If you have one fuchsia plant (Fuchsia x hybrida), making more is easy using a simple propagation technique called stem tip cuttings. Fuchsia cuttings root best if taken in mid to late spring, though you can also take cuttings in the summer and fall if you keep them moist and cool.
Most fuchsias you're likely to find at garden centers are hybrid types, and they grow as perennials in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. You can also treat fuchsias as annual plants. Use the same basic technique to take cuttings for all species and cultivars.
Taking Fuchsia Cuttings
Sterilize cutting tools before using them to take cuttings, and in between cutting different plants. This prevents the spread of disease. Soak the tools for five minutes in a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water, then rinse in clean water and allow to air-dry before use. Use sharp tools for the best chance of success with cuttings.
Things You'll Need
- Sharp pruning knife or gardening shears
- Rooting hormone (optional)
- Cotton balls
- Slender dowel or pencil
- Pot with drainage holes
- Soilless potting mix
- Plant labels and pen
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Large, clear plastic bag
Step 1: Make The Cut
Choose a cool day for taking cuttings, and work in a shady spot so the cuttings don't dry out or wilt too quickly.
Step 2: Prepare For Planting
Remove the lowest set of leaves on each cutting. You can cut them off with the pruning knife or gardening shears, or pinch them off with your fingernails. If there is a flower bud on the cutting, remove it before planting. Dust the bottom end of each cutting with rooting hormone on a cotton ball (optional). Fill a plant pot with evenly moist potting mix.
Step 3: Plant the Cutting
Use a slender dowel or pencil to poke holes in the potting mix 1 to 2 inches apart. Set each cutting in a hole, so the lowest part of the stem is at least half covered with soil. Gently firm soil around the stem. Write the date and name of the plant on a plant label, and put it in the pot with the cuttings. Mist the cuttings to water them, and cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to hold in moisture. Do not let the plastic touch plant leaves.
Caring for the Cuttings
Use a spray bottle to mist the cuttings and potting mix often enough to keep them evenly moist. Do not allow the cuttings to dry out while they are growing roots, and keep them shaded. It will take three to four weeks for roots to develop. Once the cuttings have rooted and start to put on new growth, move them to individual 2 1/2 inch pots.
To test if roots have formed, gently pull on the stem. If you feel resistance, it means the cutting has formed roots. If the cutting feels as though it will pull out of the soil easily, roots haven't formed yet. Avoid pulling the cutting from the soil while testing.
After the plants have 2 to 3 inches of new growth, pinch the end leaves off to encourage bushy growth. Cuttings taken in the spring or summer can start flowering the year they were rooted. If you took cuttings in fall, overwinter them in a cool area at around 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit with bright, indirect light. Water the plants just enough to keep the soil from drying out. In spring, care for them the same way you would other mature fuchsias.