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overwintering

Posted by madrona OR (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 20, 04 at 15:51

i would like to keep my fucsia hanging plant and a few other tender perennials over winter. i'm going to bring them inside and i'm wondering how often i'll need to water them? is there any other maintenance?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: overwintering

Hi Madrona,
Most important, anything that you bring inside for the winter, give it a good clean-up and spray against pests.
You can cut the fuchsia back by two thirds, removing all foliage and flowers, you can also remove one third of the rootball and add new soil to the bottom of the pot.

If you are going to keep it in a light position, you will find that it will start shooting new growth after a couple of weeks. Keep just moist but not wet, this goes for other perennial too, if they are kept too wet the roots will rot - Kath:)


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thanks for all the info, i'll do just that : ) madrona


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wow, I just popped in to ask the same question. Thanks for the info. What's the coldest night temp fuchsia's can take?


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Hi Woodthrush,
It varies, it all depends on which variety it is and whether it is planted in a pot or planted in the garden.
Most of them will loose their leaves at approx. 40f/4c but it won't kill them. To keep them 'in the green' throughout the winter they need at least 45f/8c - Kath:)


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ps I should have said 45f/8c in a greenhouse or indoors during our winters - Kath:)


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Thanks. We've dipped below 50F at night already. Guess it's time to think about bringing them in. I have them in hanging baskets. Pink Marshmallow is the variety I have.
Pam


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Kath, I didn't get the impression that Madrona wanted to keep her plants flowering over the winter. I could be wrong. Therefore, if she doesn't, wouldn't your instructions be somewhat different? Guess I am a little confused.

Also, this is the first year I have had fuchsias for several years. It seems to me I used to run some water with bleach through the roots to kill all the bugs etc. before I put them away for the winter. Have you heard of such a thing?

Jeanette


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RE: overwintering

Yes see your point Jeanette. Madrona if you cut them back and intend keeping them in a non lit and cold place like a garage or shed, then only just keep them moist, very much on the dry side. They won't shoot again until you bring them back into light and warmth.

Yes I have heard of people using the bleach, but I've never done it, you do run the risk of killing the roots if the solution is a wee bit too strong - Kath :)


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RE: overwintering

Jeanette
I've used bleach many times to kill the tiny bugs that thrive in my semi-hydro grown Orchids, but only at a strength of 1 / 100, a 5ml spoon full of ordinary house-hold bleach to 500ml of water. It's caused no problems what so ever and it also inhibits the growth of algae in the pot.
I've never used this on Fuchsias but I will and will let you know what happens. I've often wondered, so watch this space.
IanS.


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Day 2. I've watered two new cuttings, and two well established cuttings with 1/100 bleach solution. There has been no change in how they look and all are doing well.
IanS.


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Thanks for that info Ian - Kath:)


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mad---I live on the west side pf cascades. I leave mine out all winter and only bring them in if temp. drops below freezing. And then its right back outside when temp. comes right back up over freezing. worked for me last year. That way they aren't inside all the time.


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cut back

When you say "cut back" what exactly are you removing? And what's the purpose?

jess


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RE: overwintering

LOL - I just came looking for the same info. I have a fuschia 'Dark Eyes' (my 1st) that I just adore & am hoping to overwinter. I don't have a greenhouse, so it'll have to be inside. I've never had much luck here with houseplants, due to poor natural light, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

My question also has to do with the pruning back. Does it absolutely have to be done & when is the latest that it's recommended to do so? Mine still has so many blooms & buds that I can't bring myself to cut back any stems that have them.


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You can leave it until the plant's leaves start to drop SnoPixie. One of the reason's for 'cutting-back' is to give your plant a rest-period and to strengthen it. You can also re-pot it at the same time or leave that until the spring. If you do re-pot at this time of year don't put it into a larger pot, same pot or even one size smaller. - Kath:)


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Great! I want to be able to enjoy those blooms as long as possible- :o)
Thanx Kath!


