Wintering in California

Dionosaur(Z8/9 AZ)November 4, 2004


Ok, I have read many of the posts in this forum about wintering, etc. However, I live in Southern California and I have a fuchsia that doesn't seem to know that winter is approaching. Just in the last month or so it has been growing like gangbusters. It has at least 10 inches of new growth with lots of new buds. I can't bring myself to cut off all the beautiful flowers and new growth. I've had this plant for about 5 months and this is the most growth it has had.

I lived in Portugal for 2 years and had a planter box full of fuchsias that I only cut back when the branches looked bad and it grew all year round. So I am not sure what to do with this one. I am thinking maybe I should just leave it until December and see if it slows down then. I don't have to worry much about frost here, so do I even need to cut it back severely?

Any advice would be appreciated, especially anyone familiar with the weather here in California.


Dion :)

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fuchsiabonsailady(z8 UK)

Hi Dinosuar,
Lucky you, no frosts and no overwintering as we know it :)

Just wait until your weather gets cooler, when the plant looks a bit 'tired' then you can give it a light trim, and if growing in a pot, then repot it with fresh soil. I think that is what most people do in your area - Kath:)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 4:01PM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi Dinosaur

Sorry again I am not from your area and I will go along with what Kath says (again as usual) - you can leave your plant until it starts to look Âleggy and has something of a Âbare-bottom (if you pardon the expression) before doing anything.

It would appear from what you say that you could possibly grow this plant in it's pot all year round if you wished, however a short break to give it a rest will I am sure help it on its way. Give it a trim back and some new compost and it will be rejuvenated and it should reward you hansomely.

What you have to bear in mind is that Fuchsias will only flower on new growth so the more new growth you can get the plant to produce, the plant will be more compact and ultimately the more flowers you will have

Again like Kath says lucky you not to have to worry about frosts I have to watch the weather forecast daily and be ready to take the appropriate action, never mind it will soon be Spring.... I hope it grows well for you.

By the way  what is the variety?


    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 5:30PM
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Dionosaur(Z8/9 AZ)

Thank you both for the info. It does have some really tall new growth, I think I will shorten that a bit when it is done flowering.

As for the type, I'm not really sure. It is actually 2 different types in the same container. The one that is really growing at the moment looks similar to the picture at the top of the forum, but the "skirt" is pink, rather than purple and it has larger broader leaves than the other one which is a pink with a double(?) purple skirt and has smaller darker leaves. That one bloomed a lot when I first got it but only has one or two blooms now.

And since I am on the subject, what are the parts called? I call the part that hangs down the "skirt" and am not sure what to call the part that flips up. I'd post a picture, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.


Dion :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 12:14PM
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Hi Dion...
I also live in So. Cal.
My fuchsias are having a ball...lots of buds and blooms.
I protect them from too much rain since it has been heavy here in the last few weeks. And if the temperature should drop below 40° I either cover mine or place them in the warmish covered patio.
Have fun.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 1:09PM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi Dionosaur,

Pleased the information was helpful, with regards to the parts of the fuchsia flower I hope this helps you a little.

Tight ....

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 5:36PM
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Dionosaur(Z8/9 AZ)


Thank you for the diagram, that is very helpful. I love my fuchsias, and now I know what the parts are called.


Where do you live in Los Angeles? I used to live in Hollywood Hills up Laurel Canyon and had the same cast of characters at my house there. I really miss the squirrels.

Dion :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 9:02PM
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I was born in L.A.....umm..near Robertson and Pico....
...I lived in the Beachwood area in the Hollywood Hills for many, many years.
Then I moved to Beverly Hills for a long time and now am settled in Hawthorne.
I knew a lot of very fun people in Laurel Canyon back in the 60s. We got together a lot.
Nice to meet ya. :)


    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 9:59PM
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Dionosaur(Z8/9 AZ)


I haven't lived up that way for almost 10 years, but I loved it up in the hills. I'm in north OC now. Nice to meet you too.

