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not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Gulf Coast Research & Education Center
IFAS, University of Florida
5007 60th Street East
Bradenton, FL 34203
Bradenton GCREC Research Report BRA1984-8 April 1984
GUIDELINES FOR FUCHSIA PRODUCTION IN SOUTH FLORIDA1
B. K. Harbaugh and W. E. Waters
Fuchsias are not commonly produced in south Florida, partly because of the diffi-
culty of producing them in hot and humid conditions, and partly because of a lack
of information on Fuchsia production under those conditions. With current empha-
sis on crop diversity, Fuchsias certainly provide growers, and ultimately consumers,
with a very unique flowering pot plant. The flowers are unusual and many cultivars
are available with a variety of flower shapes, sizes and colors. Vegetative growth
habits range from upright to prostrate or hanging characteristics. This report is
a summary of cultural practices developed at the Gulf Coast Research and Education
Center for Fuchsia production in warm climates.
The potting medium should contain a heavy proportion of peat or other water-holding
components to produce a medium with high water retention characteristics. Drainage
is also important to reduce root and stem diseases, but should not be at the expense
of water-holding capacity since Fuchsias require an abundance of water. A potting
medium with 50-60 percent capillary pore space and 10 percent noncapillary pore
space is suggested, or a relatively heavy medium. Although high quality plants can
be produced with light types of media, plants may require watering twice a day to
prevent wilting and may deteriorate during marketing.
Fuchsias can be categorized with plants that require high fertilization rates. Six
to eight oa.of a 400-500 ppm N-P-K solution applied twice a week is necessary for
rapid growth. OsmocoteC 14-14-14 (3-4 month release at 70 F) or 18-6-12 (8-9 month
release at 700F) incorporated at 12 lb/yd into the medium immediately before plan-
ting or top dressed after planting (2 teaspoons per 6 inch pot) are alternative
methods to provide major elements for rapid growth.
Nutrients are released from Osmocote rapidly with soil temperatures above 70OF and
thus the 8-9 month 18-6-12 formulation is used for production of flowering plants
in May, or when plants are grown for long periods in the same pot (see scheduling).
Microelements should be incorporated in the medium or added to the liquid fertili-
zation program. Addition of 2.5-5 lb/yd single superphosphate and a 2:1 ratio of
dolomitic:calcitic limestone is needed to adjust the medium pH to 6.0-6.5 and to
supply calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sulfur.
Fuchsias are considered a greenhouse crop for winter production since air tempera-
ture must be maintained above 600F for rapid growth. Mean daily temperatures below
70-75F delay flowering as well as slow or stop vegetative growth. Similarly,
Fuchsias tolerate a wide range of light intensities, but to prevent stretching
1Appreciation is extended to Nancy West for her valuable technical assistance with
this project and to H. M. Buckley & Sons, Inc., Springfield, IL for donation of
and to increase the number of flowers produced, light intensity should range
from 3000-5000 foot candles (ft. c.). Flower growers have a comparative advan-
tage over growers in other states because of the high light intensity and tem-
perature during the winter and spring months (November-May). On the other hand,
excessively high temperature and humidity during summer and fall prohibit or
make it extremely difficult to produce Fuchsia from June-October.
Lighting, temperature, type of cutting, pinching, number of cuttings per pot and
final plant size desired are factors that will influence scheduling. With grower
experience and knowledge of these factors, Fuchsias can be precisely scheduled
to produce flowering plants for peak holiday sales at Valentine's Day, Easter,
Mother's Day and Memorial Day.
