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How to prune fuchsias

With elegant flowers ranging from pale and slender to vibrant doubles, the long-flowering fuchsia more than earns its place in any summer garden.

Bush and trailing fuchsias are perfect for summer containers or hanging baskets while hardy fuchsias can even be used to create an informal hedge. Pruning them is a simple task - you just need to follow our easy step-by-step guide…

When to prune a fuchsia

Fuchsia 'Shrimp Cocktail' from T&M
The type of fuchsia you have determines when it should be pruned
Image: Fuchsia 'Shrimp Cocktail' from T&M

All fuchsias flower on new growth, so pruning is used to remove the dead stems from the previous year. 

Fuchsias fall into two groups: those that are hardy enough to be left outside over winter, and tender varieties that need cold weather protection in a heated greenhouse or conservatory. When you need to prune your fuchsia will be determined by which type you have. 

How to prune a hardy fuchsia

Fuchsia 'Delta Sarah' from T&M
Hardy varieties should be pruned in spring, when new growth starts to appear
Image: Fuchsia 'Delta's Sarah' from T&M

Hardy fuchsias that are left outside in the garden are best left untouched until winter is over. Leaving the old top growth in place through the coldest months will help to protect the plant’s crown. It also reduces the risk of introducing disease through cut wounds.

Prune your hardy fuchsias in late March or April once the new growth begins to show. In colder parts of the country, leave it until all risk of frost has passed. Using sharp secateurs to prevent damage, cut back every stem to a pair of leaf buds around 7cm to 10cm above the earth.

If an old plant needs rejuvenating, cut all the stems back to the ground to stimulate new shoots.

Fuchsias grown as hedges should be cut back to a pair of buds in early spring, to give an even shape. Leggy hedges can also be reinvigorated by cutting back hard, possibly choosing alternating plants over two years so that the barrier is maintained.

How to prune a tender fuchsia

Fuchsia 'Happy Wedding Day' from T&M
Tender fuchsias should be cut back by half before overwintering
Image: Fuchsia 'Happy Wedding Day' from T&M

Fuchsia plants that need to be overwintered undercover should be lifted by the end of September before the first frost, potted up, and cut back by about half. Remove as many of the leaves as possible.

When spring arrives, prune out all the weak growth and cut back all the stems to the lowest pair of good buds. As the side shoots grow, pinch out the growing tip after every three sets of leaves until plants reach the size you want. Pinching out the growing tips will help to produce a bushier plant with plenty of flowers. 

Visit our fuchsias hub page for links to more more help and information on fuchsia growing and care.

Mandy Bradshaw, chatty gardener, gardening expert

Written by: Mandy Bradshaw, the Chatty Gardener

Cotswold-based Garden Media Guild member, Mandy Bradshaw, is also known as the Chatty Gardener. Passionate about gardening and writing, her beginnings are in football reporting for her primary school, and Mesembryanthemum planting with her mother. Winner of the 2018 Property Press Awards 'Garden Journalist of the Year', she writes for not only her own blog but also a range of newspapers, magazines and other gardening and non-gardening sites.

Banner image: chaistock/ Shutterstock

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