Will the fuchsia hobby get a come back again?
In the seventies and early eighties it was the case that there was a fuchsia association but that it was considered an island in the Dutch flower and plant world.
While in the ranks of the fuchsia association there were countless cultivars in culture at the time, in professional cultivation this was limited to a few cultivars that were bred by the cuttings. Plants such as 'Cascade', 'La Campanella', 'Swingtime' and its synonym 'Stolze von Berlin' were the toppers.
But also slightly more difficult plants such as the triphylla hybrids 'Koralle' and 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' were popular.
And yet that limited range of professional cultivation was actually the stimulator for growing the fuchsia hobby.
In that period it was so that people became more and more convinced that the pelargonium and the fuchsia did not belong on the windowsill or in the room as grandma used to do.
But because economic conditions gradually improved, people also started to travel more and saw that in the popular holiday countries the geranium and the fuchsia were just outside in the garden.
Many gardens that were used for vegetables grown for their own use were also gradually transformed into ornamental gardens.
Photo: Sjaak Loef (NKvF)
Now it is very common that you can buy fuchsias in the supermarket, do-it-yourself shop or garden center much too early in the year. An extensive assortment even with small plants in many varieties and colors, often far too soon and prematurely cultivated for prices where the fuchsia lover can hardly buy cuttings from our cuttings.
But in the seventies and early eighties it was different. Then you saw that in the gardeners and florists at the end of May and in the beginning of June beautiful, fully-flowering large shrubs and hanging pots were offered.
All fuchsias from the limited range of professional cultivation. And those were not cheap at that time. If you buy a geranium for € 2.50 to € 3.00, that was also fl.2.50 to fl.3.00 in guilders.
But such a beautiful fuchsia soon had to cost more than ten guilders and sometimes almost fl.20.00 which was a considerable amount for many people. But honestly, the Dutch occupiers were masters in the cultivation of beautifully flowering plants and many succumbed to the temptation and purchased several plants.
That people were careful with those expensive purchases that goes without saying and with that the problems came. The plants were used outside in the gardens and on the terraces and they tried to keep them.
Where you can now get a range of products under the Pokon brand, it was the case at the time that Pokon was just the same as the term manure for houseplants. More was often not there. That this was not sufficient for the fuchsia now knows every Fuchsia lover.
Retain that one tried on the windowsill, in the shed and in all sorts of other ways. And also the cuttings of the fuchsias in a jar with water was popular, but how did you get those beautiful large plants from there? All that and the fact that they had more free time were the reason for many people to seek information about having and keeping Fuchsias.
Nowadays we would simply press the button of our computer and then swallow an evening away in all information about fuchsias offered on the internet.
But be honest, how many websites are there that try to outdo each other in beautiful photos and extensive information. But little information is provided about the basic principles. That is why the publication of the first Dutch-language manual on fuchsias was so important.
The book "Fuchsias have and keep" provided the information that many people were waiting for. The book was published by the Dutch Circle of Fuchsia friends and was therefore the springboard to the enjoyment of a membership of an association where you could go with questions, materials and exchange experiences.
The association was actually a service center for the members at the time. The fuchsia hobby and with it the association flourished here in the Netherlands, but also abroad the fuchsia hobby grew.
Strangely enough, it was the professional cultivation that tried to take advantage of this growing interest in fuchsias that they themselves had contributed to.
The supply of the beautiful large plants soon collapsed. The rising costs for growing them and especially for the transport of the large plants were to blame. But also the now extensive assortment and the fact that one always wanted to bring blossoming fuchsias on the market earlier than the competitor ensured that fuchsias could be found on every street corner in April. Especially in the initial period, these products were often grown with inhibitors to get as early as possible.
Later, the use of inhibitors was reduced, but the quickly reared plants that had been put outside quickly turned to pathetic shrubs that hardly bloomed.
The Dutch became more traveling and where the geraniums in the flower boxes could just be saved after the holiday, it was the cheap fuchsias that had left the mark.
This has continued for decades and the fuchsias of professional cultivation have now become so-called seasonal plants,
or rather throw-away plants that temporarily brighten the flower boxes in the early spring.
But if we try to guess the thoughts of the buyers of these plants then you will see that there are also flowers and plant lovers who think "how can that be, what am I doing wrong".
They have not cost me much money, but I actually want them longer. And those fuchsias you see in the gardens here and there that also bloom all year round? I have bought fuchsias in the garden center that can be planted in the garden and they also die in the winter a cry that you hear.
Once again the lack of basic information comes up. A nice colorful label with those small plants is nice, hey they also have a name which is nice, but the necessary information is not on it.
But what is our surprise now? The professional cultivation has also gradually experienced that the interest in fuchsias is decreasing. Those who pay attention will see that the offer of those disposable customers is getting smaller every year.
Admittedly by a wider range of other types of bedding plants, but also by the reduced interest in them. And what else do you see happening? More large flowering plants are coming onto the market. Not only for gardeners and florists, but also for DIY stores, supermarkets and the many garden centers that we have today.
Because these larger plants need more time to grow and to flower, they arrive happily later in the season than the large bulk of bedding plants that are offered. And yes the heating costs for the growers are still high and the transport has only become more expensive, so those larger plants now no longer fall under the category of 3 for € 5.00. These plants are considerably more expensive. And yet they are being bought by the public and once again they can cause a flourishing of the fuchsia hobby, especially since there is now a much larger assortment available than in the last century, which encourages interest in these plants.
But in contrast, there will be few people who are looking for a book about fuchsias. No in a terrace chair enjoying the splendor of their fuchsias, people will type the word FUCHSIA on the smartphone and search for information on the various websites. Because that is still not to be found on the beautiful label that comes with the plants. The mention WWW.NKvF.nl would then be a welcome addition to the text on the labels. However, that site must also provide the basic information for having and keeping Fuchsias properly and easily accessible.
Also the search term; "Fuchsia's basic information" in Google could be useful in this. We can not predict the future but since the establishment of the NKvF in the statutes one of the aims of the association is to make propaganda for Fuchsias. And that should be done just as you do in education from an early age.
The motto "Young learned, old done also applies here.
Author M. A. Soeters 2017