If you’ve never grown fuchsias from seed, you must await an experience that will bring great satisfaction and startling surprises. A package of reliable fuchsia seeds may give you as many varieties as there are seeds. Perhaps one or more will be a new creation worth naming.
The most reliable seed is from cross-pollinated flowers which produce strong, vigorous plants. Their blossoms, foliage, and growth habits may be similar to the parents, or they may be hybrids that sometimes surpass both parents in beauty.
There is a new seed mixture on the market produced from hand crosses between plants having American Fuchsia Society “A” or “B” ratings only—the cream of the crop. Front, this seed, free-blooming plants of many variations, will be produced.
There are over 2,000 varieties of fuchsias. Of this number, several hundred different beauties, both old and new, are used to develop this seed.
Varieties of Fuchsia
Among the outstanding fuchsia varieties used in producing this seed are such kinds as double red Victory and double pink Pan America, introduced in 1942; pink and white Prima Donna, 1943; white Ave Maria, 1946; single red Utopia, 1945; single pink Richard Diener, 1945; red and white Radiance, 1946; and the pastels, Heavenly Blue, 1945, Melody, 1942, and Sacramento, 1946.
Each year, additional new fuchsia varieties are used to develop this seed strain. Anyone planting-such seed can soon have an enviable fuchsia collection that will bring pleasure for years to come and please every taste.
Unless you have seen a hundred or more of these lovely flowers, or good colored pictures of them, it will be hard for you to visualize the fantastic range of colors and combinations of color and the many shapes and sizes.
There are tiny red, lavender, orange, and purple blossoms about the size of a pencil eraser. Then there are blended colors of astounding beauty.
Several large dark ones are marbled with a blend of lighter shades. Many striking ones are of a clear, beautiful color—white, dainty clear pink, pale blue, mottled blue, or beautiful combinations that cannot be described.
A few are dark orange, light orange, and yellow. Some of the nice ones are single with flat petals, and others are heavy doubles. Some have tubes 3” inches long and hanging down in clusters, while others have very short tubes facing upwards.
Some small bushy growing kinds with a profusion of delightful blossoms over a long period are excellent pot plants. Nearly all fuchsias make the loveliest corsages you have ever seen, and from the wide selection of colors, there is one to accent or match any costume.
Growing Fuchsias from Seed
In raising fuchsias from seed, the home grower may use any one of several methods. If you have over 50 seeds, prepare a sterile pan or flat by heating clean, coarse sand in a hot oven for two hours by using vermiculite, which is already pure.
Fill the flat, soak it, and firm it with a brick or block of wood. When wetting the soil for the first time, we use one half teaspoon full of prepared acid plant food in one gallon of water. This gives enough food for all the seedlings until transplanting time.
To prevent damping-off fungus from killing our seedlings, we take the added precaution of (lusting them with a pinch of seed disinfectant shaken in the seed packet. If sand is used, scatter the seeds evenly, press them in and cover with 1/16″ to 1/8″ inch sand.
Suppose vermiculite is used; cover 1/4″ to 1/2″ inch and sprinkle the top gently, then firm with the palm of your hand. I prefer the first medium mentioned but have had success with others, including 1/3 loam, 1/3 sand, and 1/2 peat moss or vermiculite.
For small quantities of seed, use any one of these mediums but plant the seeds in a clean pot instead of a flat. Place the pot in a larger one and pack peat moss or other spongy material between the two to hold moisture.
The pot is then placed in a saucer and covered with glass and paper or just heavy paper. Set it in a warm, protected place where the temperature is about 60° degrees Fahrenheit.
Never Allow A Fuchsia Seed To Dry
Keep the seeds moist all the time. To let them dry out is fatal. The pot can be watered by pouring warm water into the saucer and carefully sprinkling the peat moss. We make sure the saucer is packed every night.
The fiat is watered by spreading it with an excellent spray every day. An ideal place to keep a seed pot is on top of a water heater, but be sure to keep it moist.
I have had seedlings appear in eight days, but others have shown up in the pan after four months, so keep your seed pan going even after removing the first plants. When the seedlings have developed their second set of leaves, they are ready to be lifted carefully and put into 2 1/2″ inch pots, which are placed in flats of wet peat moss.
For the first potting mixture, we use angleworm castings picked up in the morning from sandy loam in our garden. Another good mixture for this purpose is 1/3 sandy loam, 1/3 fine leaf mold, and 1/3 peat moss. Pour water into the peat moss surrounding the pots and use a fog-like spray to keep the plants wet.
Temperature for Growing Fuchsias
Keep them in a cool, protected place out of direct sunlight. They thrive in an excellent, moist location with a temperature above 40° degrees and tinder 85° degrees Fahrenheit. Older plants stand some frost, but tender seedlings cannot.
In four to six weeks after potting, the plants should have reached a good size, and when the roots fill the pots, shift them to 4″ inch pots. To remove the plant for checking the origins or repotting, hold one hand flat down over the top of the pot, with the plant stem between two fingers, and with the other hand, hold the pot upside down, tapping the rim edge against a table or bench.
A few of the best plants can be handled separately in double pots. When the plants outgrow the 4″ inch pots, they may be put in larger pots, gallon cans, or planted in the ground outdoors. This time, the soil mixture is 1/3 sandy loam, 1/3 leafmold, and 1/3 rotted manure. It is essential in potting and planting in the garden that the plants have drainage.
In pots and cans, the bottom holes should be covered with gravel or broken pots so that water can drain freely — it should never stand in a pot or can but should run through in a short time. In the garden, sandy loam usually has satisfactory drainage, but the ground can be banked up and gravel placed in a deep hole under the plant in heavy soil.
In pots, a 1/2″ inch to 1″ inch layer of peat moss should be placed on the soil and a 1″ to 1 1/2″ inch space left at the top of the pot for water. Plants in the garden should have a 2″ or 3″ inch layer of peat moss or manure to hold the moisture. Fuchsias prefer moist, cool air. They should be sprinkled often and for an extended period in warm climates.
Fuchsia in Standard Form
If you want to train a fuchsia to standard form, place a stake in the pot and fasten the plant lightly with soft tying material that will not pinch or bruise the plant.
Pinch off all the side shoots as they ‘appear until the plant reaches the desired height for this type of training. Then pinch the top to encourage more shoots to develop at that point.
In training fuchsias to the column method—one main stem with branches of equal length, all the way from top to bottom—all the side shoots are pinched off until the main stem is tall. All the shoots are allowed to grow freely.
To encourage a plant to branch out, cut the upper half off when it is from 8″ to 10″ inches tall. Some plants form a natural hush while others grow like that by pruning two or more of each shoot until the desired shape is attained. This usually takes from nine months to one year.
It is good to pinch the top out of all seedlings unless they are to be trained as columns or standards. After tweaking, all of them send out new shoots. Those that send shoots upwards make good bushes, while any that send out more delicate, spreading branches produce the best trailers or hanging baskets.
If small bushy pot plants are desired, it is well to feed sparingly or only bonemeal until about blooming. However, if you want a large plant, give it a 1/2 strength feeding of commercial acid fertilizer every two or three weeks. Don’t hesitate to keep them pruned for shape drastically until a month or six weeks before blooming.
Plants are grown from seed and usually bloom from eight months to one year from germination time if this takes place between May and December. After December, germinating seeds will miss the plant’s cycle or schedule and will not bloom in less than 18 months.
We live in mid-California, where it is excellent, and grow seedlings from May to December, but where the summers are sweltering, it may be better to germinate seeds in the spring or early fall unless you have means of controlling the heat and humidity for your plants.
44659 by Harry G. Nelson