A. Lighting-Temperature: Fuchsias are long day plants and thus require lighting
from October through March 15 in south Florida to initiate flowering. Incandes-
cent lamps which provide a light intensity of at least 10 ft. c. at plant height
from 10 PM 2 AM (mum lighting) are satisfactory. As few as 4 days of lighting
initiated flowering in some cultivars but 21 days of lighting will insure flower
initiation and development in all cultivars. Lighting is not required after
March 15. Plants will flower 40-45 days from initiation of long days at average
daily temperatures of 70-75F. Higher temperatures reduce flowering time while
lower temperatures increase length of time to flower. Thus, early crops meant
for Valentine's Day, for instance, may require an additional 7-10 days to flower,
while Memorial Day crops produced during warmer months may require only 35 days
B. Pinching-Type of Cutting: Fuchsias require pinching to induce lateral branch-
ing. Rooted cuttings which have been pre-pinched may be purchased in 2 inch x
2 inch or similar sized pots or trays. Cuttings may also be purchased which are
rooted but are shipped without soil (bare-rooted) and have not been pre-pinched.
Allow 2 weeks for these cuttings to become established before pinching, thus
increasing crop time at least 2-3 weeks over the time required for pre-pinched
established cuttings. Fuchsias are allowed to grow to six nodes and then are
pinched to 4 nodes. When multiple pinches are made on the same plant over time,
2-3 weeks must be added to the crop time for each pinch date. Lighting is initiated
one week after the last pinch.
C. Number of Cuttings Final Plant Size: If small plants in 4-5 inch pots are
desired, then one cutting per pot is used. When pre-pinched, established cuttings
are used, they can be lighted immediately after planting and will be marketable
in six weeks. If small, bare-rooted cuttings which have not been pinched are
used, the production time for a 4-5 inch pot would be 9 weeks (2 weeks establish-
ment time + 1 week after pinch before lighting + 6 weeks to flower at 70 F).
This same relationship is true for larger pot sizes. For example, growers use one
cutting in a six inch pot, or even an 8-10 inch basket, and then pinch several
times, or alternately use 3-5 cuttings for 6 inch or 8-10 inch baskets. Production
time can vary from 6 weeks for the latter (pre-pinched cutting, 0 weeks establish-
ment time + 0 weeks for additional pinches since 3 cuttings used + 0 weeks after
last pinch before lighting + 6 weeks after initiation of long day lighting) to
15 weeks for the former method (bare-rooted cutting, 2 weeks establishment time +
6 weeks for 3 additional pinches with one plant per pot + 1 week after last pinch
before lighting + 6 weeks after initiation of long day lighting) depending on the
combination of these factors and an additional spread of 7-10 days due to temperature
Most cultivars evaluated at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center were
satisfactory for production during the cooler months (Nov.-Feb.). When forced
to flower in late May, however, many cultivars did not perform well due to heat
stress. The following is a list of cultivars which appeared to be most suitable
for south Florida for both winter and late spring (Nov. through May). These cul-
tivars also provide a range of vegetative and flower characteristics, and are
recommended for use as one develops expertise in growing Fuchsias.
1. Abbe Farges: Small bicolored flower (tube and sepals red, corolla rosy-
purple), bushy growth habit for pots or hanging baskets.
2. Display: Medium sized rose-red flowers, upright growth habit for pot or
3. Geisha Girl: Medium sized double bicolored flowers (tube and sepals red,
corolla purple), upright semi-dwarf plant for pot or hanging basket.
4. Happy Fellow: Large bicolored flowers (tube and sepals pink, corolla red),
upright growth habit for pots.
5. Marinka: Large red flowers, sprawling growth habit, hanging basket.
6. Mrs. Marshall: Large bicolored flowers (tube and sepals white, rose corolla),
upright growth habit for pots.
7. Pumila: Small bicolored flowers (red tube and sepals, purple corolla), small
leaves and miniature appearance for pots.
8. Queen Esther: Large bicolored flower (white tube and sepals, purple corolla),
semi-upright habit for pots or hanging baskets.
9. Sunshine: Large pink flowers, upright bushy plant for pot or hanging basket.
10. Winston Churchill: Medium bicolored flowers (red tube and sepals, purple
corolla), bushy growth habit for pots or hanging baskets.
Whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites and aphids attack Fuchsias, but whiteflies appeal.
especially troublesome. For recommendations on selection and application of insec-
ticides and miticides, contact the Cooperative Extension Service office in your