problems with fuchsia

cnslr81June 15, 2004

In early May, I bought a fuchsia. The plant is potted, and about 6 inches tall. A few weeks later, I went on vacation, and unfortunately, no one took proper care of it. The plant is not producing many flowers now, and the leaves are drying and falling off. Some have turned light brownish-yellow. I am not sure what to do. I brought the plant inside, back outside, water, little water, etc.

What seems to be the problem? Any suggestions?

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fuchsiabonsailady(z8 UK)

Hi Analyst,
It probably dried out too much whilst you were away, and is now showing the stress. Trim it back by half, then remove any dying or dead leaves, also any that are laying on the soil. Place in a shady position outside, keep moist but not soaking wet. After a couple of weeks it should begin to shoot again, when it does give it a balanced feed NPK 20-20-20. A quarter strength at every watering - Kath:)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 5:31PM
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Thanks Kath. Where is a good place to purchase NPK? I am kind of new at gardening.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 9:55PM
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DaveAndKittie(z5 Mass.)

TheAnalyst, NPK isn't a brand -- it's the way fertilizers list the content of available plant nutrients Nitrogren, Phosphorous and potassium (chemical symbol K).

Almost any more-or-less balanced formulation, usually promoted on the package for flowers or vegetables, will do. Just avoid the high-nitrogen stuff meant for lawns (Scott's Turf Builder has an NPK of 29-3-4), or supplemental acid formulations generally for hollies, rhododendrons, hydrangea and other acid-loving plants.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 6:32AM
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Hi D&K. Thanks for the help. I knew NPK is not a brand and that NPK stood for the chemical elements. My problem is that I do not know how to go about finding it. What brands should I look for (such as, not Scott's Turf). I do have all purpose plant food (liquid) by Schultz. I believe it is the 10-15-10 though.

As of this morning, when I left my house, the fuchsia wasn't looking well. More leaves fell off than those that are growing. The flowers fell off too. I plan to look for NPK 20-20-20 later on, after I am finished work.

Also, I am not sure if the weather is affecting the plant. I am in zone 6 (PA). Currently, the weather has been very humid and high 80s (F). I felt the plant was doing much better when the weather was less humid, so I brought the plant inside for the day. Normally, I kept the plant outside (in a pot) in a shady area.

I must say, fuchsias seem to be the most difficult plant to grow so far. I rarely kill plants, but my poor fuchsia isn't doing so well.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 9:56AM
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andy_e(SF Bay CA 9/14)

You can use MiracleGro fertilizer or something similar. It will either have the NPK numbers on the front of the package, or on one of the other sides under "guaranteed analysis". For fuchsias I use it at half-strength weekly or quarter-strength with every watering.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 10:37AM
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melrt968(u.k. scotland)

I use tomato fertilser NPK 6:5:9 at 1/4 strength every watering.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 12:34PM
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Just an update. I purchased Miracle Grow Tomatoe and Vegetable Food. I looked in 2 stores, and couldn't find a 20-20-20. The tomatoe food is 18-18-21, so I figured that is probably the best I could find, for now at least. I hope this helps.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 9:32AM
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fuchsiabonsailady(z8 UK)

Yes Sarah, that's fine. It probably says something like use once every 10 days, but if you dilute it to a quarter strength you can use it at every watering if you wish - Kath:)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 5:47PM
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Oh, I can feel your pain, Sarah!! My Southgate upright, and several hanging basket fuchsia starts were doing superbly 'til I went on vacation. Temps reaching the 90's, and a power outtage cancelled out my programmed auto-watering system. I was gone for 11 days and don't know how long they were without water.

ALL the hanging basket starts are D-E-A-D. =( My Southgate has leaves curled up, dead & dropping. The stems are doing the same, along w/buds. A few leaves are alive, even w/blooms. The overall look of the plant has gone for full & robust, to sickly and pathetic. I'm ill w/regret!!

Would you recommend my doing the same as Sarah, Kath? Bring Southgate inside?

So sad over my fuchsia failure!!!

=( Kathleen in TX

    Bookmark   July 7, 2004 at 11:46PM
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fuchsiabonsailady(z8 UK)

Oh dear Kathleen, and they were all doing so well. The ones that are still alive but look 'sickly', cut the stems back until you see green in the middle, take off flowers and leaves that are dead or dying, place in a shady spot, keep moist but not soaking wet.

Normally I never recommend bringing fuchsias indoors, but I know some people who have very hot daytime temps. and have air conditioning indoors have had success in respect of keeping them cool. Make sure they are in good daylight, not full sun, and don't overwater - Kath:)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2004 at 3:37AM
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Kathleen, I am sorry to hear that. :( I know how you feel.

Try what Kath said. I cut my almost dead fuchsia back; it has been a few weeks now and the stems are green and new leaves are growing! :D Everyone told me it was dead, but I had hopes.

I did bring it inside before the problems, once and while, when I feared it would be too hot or too cold (I purchased it in early spring). The plant was okay inside, as long I rotated between sessions inside and outside. It is outside all the time now.

I believe I was underwatering it before. I was afraid of overwatering, but the plant likes water. I just make sure I don't give it too much water, in which it begins to leak out from the bottom of the pot. Whenever it is dry, I water it.

Good luck Kathleen! Thanks Kath for the advice. Btw, nice website Kath!

The photo is my newest fuchsia. If you have trouble viewing it, let me know. It is posted at


Here is a link that might be useful: new fuchsia

    Bookmark   July 8, 2004 at 5:16PM
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fuchsiabonsailady(z8 UK)

Nice one Sarah,
A triphylla type, definitely don't overwater it, it can take the heat better than the ordinary cultivars. At the end of the summer if you're going to cut it back, only by a third to a half, they don't like being cut back as much as others - Kath:)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2004 at 7:04PM
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jnette(E WA State)

TA, try using Oxygen Plus when you water and you won't need to worry about over watering. It puts oxygen in the soil around the roots. That doesn't mean to let the plant sit in water.

Oxygen Plus is meant mainly for house plants which usually bite the dust from over watering. Any time I think I have really screwed up with the water I put some in some water and water the plant again. Sounds awful doesn't it.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 12:53AM
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