The Q&A Archives: Fuchsia Standard

Question: What is the best variety of fuchsia to use when attempting to grow it as a standard (in case that isn't what it is accually called, I mean a plant with a long leafless stem that has the bushy growth all at the top).

Answer: What you're referring to is a fuchsia tree. Any fuchsia may be trained into a tree shape. The only requirement is that you provide winter protection (fuchsia's are quite tender!) The training process takes 5-6 years, and annual maintenance is required to keep the tree-shape. Here' how you do it:
Start with a small fuchsia plant (I purchase mine in 2" or 4" pots). Carefully pinch out all leaves and branching stems along the main stem but leave the very top cluster of leaves alone. The stem will elongate and will need support until it becomes woody. I use a small bamboo plant stake, insert it right next to the stem, and tie the stem to the stake with pliable plastic.

It will take 3-4 years for the stem to grow to the proper height (my trees are 48" tall). During this time be sure to rub out any buds that develop along the main stem, and be sure to tie the stem to the support as it grows.

Tree fuchsia's will go dormant in the winter months. It's important to keep them in a cool area with lots of light during this resting period.

Good luck with your new project!

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