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There's also a wonderful FAQ on this....Thanks for posting it FAQ volunteer!


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You're welcome Michigoose :) :) Kath


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Let me see if I got this straight - I can bring my fushia inside to overwinter in my house - I have to cut it back by 1/3 - I have to kill the bugs with a weak bleach solution - I have to keep it cold (?), I have to keep it moist but not too moist, I can keep it in the dark but I can also keep it in light. Does this sound about right?


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RE: overwintering

It sounds a bit confusing doesn't it Nina!
Method 1.
(a) if you're keeping your fuchsia in light and warmth (cool not cold), after you have pruned it back it will start to shoot again, so yes keep it moist but not too wet.

Method 2.
(b) if you're keeping it in a frost free place with no light or warmth, after you have pruned it back it will not shoot again until you bring it back into light and warmth, but you must still give it a very small amount of water eg(say once every 2/3 weeks) otherwise the roots will die off.
Just enough moisture to prevent this happening.Kath:)


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Thanks, I was just about to repot my fuchsia to a bigger pot, but I will keep it in the old one. The soil has become a bit matted and separating from edges of pot, should I do anything?

Leaves have started dropping and getting scraggly looking, but she's still putting out a few buds, so I have not cut her back yet. But, it hasn't really gotten cold here yet either (nights haven't dipped below 60).

I plan to put her in the utility room where there's a big window, and the water heater... hopefully this would keep her warm enough and out of the wind.


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Hi Hailah,
If the soil is coming away from the edges of the pot it's usually a sign of it being on the dry side, but that's not a bad thing at this time of year. when you do eventually cut it back you can clean the top of the soil, and even remove a couple of inches from the bottom and replace with new soil, but don't put it into a bigger pot until the spring. Your utility room sounds ideal - Kath:)


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Thanks for your quick reply, kath! This forum is the greatest...


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RE: overwintering

Hi all, thanks for this information. I was googling for it up this thread came!

We are supposed to get a hard freeze tonight and all my fuscia are outside. In years past I normally let them go and bought new ones in the spring. A gardening friend recently told me that you could successfully bring them in and encourage them to go dormant over the winter. The only space I have for them is in an unlit basement where the winter temps stay between 45 and 60 degrees F. It probably averages mid 50's.

From what I understand I need to cut the plants back by 2/3rds. Should I strip the remaining leaves off? Or should I let them fall off naturally? Does anyone have a teaspoon per gallon ratio for the bleach solution for the soil drench?

I had a thought and was wondering if it would be better for the plants to cut them back and put them in my garage temporarily (the garage freezes as well by end of November)as they currently are pretty actively growing and blooming. I'm thinking this would allow them to slowly go dormant instead of pulling the light immediately. Let them get a bit on the dry side but not completely dried out. Will all the leaves fall off with this treatment? and when the leaves fall off I'm thinking is when I should bring them into the basement?

Thanks all for your help. I'd be over the moon thrilled if I can get my fuscias overwintered. They were just gorgeous this year and I had a few varieties I'd like to hang onto.

Deanne


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Hi Deanne,
I think Tight said one teaspoon of bleach with 2 gallons of water, can't find the posting at the moment. As your garage freezes don't put them in there. Basement is fine. If you want to treat them with the bleach solution do that a couple of days before you prune them back, make sure they are on-the-dry-side before pruning, then they will loose less sap out of the cut stems. Cut back approx. to 4 inches above soil level. Remove any leaves and flowers that might be on those lower stems. Also remove any debris laying on top of the soil. Give a spray against any pests that may be lurking on the stems. Place in your basement. Give a wee bit of water every 7 to 10 days, just enough so that the roots don't dry out completely, otherwise they will die, it's easier to place a plastic saucer under the pots and put a little water in these, that way you're not making all the soil wet as you would if watering from the top.

