possible.  Vents can probably be left open at night now until October.
JulyNot much to do other than keeping things tidy, maintaining regular watering and feeding, be on the lookout for the usual pests and diseases in particular rust if weather is on the damp side.  If you have plants in the greenhouse they may need daily or twice daily watering, not so much through usage as evaporation.  If the leaves on your plants look limp, ensure by testing the weight it does need water and is not suffering from heat.  Even at this time of year over-watering is a killer.
AugustPlants outside should all be at their best and in full bloom.  Plants for exhibition should be approaching perfection and time to bring them back into the greenhouse a few weeks before the show before the weather spoils the blooms, but keep the atmosphere humid and keep the temperature below 75°F.  Look out for rust and spray with fungicide if found.  If you suspect vine weevil around your plants, by the telltale signs of leaves being eaten, be on the lookout for vine weevil grub damage by checking your plants root system.  If you've not got an abundance of healthy roots on plants that have been in their pots for a while now, it could be down to over-watering or vine weevil grubs and if you find one there will be more.  A drench of Provado Vine Weevil Killer should solve the problem.
SeptemberIf you want to take cuttings for next year and can over winter in a heated greenhouse, now's a good time.  Lightly prune back to where the plant started flowering this year to encourage new growth early in the month and you should have sufficient material for cuttings by the end of the month.
OctoberAny plants you want to keep then get them in before the end of this month or at least before the frost.  Lightly prune and if you wish, strip all the leaves off, they will probably fall with age anyway, stop feeding and reduce watering to keep the soil just damp.  Plants to be over wintered in a garage or loft should be kept cool and watering withheld until they are just moist, to allow them to become dormant.  Plants to be kept in growth such as any autumn cuttings will need a greenhouse or conservatory kept at around 42°F minimum.  Give your greenhouse a really good scrub down with before bringing the plants in and make sure they are clear of pests and disease, as it will only spread in the confines of a greenhouse to all your stock unless checked.
NovemberFrost is always certain this month.  Check plants under glass, to keep just moist. Make sure your heating system is well maintained throughout the winter and ventilate greenhouse when weather permits.  Whatever method is used to provide heat should be checked regular throughout the winter, it only takes a failure in the middle of the night to damage your stock.  Whilst most varieties will survive a short spell at zero or slightly below killing the top growth, more than this will most likely kill them altogether.
DecemberAn unpredictable month, which can see a lot or little frost.  The daylight hours are too short won't make much growth just continue checking to keep plants just moist and remove any debris from the pots to help keep disease to a minimum.  Too much heat at this time is a waste of money due to the lack of light, trying to force growth will only result in being weak and straggly.