The Q&A Archives: Overgrown Fuchsias

Question: The house I have just moved into has two large "Fuchsia Trees" that have been neglected. Each has a trunk about 6' tall with sparce growth on top, one has fallen over (still seems to be alive). Do you think there is any hope of bringing these two back to their former glory or should I take them out and start over? They are planted next to the house and get filtered morning sunlight and no direct afternoon sun.

Answer: Your fuchsia is probably F. arborescens, traditionally a big shrub, growing to about 18' tall. If it's been trained to a single-trunk, it will be difficult to make it revert to a multi-stemmed plant, even with judicious pruning. Since you have the option of removing and replacing them, I'd go ahead and do that. Pruning the tops will result in additional stem development there, but the trunk is likely to remain bare. It's a difficult decision but in this case I think I'd replace them with younger plants that can be trained into spectacular specimens.

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