They shouldn't shoot again until you bring them back into daylight, then you can re-pot with new soil. By the way it's Kath from GB :) :) :)


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Not me Kath - I don't do a soil drench other than with Provado.


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Sorry Tight,
Who was it then who suggested the bleach solution, I've never used it on fuchsias, only on geranium cuttings to stop the 'black stem rot' - Kath:)


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I am not sure if this will help or confuse the issue but I have just had a look on the www and found a reference to treating roses?

As follows....

"...treat the infected area with a 10% solution of household bleach mixed with water (one and a half cups of bleach) mixed with one gallon of water)...."

Hope that helps but it is something that I don't need where I live here in the North.

Tight


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Ah ha, found it. At the top of this thread. Ian recommended it - 5ml spoon = 1 teaspoon of bleach to 500ml - for people who work in pints ie 1 teaspooon to a wee bit less than a pint :) Kath


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Guilty! A one percent solution can be used. It won't harm the plant and cleans up the growing medium. I mainly use it on my semi-hydro Orchids, if there are any tiny bugs or a build up of algae. I doubt that a little stronger solution would hurt, but 10%......I wonder?
IanS


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As I said Ian it might only cloud the issue - it is something I certainly wouldn't do or even recommend others to do, there are enough chemicals available that are safe to use and probably do a better job of soil sterilisation.

Tight


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In for a penny........... I've tried out a 10% watering of 'the mix' on a couple of young plants, so we shall see.
IanS


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Hi Kath, Ian et al
I recently tried the 5ml bleach per 500 ml water on a few Fuchsia plants and they have survived, so far, without any deleterious effects. I took a note of the concentration of the bleach in the bottle and it was 5% plus sodium hydroxide and anionic and nonionic surfactants (detergents). The final concentration of bleach is quite low and does not seem to affect fuchsias, bare root hostas or polyanthus. Anyone using this technique should be very careful to keep both the concentrate and diluted bleach away from eyes and skin.


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Hi there Ron,
Thanks for passing on the info, much appreciated, going to try that too - ~Kath:)


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Hi Folks,
A 10% bleach solution doesn't seem to have had any effect on the young fuchsia plants after three days, although I'm sure they would have prefered some half strength tomato feed. It was only the cheap, supermarket own brand, but still strong enough to leave splash marks on a dark blue T-shirt. Now where's that book on Tie 'n Dye?
IanS


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Hi, everyone,

I've grown fuschias in the past but this is the first time I've had one grow so large and beautiful -- it's just the rather common Gartenmeister Bonstedt but I love it, and so do the hummers -- and I was just wondering how to overwinter it. Thanks to y'all, I think I have enough info to give it a try, just have to decide if I want to try it in the house or let it really rest and put it in the garage. I'm afraid the garage is a bit on the warm side but it seems like the best place.

On the bleach question, here's my experience. I used to use bleach on potted plants when I worked at a botanical garden greenhouse, but can't remember if I ever used it on fuschias or not. Anyway, I always used the 10% solution, but the way I was taught to do it was to water the plant well with the solution, then after a short time (15 minutes or so), flush the soil well with plain water to get the bleach solution out. It worked well to remove pests and I never had any troubles -- but please don't take that as hard scientific evidence :)

Glad to have found this forum -- I have a feeling I'll be adding more and more fuschias to my patio!

Carol


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Hi Carol,
When you say you're garage is on the 'warm side' - what sort of temperatures do you have in there and also is there good daylight? - Kath:)


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Hi Carol and welcome,

Thanks for the info on bleach. I haven't flushed through the plants I watered with it, but it doesn't seemed to have harmed them.
I hate people mentioning 'hummers'. Why can't we have them on this side of The Pond?
IanS


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all this talk about bleach solutions has me a little scared to try it. 1% or 10% water to bleach? rinse or dont rinse? i dont know which to do. is there a good brand of all-purpose pest solution for sale i can invest in or is the water/bleach solution the way to go? im a new gardener and a bit confused.


