Copyright 2011
Growing Standard Fuchsias
Standard fuchsias are one of the most eye catching and self satisfying ways of training fuchsias. Planted out into the garden they can add instant height and colour and whilst they might look difficult to grow they can be surprisingly easy, after all they are just a bush on a stem. For show purposes there are rules on stem lengths, which are - Mini Standard - 6 to 10 inches Quarter Standard - 10 to 18 inches Half Standard - 18 to 30 inches Full Standard - 30 to 42 inches
These measurements are taken from the compost level to where the bottom branch leaves the stem  
On   the   left   of   this   picture   is   a   plant   not   long   been   potted   up   into   a   3   inch   pot   and   has   been earmarked   as   being   a   standard   with   a   cane   pushed   in,   try   and   pick   a   straighter   cane   than I did. Start   tying   the   stem   to   the   cane   every   2   or   3   inches.   I   have   started   using   a   velcro   type   of fastener   which   comes   on   a   roll.   Just   cut   off   what   you   need   and   they   can   be   re-used   again and   again.   Whatever   you   use,   tie   it   loosely   and   check   them   often,   as   the   whip   grows   the stem   will   thicken.   If   the   tie   becomes   too   tight   it   will   cut   into   the   stem   and   stop   the   sap rising and disfigure it. Avoid those plastic covered wire ties The   other   two   are   at   a   stage   when   they   are   now   called      ‘Whips’   and   will   continue   being called that until the desired height has been reached and the head has started to form. As   the   whip   grows   replace   the   cane   with   a   longer   one   and,   most   importantly,   make   sure   it does   not   become   pot   bound   (roots   fighting   for   room)   if   it   does   it   will   feel   threatened   and may try to flower and stop producing the growth you need. Keep potting up as needed.
As   the   whip   grows,   sideshoots   will   develop   and   some   of   these   will   need   removing. A   full   standard   will   need   about   6   pairs   of   sideshoots   at   the   head   whilst   a mini   standard   will   need   about   4.   So,   if   you   are   growing   a   full   standard   for   instance,   remove   all   the   sideshoots   below   the   top   6. As   the   stem   grows,   another set   of   side   shoots   will   develop   at   the   top   under   the   growing   tip,   once   you   can   clearly   see   these   go   down   and   remove   the   bottom   set.   Repeat   until   you   have got   the   whip   to   the   height   you   want.   Doing   this   ensures   you   have   the   right   amount   of   sideshoots   at   the   head   and   should   the   growing   tip   get   damaged   or   it starts   to   come   into   flower   at   least   you   will   have   these   top   sideshoots   to   nip   out   and   work   with.   Do   not   remove   any   of   the   leaves   coming   off   the   lower   stem, the   whip   needs   these   to   take   in   sunlight   and   keep   it   sustained. They   can   be   removed   once   the   desired   height   has   been   reached,   the   growing   tip   has   been removed and the side shoots are being nipped out and shaped. Whips   like   the   one   on   the   left   can   bought   at   most   decent   nurserys   which   would   save   you   the   time   getting   to   this   stage   and   all   you   have   to   do   is   nip   out   the growing tip and shape the head.  
Once the whip has reached the desired height the growing tip is removed. On   the   right   is   a   mini   standard.   It   is   no   longer   a   ‘whip’   as   the   growing   tip   has   been   removed and   the   top   sideshoots   are   starting   to   develop.   Note   the   lower   leaves   are   still   in   place. Also note   the   cane   runs   through   and   above   the   head   giving   essential   support.   It   can   always   be trimmed down under the canopy of leaves later. On   the   far   right   this   plant   is   obviously   heading   for   the   show   bench   as   the   grower   has inserted   more   canes   and   brought   down   and   tied   in   the   branches   whilst   they   are   still   green   to help   give   it   a   nice   shape.   These   canes   can   be   removed   when   the   branches   have   hardened. Note   that   the   lower   leaves   have   now   gone,   it   now   has   enough   leaves   on   top   to   sustain   it. Don’t   rip   the   leaves   off,   cut   them   off   leaving   a   tiny   stalk   on   the   stem,   these   will   drop   off themselves in time.  
From   now   on   treat   it   as   a   bush   plant,   pinching out    any    growing    tips    to    encourage    more flowers. On    the    left    is    a    quarter    standard    of    ‘Anne H.Tripp’   nicely   shaping   up.   I   prefer   to   use   the plastic   covered   metal   rods   (B&Q)   for   the   final support   and   again   it   also   runs   right   into   the head which is tied in. On   the   right   is   the   end   result,   which   ended   up on   the   show   bench   at   a   couple   of   shows   and won prizes both times. If   you   intend   to   plant   them   in   the   garden   then make   sure   they   are   well   staked.   Push   some canes   into   the   soil   at   an   angle   and   fasten them   to   the   supporting   cane   just   below   the head.    There    is    nothing    worse    then    seeing your    hard    work    rolling    around    the    garden after a bit of wind.  
One question asked is ‘Why does my standard flower before the head is formed?’ One reason could be that a Spring cutting is being used to form a whip and as fuchsias flower in the long days of the summer months then they will come into flower instead of putting on new sideshoots. If this happens then you could wait until flowering has finished and it goes back in to ‘growing’mode’ in the Autumn but, again, you will need to keep it going through the Winter. Another reason mentioned earlier is that it may have become pot bound. Keep them potted up.  
A Quarter Standard of ‘Joan Lilly’
A Mini Standard of ‘Loves Reward’
Next (Growing Triphylla Type Fuchsias) Next (Growing Triphylla Type Fuchsias)
Of   course,   if   you   are   growing   for   your   own   pleasure,   then   the   choice   of   height   is   all   yours. A   standard   can   be   grown from   almost   any   cultivar   cutting   but   the   best   ones   are   those   with   strong   upright   growing   habits   and   have   the   vigour   to reach   the   stem   height   as   soon   as   possible.   I   recommend   upright   cultivars   for   the   beginner   but   the   picture   above   is   of ‘Sylvia Barker’ better known for its trailing habit ! Standards   should   really   be   started   from   Summer   or   late   Autumn   cuttings   but   a   greenhouse   heated   to   around   45 degrees Farhenheit or a conservatory or windowsill will be needed during the Winter to keep growth going, If   you   have   a   batch   of   cuttings   waiting   to   root   and   some   are   intended   to   be   standards,   then   it   is   a   good   idea   to identify   them   by   some   means.   Its   annoying   when   potting   up   cuttings   and,   without   thinking,   you   nip   out   the   growing tip. End of standard, very annoying.