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How to Take Hardy Fuchsia Cuttings to Propagate

A simple step-by-step guide to taking hardy fuchsia cuttings

This guide to taking fuchsia cuttings and propagation is part of the “Our Plants” section

Created by the team here at DIY Gardening

Welcome to the Our Plants section of the DIY Gardening website! We recently decided to create helpful guides for growing and maintaining our favourite plants, that’s plants we currently have in our gardens.

This guide is all about taking hardy fuchsia cuttings and how to successfully propagate this popular and beautiful shrub.

Hardy fuchsias will often flower all summer and rarely need any protection during the winter months as new growth forms near the base of the plant in early spring.

However, should you wish to propagate your hardy fuchsia via cuttings, the good news is, it’s incredibly easy.

In fact, hardy fuchsias are one of the easiest shrubs to grow via cuttings and in most cases, you don’t even need rooting hormone or specialist potting compost.

What’s The Best Time of Year to Take Fuchsia Cuttings?

You have two options:

  1. take hardwood cuttings, propagate and grow them during the autumn and overwinter indoors or;
  2. take ripe or softwood cuttings and propagate anytime from late spring to autumn with late spring being the best time.

Most gardeners take cuttings in late spring and this is our preferred time too.

If you cut and propagate in late April or early May and you should have a healthy growing shrub with plenty of blooms by July. Of course, you can take the hardy fuchsia cuttings later in the year but most fuchsias stop blooming by late Autumn so will only be good for the following year.

What Equipment is Needed?

To successfully take hardy fuchsia cuttings and quickly propagate them into healthy plants we think you’ll need:

  • Secateurs 
  • Pencil, pen or dibber
  • Markers
  • Propagation celled trays with lids or plastic plant pots and clear plastic bags
  • Compost (required) and perlite (recommended) or make your own potting compost
  • Rooting hormone (optional)

 Ergonomic Secateurs

These lightweight secateurs are razor-sharp so are ideal for woody stems as well as softwood. They have a comfy ergonomic handle and are geared for ease of use. 

 Dibber Set

Use these cheap and cheerful dibbers to create perfectly-sized holes in potting compost. Use when setting seeds, transplanting and also propagating.

 Propagation Kits

Propagation kits contain a tray with separate cell inserts and a lid to increase the humidity. Cheap and easy to use, these kits make propagation easy.

 Rooting Powder

Rooting powder contains a hormone that encourages strong & prolific root growth in cuttings. Expect quicker propagation times & healthier plants.

How to Take Fuchsia Cuttings

Here’s our quick guide to taking fuchsia cuttings.

Check out the images below for a visual guide if that helps:

  1. Water your fuchsia plant well the evening before so it’s well hydrated.
  2. The best time to take cuttings is in the morning, preferably on an overcast or cooler day.
  3. Choose a healthy stem, ideally without a flower or bud.
  4. Using sharp secateurs, cut the stem just below the third set of leaf nodes from the top.
  5. Pinch out the bud or flower from the tip, if one is present.
  6. Remove the lower two sets of leaves. This should leave just one pair of leaves near the top of the stem.
  7. There is debate about whether the cut, located just below the third node, should be straight or angled slightly. We suggest trying both on your selection of cuttings to see which works best.
  8. Write the date you took the cutting and the type of fuchsia on the marker so you remember which plant is which – handy if you’re taking lots of cuttings from different plants.

How to Propagate Your Fuchsia Cuttings

There are several ways to propagate hardy fuchsia cuttings, all are fairly easy to follow.

We recommend using a propagating tray with cell inserts as these help to keep the plants separate, they will grow as plugs which are easy to transplant later on. The tray should also have a lid, this helps to keep the environment humid which is ideal for growth.

(If you don’t have a propagation kit, just use plant pots and clear plastic bags to create a similar environment.)

Fill the cells or pot with a mix of potting compost (see how to make your own here) do not compress the mixture, you want it to be light and fluffy.

Dip the bottom node of each stem in rooting hormone if you’re using it.

Now use a dibber or thin pencil to create a hole in the compost, then insert the cutting so at least the first node is pressed all the way into the compost and gently firm the surrounding compost.

The compost should be watered so it’s damp but waterlogged. 

Place the lid on the tray and place it somewhere out of direct sunlight but not in a dark place. If indoors, choose a windowsill on a north-facing wall out of direct sunlight or if outdoors, in a shaded but not dark location. Keeping the cuttings out of strong direct sunlight is key to successful propagation.

You’ll need to check the cuttings periodically, make sure the compost is kept moist but never clogged with water.

What is Perlite and Does it Help?

Perlite is a material that holds moisture and also improves the aeration of soil and compost. It’s perfect for regulating the moisture content in potting compost.

It’s very easy to over or under water potting compost, perlite makes it less likely that you’ll get it wrong.

The image below shows how it works.

Perlite is optional but a large bag goes a long way and we think it’s worth using.

We suggest a potting mix containing between 25% and 35% perlite and the rest a good potting compost. There’s no need to add grit or sand if using perlite.

Perlite is so effective that many plants can be grown in it, without any compost at all.

Next Steps

Once the cuttings are in place and the tray left in a bright location avoiding direct sunlight, you’ll need to wait for between three and five weeks. 

During this time, keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. While the environment for the cuttings should be humid, it does need some ventilation to prevent disease and rot. We suggest periodically lifting the lid to ventilate, or even keeping it slightly lifted off the tray to create a slight airflow.

After five weeks, you should see a healthy, small plant growing and possibly roots growing out of the cell.

If you took the cutting in the spring, you can now relocate the plant outdoors or if you plan to overwinter the new fuchsia, move it to a larger pot.

Common Mistakes

Here’s a list of mistakes we’ve seen and are even guilty of ourselves.

Don’t do these:

  • The bud or flower should not be left on the cutting, it absorbs many of the nutrients that the roots need to form. Leave the flower on the cutting and it will take longer for the roots to grow, they may also be weaker and thinner.
  • Don’t let the compost dry out, needless to say, your cuttings require moisture. Perlite can help with this, especially if you don’t have time to check your cuttings every day.
  • Don’t overwater your compost, the roots need space and oxygen to grow. Heavily compacted, waterlogged soil will reduce your chances of successfully growing fuchsias from cuttings.
  • Don’t leave too many leaves on the cutting. Between two and three is fine, any more than this and you’ll find the water loss through transpiration will be too great. With no roots and too much water loss via the leaves, the cutting will fail and die. Feel free to cut leaves in half if they are quite large.

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This guide to taking and growing fuchsia cuttings was created by the team here at DIY Gardening

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