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RE: overwintering

In UK, domestic bleach is about 5% sodim hypochlorite in sodium hydroxide (caustic soda)and may also contain detergents. These figures can be checked by examining the contents label on the bottle. More concentrated bleach solutions are available for industrial use but domestic users are unlikely to encounter them.

A dilution of 5mls of this 5% solution to 100mls water gives a final concentration of 0.05% sodium hypochlorite. This is the solution that you water over plants.

I treated about 6 Fuchsia plants with this concentration of bleach more than 10 days ago and the plants are behaving normally. I also treated some bare root hostas and a few poyanthus plant apparently without detriment.

I repeat that Bleach, whether 'concentrated' or diute should be kept away from skin and particularly eyes


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RE: overwintering

Kath -- no daylight to speak of -- one window with dark curtains. Don't know the winter temps in the garage yet as I just moved here in July. The outside temps in this area average above freezing in winter (35F low, 50F high) with occassional plunges below freezing that normally don't last more than a few hours. The garage has the furnace in it and is underneath part of the house, set into a hill, so I'm sure it won't freeze but I'm not sure how cold it'll get. Right now (with outside temps around 50F) the garage is at 65F. I'm sure the garage will get cooler as the season progresses. Does this sound like a problem? So far the fuschia is still outside being enjoyed by the last of the hummers and by us!

Ian, sorry about the "h" word. :) I have to admit, they're totally delightful -- sorry you don't get to share that!

lankajl, if you're nervous about the bleach solution, try the weakest solution first (1%), with rinsing. That's sure to be safe. It's good for getting rid of soil pests and diseases. I don't know about other pesticides, but I'm sure others can help you out.

Thanks again, everyone. Happy growing!


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RE: overwintering

Hi Carol,
Yes understand about the garage situation, temps. and no light.
As it is a triphylla type fuchsia I would be inclined to bring it indoors. The garage would be ideal for the normal cultivars, cut back, cleaned and only given a wee bit of water every now and again to keep the roots from dying off, they wouldn't start growing again until you brought them back into light and warmth.

As Gartenmeister Bonstedt doesn't like getting too cold, I would prune it by 50% and give it a good clean then place it in the coolest room that you have, ideally no higher than 50/55f and in a good daylight position. This will give it a 'rest' and within 4/6 weeks will start shooting again then you will have a nice sized plant to put outside next year. Keep it moist but not too wet. You can always place a plastic saucer under the pot and water it via the saucer, this way you keep the roots moist without making all of the soil wet - Hope this helps - Kath:)


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Kath, I really appreciate the advice. It sounds like the best place will be the garage, in the window -- guess I'll open the curtains and put a small shelf there. I suspect that spot will stay about the right temp but I'll monitor it and move the plant inside if I need to. The window faces south but there are some trees there so the sun it gets (assuming the sun ever shines in winter!) :) will be dappled. I'm hoping that'll work. Our house runs about 65F, I'm afraid that's a bit warm.

By "give it a good clean," do you mean remove all leaves and buds? Or just make sure it's pest-free?

Thanks again!


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Hi all

It is amazing how we all have different methods of getting our plants through winter whatever the situation we have or the location we live in. I have never used the bleach method and being a Health and Safety Consultant I advise delegates on my health and safety courses not to use it at all, it is pretty nasty stuff. If bleach is mixed with ammonia, a chemical reaction takes place and it gives off dangerous chlorine gas - this was also known as Mustard Gas during WW .

I cut back my plants about 4 weeks ago and now they are just starting back into growth (see pic)- but don't forget I am growing for exhibition and need the plants to be well in front of what would normally be required.

These plants including the species and Triphyllas are in the lean to conservatory attached to the house and do not receive any additional heat, however they do benefit from a covering of horticultural fleece on the coldest nights.They have good light and the temperature keeps the growth tight - poor light and a high temperature will cause 'leggy' plants.

