Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Overwintering Fuchsia: A Summer Romance Gone Bad

It’s a relationship that I just refuse to give up on.  I had a big crush on this plant this summer. I paid, I think, $12 for it at the grocery store. We were happy together. It beckoned me from the shady corner of my deck where nothing else wanted to grow. It hid my mess of pots and tools in the corner, bloomed abundantly, and even created berries that I discovered were edible (though not real tasty).

At the end of the summer it was still green and bushy, so I brought it inside, thinking it might be happy there. I thought we might be able to stick it out together through the winter. 
That’s when the wilting and browning began and I began to lose that lovin’ feeling. I was able to temporarily revive it with a drink of fertilzer, and it even created a few more buds. The buds, however, promptly dropped off and it started losing leaves – and making them. That’s what makes it so hard to trash. There are little green leaves popping out here and there. It’s defintely not dead.

So I did some research and it seems you can overwinter fuchsia by bringing it inside before frost. You can keep it in a dark garage or shed (which is where I’ll be moving it soon). The stems should be cut back to about 6” in length, and it should be given just enough water to prevent it from drying out. When the buds appear, cut back to about 2” and begin hardening off. They can return outdoors after the last frost.

So, can this fuchsia be saved? Is it worth keeping this hideous looking plant all winter just to save $12 next spring? And are you overwintering anything ugly?


Lorilee said...

Wow, I can see why you are smitten with those blooms! I love plumerias. They have gorgeous blooms, but turn into ugly sticks during the winter. They must be protected from the cold.
Good luck with your Fuschia!

azplantlady said...

I'd love to see what happens if you give it a second chance. At least the when it is unattractive, you get to hide it and then bring it out in the spring when it can grow beautiful flowers again.

Joanne said...

Okay, I think you've already bonded with this beautiful plant, and could never toss it. It deserves to overwinter at your house. I feel like next year it'll bloom even better with all that tlc.

Lzyjo said...

Thanks for posting this! Very good timing on your part! Today I was lamenting how awful my fuchsia looked it's nothing more than a few sticking and all of the ugly I;ll will definately try cutting it back!

tina said...

I think it will come back no problem.

our friend Ben said...

Give it a chance, Jen! My hardy fuchsias don't look too great right now, either, but I've tucked them away in the greenhouse so I can water them without being struck by their denuded look and keep them going until I can pot them up and set them back on the deck in spring. Go for it, I say! (And, er: In case you're wondering what's going on with all the deviant plant spelling, it's this: Fuchsias were named after some guy named Fuchs. But we don't pronounce the plant name like that at all, rather like "FOO-shia" or "FEW-shia." Thus the confusion. Much like our pronouncing poinsettia "poinsetta."

JGH said...

Lorilee, thanks! Hope your plumerias do well, too.

AZ, I did feel more hopeful about saving it when I learned I could hide it in the garage.

Joanne, you're right. The plant is deserving. I should be more forgiving.

Liz, can it stay outside where you are?

Thanks Tina. If Tina says so, it must be so! :-)

Ben, yipes! I spelled it totally wrong! I didn't know that about Fuchs. Thank you for your kind correction.

Becky said...

Lemon verbenas are my weakness.In the winter, I keep them in the basement , water them occasionally and hope for the best. Sometimes I get to use green lemon fragrant leaves in a winter fruit salad. Some years they drop their leaves, and really do look like a dead stick. Sometimes they really are dead. They are still so worth it!

Ronda Laveen said...

By all means, continue. Let us know in the spring how it all goes. The two of you are so good together.

Stacey said...

What have you got to loose? I would go ahead and try it. I'm wondering how to winter over the Boston Ferns I bought for cheap but still look lush. I think I'm just going to let them hang on the porch and water them occasionally

Pam J. said...

I won't forget this...and I look forward to your spring report. Such a beautiful plant! I've got a deer-damaged rose bush that I'm hoping to nurse through the winter. It always feels so good to rescue a plant from what looks like certain death.

Talon said...

This is the first year I'm not over-wintering anything. Yes, I feel like a murderer. This year it's a lack of space that was my main reason.

I hope your fuschia appreciates all the TLC and rewards you with super fabulous blooms next year. I love them - they remind me of fairies.