Germinating the seeds
When to plant -- Plant your seeds right away for best results.
The seeds are easy to germinate. Use any small containers or cups with drainage holes. Use a well-draining soil mix, such as 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite. An alternate mix is equal parts of perlite and coir fiber, with some slow-release fertilizer added.
Fill each container almost to the top. Don't compress the soil. Place 2 or 3 seeds on top, and sprinkle a very thin layer of soil on top - just enough to barely cover the seeds (1/8", or 2 mm). Add water until the soil is evenly moist (but not soggy).
Moderate temperatures are best for germination - about 65-74 degrees F / 18-24 degrees C (cooler at night is ok). Avoid letting them get above 77° F (25°). I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.
Ensure that the soil surface never dries out. If you place the pots in a humidity dome or bag to maintain moisture, leave it open a crack to let some fresh air in. You may need to drip a few drops of water on them each day. Keep them in a bright spot, but not in direct sun.
Most of the seeds should sprout within 4 weeks, but allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout. Once they sprout, increase the air ventilation a bit to avoid getting stem rot.
Until the seedlings are 4 weeks old, keep the soil surface moist. I recommend growing them indoors until they're at least 3 months old. For lighting, you may use a fluorescent bulb kept about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) from the plants. Do not use incandescent (screw-in) bulbs, even if they're called "plant bulbs". You can also put them in filtered sunlight. Protect them from strong, direct sun.
If you have more than one seedling in each container, snip off the weaker one(s) when they are 4-6 weeks old - or very carefully remove them.
Fuchsias don't like dry air. If the indoor humidity drops below about 40% humidity, consider using a room humidifier.
Watering - Aim to keep the soil evenly moist most of the time. Do not let the soil dry out. A moisture meter probe works well for monitoring this. You can buy it at garden and hardware stores for about $5.
Feeding - Your Fuchsia likes average fertilizing. Feed about every 2 months with a slow-release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer. If your potting soil contains nutrients (check the label) your seedlings won't need to be fed the first 3 weeks.
It's normal for an older leaf to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the soil may be too dry down where the roots are, or the plant may need more fertilizer (nitrogen). If the newer leaves 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.
Repotting - Repot your plants to larger containers whenever the plant becomes root-bound. Water the soil before repotting, to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots.
Growing outdoors - Fuchsia boliviana prefers filtered sunlight, with protection from strong afternoon sun. Morning sun + afternoon shade is fine, as is tree-filtered sunlight all day. The plant prefers moderate temperatures and cool nights. The ideal temperature would be between 45 and 80° during the day (7-27°C), and 40-70° at night (4-22°C). In warmer areas, give the plants afternoon 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. 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 them!
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