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How to prune a hardy fuchsia

Updated February 21, 2017

Hardy fuchsia, also commonly called Magellan fuchsia is a flowering, deciduous shrub known botanically as Fuchsia magellanica. It is native to southern Chile and Argentina, and is the hardiest of Fuchsia species with root survival even in the coldest regions of the UK. The branches or stems are long and fountain-like, shooting up directly from the soil and then arching downward again. Pruning requirements are more important in cold climates where the top of the plant dies back with the first frost in autumn and in warm tropical climes where the plant grows rapidly.

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  1. Prune your hardy fuchsia shrub in the early to mid-spring after the last frost to make way for new green growth that will sprout as temperatures warm. In warm and temperate climes, you can also prune later in the summer after blooming has finished, if preferable.

  2. Shear off all dead or diseased-looking plant tissues down to the crown of the plant at the soil line, carefully collecting and discarding the cuttings.

  3. Thin out the oldest and longest branches, severing them down at the crown just above the soil to renew the plant and spur new blooming growth in the interior. Remove up to one-third of the live plant tissues in this manner to resize and renew the plant over a three-year cycle.

  4. Hard prune badly overgrown or neglected shrubs in the winter. Shear off roughly half of the length of the previous spring and summer growth or cut back the entire plant down to 15 cm (6 inches) above the soil line. The regrowth pattern will follow the natural form and the plant will look like new by the following summer or early autumn.

  5. Tip

    Refrain from shearing the shrub into shapes or reducing the length of live branches at any midpoint. These practices destroy the elegant arching natural form of the shrub which is part of its charm.

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Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • Loppers

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