Germinating the seeds
Plant your seeds when you receive them for the best germination
Getting started -- Use any small containers or cups that have drainage holes. Use a well draining soil mix, such as 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-size perlite, not large chunks). An alternate mix is equal parts of coir fiber and perlite, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in. Do not add lime to the mix, since the plant likes slightly-acid soil.
Fill each container and water it. Don't compress the soil. Place a seed or 2 on top, and sprinkle a thin layer of soil on top - just enough to barely cover the seeds, because light helps the seeds germinate. Sprinkle some water on the top soil layer to settle in the seeds.
Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the soil surface always stays moist. An easy way maintain moisture is to enclose the pots in a plastic dome or bag. Leave it open slightly to allow some fresh air in. You may need to drip a few drops of water on the seeds every day keep them moist.
Keep the pots at about 65-77 degrees F (18-25°C). A little cooler at night is ok, but avoid letting them get above 80°F (27°C). I recommend keeping a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.
Place the pots in a bright spot out of direct sun. An LED or fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights").
They should begin sprouting in about 4 to 6 weeks, but sometimes take 8 weeks to start, especially at cooler temperatures. Give your seedlings bright light, but avoid direct sunlight when they are small. I recommend growing them indoors for at least 2-3 months. If you have more than one seedling in each container, either snip off the weaker one(s) after 4 weeks or gently transplant them.
Watering - This Fuchsia likes evenly moist soil, but it shouldn't be perpetually soggy either. Never let the pots dry out, but don't let them sit in a tray of water either.
If your tap water is very high in minerals (or "hard") i recommend using bottled spring water or rain water.
Climate -- It thrives when temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night. The plant might not thrive if temperatures regularly get above 85° F (29°C), and nights are above 65 degrees F (18 C). In warmer conditions, give the plants afternoon shade, and keep the pot shaded. The plant can probably only survive a light frost (26°F/-3°C), but it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures.
They enjoy bright light, with protection from strong afternoon sun.
Over about 40% humidity is best. If your plants seem to suffer from low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.
Fertilizing -- For the first 8 weeks, feed weekly with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer. Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients. After 8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, feeding at half the dosage on the package. Or continue feeding weekly with dilute liquid fertilizer.
Pruning -- The plant tends to have a wide growth habit, but you can encourage a more upward, tree-like shape by removing some of the lower side branches after the plant is 6 months old.
Pests to watch for - Watch for any bugs that typically affect your other plants.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Have fun growing them!
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