Growing Standard Fuchsias

Who doesn’t admire a full standard with an abundance of colourful blooms?

To grow one successfully necessitates a little knowledge on how to choose the ideal plant. What is required is a strong and robust variety. Remember, this ‘fuchsia on a stick’ will last for quite a number of years if looked after correctly and given the best form of winter protection. Unfortunately, the long stem is the most vulnerable part of the plant during this period.

There are basically four recognized types of standard. The varying differences being the length of the main stem from compost level, to the position where the first branch emanates from it.

The accepted measurements are:-

Picture of standard fuchsia

Full Standard:

Clear stem not to be less than 30” (762mm) or exceed 42” (1067mm)

Half Standard:

Clear stem not to be less than 18” (457mm) or exceed 30” (762mm)

Quarter Standard:

Clear stem not to be less than 10” (254mm) or exceed 18” (457mm)

Mini Standard:

Clear stem not to be less than 6” (152mm) or exceed 10” (254mm)

Measurement of clear stem is from the compost level to the lowest stem, as indicated by the arrow in the sketch above.

Pot Sizes

Full, Half and Quarter Standards to be grown in a pot in proportion to the plant size. Mini Standards are usually grown in a pot not exceeding 5¼” (133mm) in diameter.

The head of each standard should be in proportion to the length of stem. As a rough guide, the head should be approximately one third the total height of the plant. What must be taken into consideration when growing a trailing variety is that the length of the stem will be obscured by a greater amount than it would with a more upright form of growth.

Whenever it is at all possible, try to select a young plant that has three sets of shoots at every leaf break. They aren’t as common as the normal plant that has just two sets. The extra stem is an advantage but not absolutely necessary when choosing a fuchsia plant for the purpose of growing any type of standard.

The plants chosen will have to be treated with extreme care as each one will grow into what is commonly known as a whipA main shoot which is
grown upwards, all side shoots
being removed

To enable this process to happen, all the side shoots are pinched out as the plant develops, whilst taking great care not to remove any of the leaves. These must be left intact so that the plant is able to receive the nutrients it requires to ensure it grows strong and healthy.

The whip then has a thin cane inserted alongside the main stem to which it is tied at regular intervals, thus training it to grow absolutely straight. Make sure that the ties do not ‘strangle’ the young plant.

The ideal time to transplant the developing whip into a pot one size larger, is when its roots begin to appear through the outer edge of the compost. If left for too long before deciding to transplant it to a larger container, the plant is likely to become ‘pot bound’ and probably induce it to produce flower buds which will inevitably retard its growth.

The Whip Must Be Allowed To Develop Unhindered At All Times

Continue to pinch out all the side shoots, but do not remove the leaves from the main stem. They will eventually drop off on their own accord.

When the whip has reached the desired height, retain the next three sets of side shoots and then pinch out the uppermost growing tip.

These three sets of side shoots will eventually develop to become the head of the standard.

Allow each side shoot that is forming the head to develop two or three sets of leaves then pinch out the growing tips. Continue to do this until the desired proportion of the head is achieved.

Prepare to plant the young standard into the pot in which it is intended to mature.

The standard is then tied at regular intervals to a substantial support cane which should be long enough to continue into the head of the plant to give extra support against the possibility of any wind snapping it from the main stem, especially with the additional weight when it is in full bloom.

Information about pruning your standards can be found here.