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
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.
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’
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