I sterileised the soil using Provado 2 and all seems well with them, my only comment with using any sterilisation or control method is that you must make sure that ALL your plants that you bring indooors are treated. I use orange labels to indicate that these plants have been treated (If like me you are overwintering a hundred plus plants you need to know this).

If I can just add to the information that Kath gave with reference to cutting back - you need to reduce the watering a couple of weeks prior to this to reduce the sap flow of the plant. I get over the risk of 'die back' or disease in the cut stems by using a PVA glue and just putting a dab on the end of the cut branch.

Like I said at the beginning its amazing - but we usually all manage to get our plants through the winter - I have used my methods for over 20 years and I see no reason to change.

Tight....


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I see what you mean about sap flow. I cut back a Tom West at the beginning of the week and it's had droplets coming from the cuts ever since. I've now treated it with P.V.A and it's solved the problem. Thanks Tight.
IanS.


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RE: overwintering

Tightathome is correct to say that bleach is nasty stuff. This, however, is no reason why it cannot be used safely in a diluted form for soil sterilisation.

Chlorine is also potentially a very dangerous chemical but suitably diluted we use it to control bacteria and algae in swimming pools.

It is a cardinal safety rule to read the instructions and observe the safety precautions enclosed with ALL garden or domestic chemicals.

Chlorine gas was used in the first WW as was Mustard Gas. Mustard gas is a completely different and more dangerous substance than Chlorine. I have worked with both sustances and I have never heard, or read, of Mustard gas being referred to as chlorine.

I shall continue to used diluted bleach carefully to clean plastic flower pots and to sterilize the soil.

I would suggest a Google or Yahoo search of 'Mustard Gas' and 'Chlorine'


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Yes Carol,
After pruning back carefully remove any leaves and flower buds that are on the remaining stems. Two reasons why (a) you do not want old leaves and flower buds/flowers falling onto the soil, this can cause fungus (b) it also gives your plant a rest before producing new leaves later on. After that you can give your plant a spray against any pests that might be lurking on stems and soil - Kath:)


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Hi all

My source for the 'Mustard Gas' comment was taken from;

http://www.thecaretakers.net/bleach.shtml

Maybe their information is incorrect? - either way it is nasty stuff and must be handled with care and in accordance with the directions on the bottle. In a domestic environment there are no regulations but when introduced into a non-domestic environment here in the UK the COSHH Regulations come into play and I cannot recall ever seeing it recommended on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) as a soil sterilant?..... anyway......

Sorry if anyone was misled by me saying bleach was dangerous - but it can be if used incorrectly, check the MSDS - I am sure a Google or Yahoo search will bring that up too.

Tight.... at home!


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Tight
You are absolutely correct in stating that bleach can be dangerous if used incorrectly.
The caretakers website is incorrect and I have e-mailed them to this effect.
My use of the word sterilise is also incorrect. Sterility, like pregnancy, is an absolute, soil cannot be 'fairly sterile'. It is more correct to talk about dilute bleach disinfecting containers or soil.


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RE: overwintering

okay, thanks for all the great bleach and cutting back info. now all i need to know is if there needs to be some light that gets to the plants while they're wintering over. my garage has no windows and we wont be home to leave the door open at all during the day. i really dont have anywhere inside to put my plants, is there any alternative like "no light is okay" or "use a plant light bulb". i do have a small desk lamp with a "plant light bulb" in it. please help! :)


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RE: overwintering

It is possible to overwinter fuchsia plants by burying them in the garden so it does not seem that light is necessary especially if all leaves are removed.
Without knowing more about your garage, for instance does it remain frost-free during the winter? I would be unwilling to say yes or no.


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RE: overwintering

I usually keep bulbs chilled for indoor forcing in the basement bulkhead lined with some extra insulation. It stays above freezing (sometimes just barely). The watering requirements are about the same as the bulbs. Would this be a good place for fuschia?

