When to prune fuchsias - keep this cottage garden favourite looking good all year round

Yes, hardy fuchsias and tender fuchsias have different pruning requirements

Fuschia plant in pot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The purple and pink hues of fuchsias and the long summer flowering period make these pretty plants a garden favourite. But knowing when to prune fuchsias is key if you want this hardy plant to look good all year. 

The pendulous nature of the fuchsia makes it a welcome addition to any garden border. It’s incredibly easy to take a fuschia cutting, but things get a little more complicated when it comes to choosing the right time to prune fuchsias.  

One thing you might not know about fuchsias is that there are two varieties: hardy and tender. And while it’s generally a good idea to prune them in the same way, that’s where the similarities end. In fact, they have two completely different pruning requirements. 

When to prune fuchsias 

We spoke to the experts to get the full low-down on when to prune fuchsias so they are kept neat and tidy and steadily blooming next summer.

When to prune hardy fuchsias

Fuschia plant in pot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As you should be able to guess from the name, hardy fuchsias are fairly invincible. With their bright and vibrant dangling flowers, these plants require very little and are extremely easy-going. As long as they have well-draining soil and regular watering, they should be able to thrive all year round - even in the harsh winter. 

Hardy fuchsias are so popular that they’re normally used for hedges, as the thick stems and shrub-like growth add an impressive fullness to your garden edging ideas. In fact, it’s this fullness that allows a hardy fuchsia to survive the winter months without any human intervention.

That’s because the older growth on the top of the plant acts as a winter jacket, protecting new growth from frost and the cold, as well as limiting the risk of disease. When the risk of frost is gone in the spring, you can then focus on cutting back these old branches and allowing new growth to form.

Fuschia plant in pot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench explains, ‘In the UK, I recommend pruning fuchsias in March/April time, or as soon as you notice the first signs of growth. This is because they're generally susceptible to frost damage, so pruning in early spring makes sure that the plant can recover from its pruning without the threat of being damaged by frost.’ 

Headshot of gardening expert Steve Chilton
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.

When to prune tender fuchsias

Yes, tender fuchsias are a little more sensitive than the hardy kind. With thinner stems and daintier flowers, they’re often a popular choice for hanging baskets and outdoor plant pots. However, they do require a little more time and patience. 

As tender fuchsias struggle to survive the cold and frosty conditions, experts suggest bringing them inside during the winter months - whether that be in your home or in your greenhouse. But it’s also a good idea to prune your fuchsias before you start overwintering your plants

Fuschia plant in pot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Make sure you transfer your fuchsias to pots for the winter by the end of September, cutting it back to half of its original size in the process. Aim to cut back as many of the leaves as you can so it doesn’t use unnecessary energy during the cold winter months.

When winter is over and spring has sprung once again, you can also take the opportunity to give your tender fuchsias some more attention. Simply cut back the stems to the lowest buds to promote even better growth during its flowering period. It’s also a good idea to pinch the growing tips every so often to encourage a bigger and bushier plant. 


Can you cut back fuchsia in autumn?

Yes, if you have tender fuchsias. But it’s important to understand the difference between tender and hardy fuchsias - as you can only cut one of these varieties back in the autumn.

If you have tender fuchsias in your garden, it’s a good idea to prepare them for overwintering by cutting them back by half in September. This will allow it to survive the winter months and conserve its energy after it is taken inside or into a greenhouse. 

However, you shouldn't cut back hardy fuchsias in the autumn as they use this old growth as a protective layer during the colder months. This means that it should be able to survive the winter months without having to be pulled up and taken inside. Instead, you should cut back a hardy fuchsia in spring.

When should you prune fuchsias in the UK?

It depends on the variety of fuchsia you have. If you have a hardy fuchsia, you should wait until early spring (when you see the first signs of growth) to prune your plant. 

If you have a tender fuchsia, however, it’s a good idea to cut the plant back by half before overwintering and then give it another small prune in spring to ensure it’s in the best shape before flowering. 

Do you cut back fuchsias after flowering?

Yes, as this will promote new growth and give the plant the chance to use all of its energy on new flowers and new foliage. By doing this, the next year’s summer flowering period should be bigger and better. 

If you have tender fuchsias, cut back after flowering in September before overwintering. You can wait a bit longer if you have hardy fuchsias, though, as these can survive the winter with their own growth still intact. You’ll want to cut back as new growth starts to form in the spring, though. 

Take good care of your fuchsias and they'll continue to shine year after year.

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.