by Pete Waving
Cuttings: Take cuttings larger than normal, i.e. growing tip + 3 sets of leaves. Carefully cut off the lower two sets of leaves taking care not to damage the embryo shoots in their axils and plant up to the top pair of remaining leaves.
- Take cuttings in early/mid spring when plants are really starting to grow and the days are getting longer. Aim to grow your plants over 2 seasons using the fist season only to shape the plant.
- Allow cutting to grow three sets of leaves before stopping and then stop at every 2 pairs of leaves.
- In earlier stages of development I stand my plants on saucers and water only from the bottom. More plants are lost early on because of over watering from the top. Allow plants to take up what water they need for 10 mins and then discard the rest.
- When potting on place plants as low as possible in the new pot and add the new compost to the top. We are aiming to encourage the plant to send up as many shoots as possible from below soil level. Instead of a fuchsia grow on a single stem we are aiming for multiple stems. Triphyllas are rarely free branching and can be prone to a yellowing and dropping of the leaves, so we employ drop potting to try and make the plants lower and bushier.
- On occasions it is necessary to get the plant even lower in the pot and then we resort to the bread knife. Lay the plant on its side and cut cleanly across the base and remove about a quarter of the root ball. This ‘root pruning’ sounds drastic but it really stimulates the plant into making fresh new roots.
- Plants should be cut back to about 3 or 4 inches at the beginning of September, laid on their sides in a shady spot and allowed to come back into growth as soon as possible. Using a fine rose water the old wood to keep it soft and encourage new growth. Once the plant has an even covering of new growth stand them upright again. Plants need to be kept in good light throughout the winter and a temperature of 40 – 42 min must be maintained. Lightly water and feed occasionally with a high nitrogen feed.
- Triphyllas take longer to come into flower than most non triphyllas and need about 16 weeks from the last stop, so if you are growing for shows this means about April. This is why we need to get the plants back into growth so quick as we need to get at least 1 stop in before Christmas.