GROWING STANDARDS and PILLARS / COLUMNS
 

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Pages updated May2016.
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Once established, standards are easy to maintain. The standard of Pixie below is old and  gnarled. It was moved after growing in my Mother's garden for 12 years. It was cut back severely when moved and it looked dead for 4 months. I was just deciding whether to discard it when one morning my neighbour came and excitedly exclaimed that it had several shoots.


Two months later it was superb - that was December 2004


It flowered all the rest of spring then summer autumn and winter (survived 3 frosts) and by September there were only a few flowers and it was looking very woody and untidy but still OK as you can see by this photo


Ten minutes later after a quick pruning job this is what it looked like. It is essential to prune this heavily in our climate.

By the end of November it was as lush as ever, and had survived several days of 40 degree heat with little damage. In between the only thing necessary was an occasional trim due to weather conditions, or the fact that the "head" was just too heavy. Even dead-heading seemed unnecessary. Nothing seems to stop Pixie flowering. This medium single flowering fuchsia is one of my favourites - a must for any garden.. You too can have standards if you follow a few easy steps.

There is a lot of work in the first 18 months, this is my method: 

Standards

Pillars/Columns

Two 6ft high pillars in the sun, except for late afternoon.
Flash and Red  Ace

A 7' high standard of Ambassador.

2 Standards still at the whip stage, behind them one section of a Gartenmeister Bonstedt hedge that is all along the verandah. 
In the middle Chang.

3 partly trained standards. Unfortunately I couldn't resist letting them flower. I always put in the stake I am going to finish with at the beginning, so I don't have the hassle of replacing stakes. When I have tried the replacement method in the past I have snapped off all or part of the plant. A friend says that the fuchsias get an inferiority complex when as a 3" plant they are given a 6' stake but as you see they still try to get to the top.

What you shouldn't do: Checkerboard standard put on a spurt of growth due to hot wet weather. I couldn't bear to cut off the dozens of buds,  I now have trimmed it back so it will be more compact in a few weeks.

Small standard of Papoose with tiny flowers. I really like these small 
singles as they flower most profusely.