How to Propagate Fuchsias (and Overwinter Them)
Recently I had one of those “could have had a V8 moments.” I realized I could keep my fuchsia plants alive over the winter, and propagate fuchsias from cuttings to grow more in the spring. Although winter may cause the plants to go a bit dormant and lose the beautiful profusion of flowers, they’ll come back in the spring!
It all started with a hanging fuchsia fetish—and a bit of a tragedy. You see every year, I buy at least one hanging plant to spruce up my garage. Generally all is well, but two summers ago, my vacation plant waterer completely missed my fuchsia. By the time I got home, it was a mass of dried sticks. Sadly I set it aside, since it was too late to replace.
It was quickly forgotten until fall when… (insert mysterious music) something strange began to happen. New shoots started popping up all over the plant. Clearly this Fuchsia had a will to live, coming back from the dead on scattered rainfall!
I brought it back into the house and resumed watering. It grew slowly over winter, but by spring was almost lush. When summer came it began to flower, so I put it back out on the garage. I’ve kept it ever since.
Enter innovation number two. If you take cuttings from your plant, it is super easy to make new plants. Just follow the steps below.
How to Propagate Fuchsias
Take cuttings. Cut (relatively) new growth about fives inches long and strip the leaves off the lower couple inches. Be sure to use sections that haven’t gotten woody–as a fuchsia ages, the stems turn hard and brown and those stems wouldn’t root.
Place the cuttings in a container of water. The leaves should be above the water line, with the stripped stem below. Contrary to a lot of the advice on the internet, you don’t need to use rooting hormone (that is covered in warnings about toxicity). Plain water works beautifully.
Wait about three weeks. Check for root growth periodically. Monitor the water level and replace as needed.
Plant. When you have a good inch or so of root growth you can plant the cuttings. Just bury the stem section below the leaves in potting soil and keep it moist. Five cuttings will fill a pot nicely (once it fills out).
Just a few other tips. Rather than keep a pot of grizzled old fuchsias forever, you may wish to periodically replace your pot with new cuttings. After a while, the plants become woody and stiff and don’t drape quite as well over the edges of the pots.
Remember that these are shade plants. I felt guilty for “scalping” my original plant and put it out on the back porch to rejuvenate. Pretty soon it had a case of sunburn, in addition to a bad haircut. Luckily it survived; we have established that it is tough. But… oops.
Besides being a great frugal measure, making your own new plants is very green. No trucking plants across the country, you can reuse containers and use homemade compost instead of commercial potting soil. And you can beautify your summer for free!
Happy Earth Day!
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This is good news! I found fuscias at deep discount at the end of the garden sale season and bought two of each colour, so incredible. I will try your method of rooting. Thanks!
Lucky you! The deer ate mine this year so nothing to work with for winter 🙁 . Have fun!
I have a small greenhouse that I keep at a minimum of 40 degrees (small heater) during the winter. Obviously, on sunny days, even in winter, the temps will rise. Will they survive at this temp.
That should be good. Last winter I kept many of my potted plants in an unheated attached garage (usually around 40) and they did quite well. At lower temps like this the watering requirements go down which is nice too. Good luck.
We dont have a garage,shed or anything like that. Is it okay to keep them in the house and care for them throughout the winter?
Yes, you can do that. I find that many plants are happier in the winter if they are a bit cooler, so look for that if possible. They’ll dry out a bit more if up at room temperature so pay more attention to that as well. Have fun!
Where do you keep the potted up fuschias once rooted ,over winter.
I kept them in the cool basement, watering occasionally. Last winter, I didn’t have any fuschias, but moved all of my herbs to a sunny window in an unheated attached garage that stayed around 40. They were the healthiest I’ve ever seen and even grew a bit. So that is my first choice now for overwintering. Good luck!
I completely agree with non use of rooting hormones! I’m not always successful with rooting but I’ve used plain water or honey and cinnamon!
I think many people just jump to the conclusion that rooting hormone is needed without testing. Then it gets spread over the internet. I hadn’t heard that honey and cinnamon can help rooting. Will need to look into that! Thanks!
Everyone should also know, fuchsia fruits and flowers are edible! I just learned today and am super excited to make pretty fuchsia jam!
Oooo! I love edible flowers to decorate salads too! Thank you so much for sharing Adam!
Thank you from Newport Oregon! Loved the pictorial and this was very informative!
Glad you enjoyed Theresa! Thanks for stopping by!
I learned a lot from this post! Happy (belated) Earth Day to you, too.
I was so excited to share this Beth! When I think of how many of these I’ve bought over the years…
Great story! Happy Earth Day!
Thanks Freeda. A belated Happy Earth Day to you!