Our speaker this month was Kristopher Harper who has a background of working with and showing Fuchsias for 20 years. His talk was about tips on growing fuchsias and also how to transport them to a show. He advised taking cuttings in the Autumn by cutting stock plants back July or August in order to get healthy new growth, ideal for taking cuttings. He uses coir but advises sieving to remove any lumps and to avoid any waterlogging by incorporating some grit. One of the worst pests for fuchsias is vine weevil so important to repot in Autumn before over wintering in order to remove any vine weevil, there are also biological treatments on the market.
Fuchsia gall mite is also becoming a problem in some areas which deforms the new shoots of the plants. This is a notifiable disease. The best way to treat is to remove the growing tip and ideally burn them. Rust is also a problem, good ventilation important and can also be sprayed, a long armed sprayer is useful to reach underneath the leaves. Really important also to have good hygiene and clean tools regularly. Kristopher feeds his plants with Chempack , little and often but any proprietary feed would do. When showing always use new or very clean pots and saucers. A helpful tip on transporting pots is to use a long length of wood with pots bigger than show pots screwed to piece of wood, then the show plants can be slipped inside. He also uses muslin like cloth for protecting the blooms. Members were very interested in the plants and books Kristopher had brought with him, so I think we all learned something from his talk and demonstrations.