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Turquoise Puya

 

Bolivian Fuchsia

Fuchsia boliviana

Please take your time removing your plant from its packaging. 

Soil --  Like most Fuchsias, this one likes moist soil that's high in organic matter, but that also drains well.  Regular potting soil can work, but i would add some perlite to lighten it (1 part perlite to 2 parts soil).  If you mix your own soil, use something along the lines of 3 parts well-decomposed compost to 1 part sand and 1 part perlite or pumice rock.  I like to add some slow-release organic fertilizer too. 

Pot size -- Start it in a 1 gallon pot or thereabouts.  When the roots start circling around the bottom and poke out of the holes, it's time to repot to a larger container, like a 3 gallon size, or into the ground, if you're in a mild-winter area.  If you choose to keep it in a pot, you'll need to transplant to a larger container eventually. 

Before sliding your plant from it's pot, give it a watering, so the soil doesn't break apart, which can damage the roots. If the plant is hard to slide out, push a pen or a stick into the holes at the bottom to help push it out.  After transplanting, don't compress the soil down - simply water it. 

I recommend growing your plant indoors until it's grown at least a few inches.  You can use a fluorescent bulb if you keep it about 6-8" from the plants.  Do not use incandescent (screw-in) bulbs, even if they're called "plant bulbs".  You can also put them in well-filtered sunlight.  Transition it to more sun very gradually - no more than an hour more sun every week or two.  Fuchsias don't like dry air.  Over 50% humidity is recommended.   

Watering - Fuchsia boliviana likes moist soil, but it shouldn't be perpetually soggy either.  Water whenever the soil is about halfway dry down where the roots are.  For the first month, please ensure the original soil ball remains moist.  I recommend using a moisture meter probe to monitor the soil moisture. You can buy this at garden and hardware stores for about $4.  You simply stick the probe in the soil at the level where the roots are, and water whenever the needle is halfway across the dial.  Never let the pot dry out completely, but don't let them sit in a tray of water either.  I strongly recommend using bottled or spring water until your plant has grown a foot taller.

Feeding - Your Fuchsia likes average fertilizing. Feed once a month during periods of active growth, using an ordinary complete vegetable fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended dose.  Don't overfeed them - it will not speed its growth and may end up killing it. Most potting soil contains fertilizer, which means your plant won't need to be fed for the first month or two.  If some of the older leaves turn yellow and drop, this is usually a sign that the plant may need more fertilizer (nitrogen).  If the newer growth should turn yellow with green veins, the pH of your tap water is probably too high.  Switch to bottled water if this occurs.  It's normal for the growing tips to appear a little reddish or yellow-green initially. 

Growing outdoors - Fuchsia boliviana prefers filtered sunlight.  Morning sun + afternoon shade is fine, as is tree-filtered sunlight all day.  The plant prefers moderate temperatures and cool nights.  The ideal temps would be between 60 and 80 during the day, and 45 to 65 at night.  In warmer areas, give the plants mid-day shade, and don't place them near a wall where heat can collect.  Keep the pot shaded to avoid overheating the roots, and mulch heavily to keep the soil moist.  Black pots are not recommended.  You may plant them in the ground in mild-winter areas, such as along the Pacific coast.  Protect the plants from all frost. 

Pests to watch for - whitefly, aphids, scale (little lumps on the stems or leaves), mealybugs, and possibly spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves).

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. 

Have fun growing it!

Jeff

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