I was going to let my fuschia go, but I think it has good "genes". It has done well all year. It has even withstood a few light frosts without a wince. Often they do poorly for me as the season progresses, but this one is tough. I was thinking maybe I would try to overwinter and I found this WONDERFUL thread! Thanks to all!


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Hi Wendy,
Sounds OK. Remember to prune the plant back first and give it a real good clean, removing debris from the top of the pot and give a spray against pests before placing it in the basement. Kath :)


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Hi all

Fuchsias if cleaned correctly as described by Kath and given a light watering can be overwintered without the need for any light and a good method of keeping your plants in pots over the winter months is to wrap them in some form of insulating material. This could be anything such as newspaper, fabric and good old garden fleece.

The pots when wrapped can be placed in a box (to safe space and offer a little more protection) and placed anywhere that is frost free or thereabouts.

Remember to check the plants a few times during this dormant period to ensure they do not become dehydrated and also that they are not being kept in a position that is too warm as this will start the plants back into prepature growth.

Tight ....


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RE: overwintering

I have a couple of fuschia plants that I am overwintering in my house right now. One of them I planted in summer 03 and grew inside last winter and the others I planted just this past summer. I am trying to grow them to be about 4 feet tall; I saw a 4-5 foot tall fuschia plant (it looked like a small tree) in a local nursery once and it was magnificant but it was kind of pricy so im trying to grow one myself. I have been keeping the fuschias under 50-60 watt grow lights so far and it works fairly well. One or two have defoliated but have new growth, the rest are still green. I have been hesitating to cut back any of the fuschia because I want them to keep getting taller.

My question is, does anyone know if fuschia really need a dormant period or can they grow happily under lights or in a greenhouse (which I am hoping to get!) all year round? Also, will all my upright fuschia plants grow up to 4-5 feet or do only certain varieties grow that tall. Also, even though I wish to make them tall, should I cut them back annually anyhow to trigger fresh foliage?
Thanks!
-DB


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RE: overwintering

Hi DB

There are a few issues raised in your posting;

The question on growing standards (tree fuchsias) is answered in the FAQs for this forum and I have a simply version on my website (see link below).

In principle a standard is only a bush plant grown on an elongated stem and for all cultural purposes (apart from keeping the stem frost free) the methods of growing are the same.

Reference if fuchsias need a dormant period, where I live they have no choice, they lose their foliage as day length and the temperature decrease. They go into a dormant period in some cases albeit for a couple of weeks until in the case of my plants they are brought back into growth.

Regarding cutting them back, fuchsias will only flower on new growth, you therefore need to cut them back fairly hard to induce more stems, and consequently more flowers.

As for keeping them growing continuously, I suppose in theory you could, however you need to create a balanced heat/light environment not enough light and the plants get leggy looking for the light too cold and the plants stop growing and start to drop their leaves. If you can obtain this balanced environment you should have no problems with your standards.

As to whether or not only certain varieties make standards, with very few exceptions you can if you have the patience and desire grow most fuchsias cultivars (the species dont take too kindly to it) into standards. Once again though certain cultivars excel, namely the strong upright growing ones such as Celia Smedley and Barbara to name but two.

Following the information either in the FAQs or on my site should answer all your questions, but if you have any more just come back and ask

Tight....

Here is a link that might be useful: Basic Fuchsia Growing


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RE: overwintering

Tight-
Thanks a ton for the info. I think I'll just keep growing my fuschias inside continuously under lights all winter. I might give on or two a few weeks to a month's time with not much light to let them rest a little and see what happens. They might defoliate though I think they will stay alive. I am not really looking to train them into a standard I just want them to get tall, they can have multiple stems. Will they still grow that tall even this way? Also, if they are already a fairly mature plant can they be trained into a standard or should I start over with cuttings or seeds?
Thanks!

-DB


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