Dion :)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 2:07AM
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nlin0273(z9-10 CA)

I have the same thing with my fuchsia and they are still going like the energizer bunny. Although, they are starting to look a little leggy.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2004 at 6:39PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You don't need to protect Fuchsias in coastal southern California from cold, they may lose foliage in a rare freeze, but it won't harm woody growth. So covering them when it drops below 40F is not necessary, and they will remain blooming here in northern California at temps down to the mid 30'sF, especially when planted up against a wall or fence, as they often are. Pruning is more a personal preference here, not a necessity. I generally only prune those plants impacted by the Fuchsia mite, and leave all others alone. You can do it to keep them a certain size, or allow them to get 6 to 8 feet tall as many older plants will do when happy. The one thing that you should protect them from in your area is the hot winds of a late summer/fall Santa Ana wind. This will tend to defoliate the plant, and although it doesn't do permanent harm, it may be distressing to lose all that bloom. They tend to bloom heavily all throught the winter up here in the SF Bay Area, so cold nights above freezing certainly do them no harm under our California conditions.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 12:44PM
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Great thread - came here to post the same question - I'm in So. California - Thousand fuchsias have been blooming like crazy lately. I got my first blooms off some starts (Pink Marshallow) the size of a fist. I'm so hestitant to cut them back because that particular plant seems to be growing all sorts of new leaves. A lot of my other plants also have blooms but are definitely looking leggy and the blooms not as big. Just how much do you need to cut back - does it depend on where you live and weather?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 3:19PM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi Bahia and Cabogirl

You are so lucky not having to worry about the frost that I know I will encounter sometime over the next 3 to 4 months. I appreciate that you can allow your plants to continue flowering all year round and that you may only have the odd occassion when you need to protect your plants but unless you want large bush plants with bare stems and only a few flowers on the top branches it pays to prune your plants back and produce some new flowering growth (they will not flower on the old wood).

This pruning back also serves to not only remove any pests/disease, it will give your plant a rest and give you a chance to replace some of the compost in the pot or around the base of an establsihed plant. It also encourages the plant to throw new basal shoots from dormant buds, giving good coverage of the bottom of the plant.

The Triphylla (Gartenmeister) types WILL NOT tolerate any frost whatsoever and if you do not protect these you will almost certainly lose them.

As you say, in your area you can leave them out almost continually, but a little TLC will be repayed with dividend. The question as to how hard you cut back does depend on a number of things, such as the cultivar, the situation (pot, basket, tub, garden), the space available etc etc, but a good rule of thumb is by about a third this time of year and then half again when you can see the new buds developing in the spring (assuming you are letting the plant have a rest).

Now my plants - I cut them back hard....

However you decide to overwinter your plants ... good growing


    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 5:31PM
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Fuchsias are flowering in the wild in So Cal now. Since they are not protected, are the wild varieties more hardy or do they re-seed for the next year?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2004 at 11:21PM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi Baci

Many of the varieties are extremely hardy and will survive our winters here in the uk. These wild plants could be either Fuchsia magellanica or varieties derived from that species which are noted for being hardy. These come in various flower colours and can also have variegated leaves.

If your area is not succeptible to frost they can continue flowering throughout the year, where they are affected by a hard frost they will go dormant and start again when the conditions are right. As a matter of interest we had a slight ground frost here in the north of the UK two nights ago and my fuchsias in the garden were unaffected. I grow about 10 varieties in the garden and most years they are covered over with snow at some time or other and they always survive. Keep checking on the site and I will post a picture of the plants when the first snow arrives.

Hope that helps


    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 3:29AM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi All

The link I added the other day was changed - here is the new one for those who made it a favourite.

Sorry for any inconvenience


Here is a link that might be useful: A Beginners Guide

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 8:34AM
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Thanks tightathome for the great link. I am beginning to collect these plants so I am sure it will be of great help.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 9:17AM
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People grow Fuschia's in pots? Weird :-)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 8:46PM
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My potted collection is all young, small plants, so I went ahead and cut everything back a week ago. Last year I did this and my couple of plants grew back bushier and a lot larger. So I'm doing the same in the hopes that all these will end up the same. I gave them all "haircuts", added fresh soil, and stopped watering as much (just keeping them barely moist).

I'm in coastal Cal. Your mileage may vary and your plants may differ. I'll report back and post pix when things start happening again.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 1:41PM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi Gina

Seems that you are doing evrything correct, the fuchsia will only flower on 'new wood' and therefore the 'haircut' produces this and lots of new shoots, the more shoots the more stops and the more stops the more flowers, easy really....

Will look forward to seeing your photos,


    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 5:11PM
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valeriev(z9 Bay Area CA)

ahhh crud! I should have read this post before I prunned and winterized my fuchsia back in Nov. I'm in San Jose, CA and since it doesn't get that cold here, was wondering if I should have "winterized mine". Seems I should NOT have. Now I can't get her to "wake up", hence my new post "Wake Up Fuchsia". =(

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 7:23PM
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