Fuchsias are beautiful plants that have stunning bell shaped flowers, typically grown as bushes, or in hanging baskets they provide stunning arrays of colour throughout the summer months. But did you know that they are ideal for making bonsai out of?
Fuchsia require bright locations to flower well and can handle temperatures up to 30˚C – 86˚F higher than this it will drop its flowers. It can go as low at 5˚C – 41˚F but below this will die. You should take bonsai fuchsia inside before it gets close. Keep humidity at 40% for best shows of blooms.
Growing Fuchsia is not hard, but there is some steps required to make bonsai from a standard plant. We will cover these in depth throughout this article so keep reading.
Two Ways To Turn a Fuchsia into a Bonsai
(a) From rooted cuttings.
(b) From an established plant growing in a pot or the garden.
Making a Fuchsia Bonsai From Tip Cuttings
One of the best ways to make a fuchsia bonsai is to take a tip cutting,
Take a tip cutting in the usual way; but before doing this, ensure your plant is in good condition and has been watered for at least a couple of hours before taking any cuttings.
Tip cuttings are best taken from new growth, between a quarter and half an inch long. Plant in peat-based compost, you can add fine perlite, but this is not necessary.
If using a propagator 60f/15c. They will root perfectly well without a propagator; it just takes a little longer.
Watering Fuchsia Tip Cuttings
Watering is best done in the mornings; if they are too wet at night, you risk the cuttings getting botrytis, and then they will rot off.
When rooted, pot up into a one or 2-inch pot—Pot-on when roots appear through the drainage holes, keep moist, never over water.
Putting a small plant into a small bonsai pot will stay small, and the main stem will never thicken enough to become a trunk.
Therefore carry on potting up as the plant grows. After the 3-inch pot size, add 20% horticultural grit and 5% perlite to the soil.
Carry on potting up until they are in the 5-inch pot size. According to the variety, it can vary between 1 and 5 years before they are ready to be transferred into a bonsai pot.
During this time, shaping can begin.
Shaping Fuchsia Tip Cuttings To Form Bonsai
When using wire on fuchsia main stems/trunks and branches, be careful because they mark very quickly and can also become very brittle—wire more on the ‘loose’ side than on the ‘tight’ side.
Patience is required. It is better to wire once on the ‘loose’ side, and at a later date, remove and re-wire again to get the shape you are aiming for. ‘U’ shaped and ‘S-shaped wire can be used for thinner branches, for training in a downward or upward direction, respectively.
A technique is known as ‘pinning’ can also be used for lowering/raising a branch. Cut a piece of wire a bit longer than the space between the branch and trunk.
Cut both ends of the wire to a sharp point, and position the wire by pushing one end into the trunk and the other into the said branch.
Feeding Fuchsia Tip Cuttings When Growing Bonsai
During growth, keep removing large leaves; new leaves come back quickly and are smaller in size.
If plants remain in the same growing pot for more than six months, renew the bottom third of the soil, also removing any roots in the bottom third.
Six months before it is time for a plant to go into a bonsai pot, begin to pot down, gradually transferring to a smaller pot size so that the plant gets used to living in less soil with fewer roots.
Converting Garden or Storebought Fuchsia Plants To Bonsai
If a plant has been growing in the garden or a large pot for several years, look at the branch/stem structure, consider the ‘bonsai’ aspect, and look for thick and even contorted stems.
You may find this plant at your local fuchsia nursery, especially towards the end of the ‘fuchsia season.’
Scrape away the topsoil; you may find some nice thick roots coming directly out of the lower part of a particular stem which later could be used as ‘nebari’ (surface root/roots.)
Remove all flowers and foliage. Cut out unwanted stems, cut back remaining lateral stems between a third/half, according to the size of the plant and your intentional shape for a bonsai, remembering that the new growth will shoot much lower down on the remaining lateral stems.
Dig out of the garden or remove from a large pot, remove soil and tap roots, and leave as many fine white roots as possible.
Plant into a growing pot with new soil, allowing plenty of room for remaining roots to recover and grow. Place out of direct sunlight and keep moist.
After four weeks, water once with a high nitrogen feed, and mist/spray daily, preferably with rainwater; this helps new growth to come back more quickly.
Then carry on as above for a 5-inch pot.
How To Transfer Fuchsia into a Bonsai Pot
Soil mix for bonsai pot – 50% peat-based compost – 25% loam – 20% horticultural grit, 5% perlite, and a small amount of horticultural charcoal (helps to keep the soil sweet”)
During the summer months outside, place in a well-ventilated position, protect from the hot sun, e.g., use green shade netting.
Water in the mornings, keep moist, and never let them dry out completely. Constantly remove any large leaves and dead or dying flowers.
Continue with shaping. Remember, the removal of growing tips will delay flowering between four to six weeks, according to the variety.
Feed during the growing season with a balanced feed, NPK 20-20-20 at a quarter strength twice weekly. A monthly feed of Sequestrene (iron chelate, magnesium, and manganese) helps to produce healthy foliage.
As fuchsias are deciduous, carefully remove any flowers and foliage still on your fuchsia bonsai in late Autumn, and prune back anything between one-quarter and one-third of lateral branches (except for the encliandra type fuchsias, only give a light trim).
Please give them a good clean. Remove any moss and debris from the top of the soil.
If necessary, i.e., if the bonsai is becoming pot bound, repotting can occur now instead of the following spring.
It is only advisable to keep your fuchsia bonsai in a heated greenhouse throughout the winter. In other words,” keeping them in the green.”
Once cut back and cleaned, they will immediately begin to grow again, so repotting now means less risk of damaging top growth than if you were to wait until the Spring to repot.
Never remove more than 1/3rd of the total amount of root at any one time; try to leave as many of the more delicate roots as possible.
When repotting is completed, spray branches and stems preferably with collected rainwater in the mornings, this helps new foliage to come back quickly. As soon as new foliage appears, start shaping again.
In frost-prone areas, please place it in a greenhouse for the winter and keep it at a temperature of 45f/8c.
If you don’t’ have a greenhouse, a west-facing windowsill indoors in a cool room is ok. Keep them just moist, not soaking wet.
In Spring/early Summer, do harden off the foliage before placing your fuchsia bonsai permanently outside again.
When the weather is suitable, put them out during the day, returning them to the greenhouse for the night until night temperatures stay above 45f/8c.
Bonsai Basic Fundamentals
Bonsai is an art; to become good at bonsai, you must master the fundamentals. These include the following but are not limited to. Click the links in the table to learn more about each subject.
|Placement||Pruning||Style / Form|
|Repotting||Deadwood||Growing from Cuttings|
|Soil||Surface Roots||Growing from Seed|
FAQs on Growing a Fuchsia Bonsai
Conclusion On how To Grow Fuchsia Cuttings
Creating Bonsai from Fuchsia is a great way to bring colour to the world of Bonsai. Fuchsia have stunning colours and the plant does extremely well as bonsai. Why not give this a try yourself?
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