Getting ready for summer: standard fuchsias

Fuchsias are easy, obliging plants and even though not all are frost hardy I would hate to be without them. One of my favourites is ‘Checkerboard’ an old fuchsia that was bred in the USA and introduced in 1948. It is distinct in that it has narrow, tubular flowers with a red tube, white sepals and red petals, giving a very crisp neat effect. It has a very upright habit that makes it suitable for training in lots of ways but especially as a standard. To grow a standard takes at least a year, the first season to make a tall stem and then a second to build up a head. In that first year you have to try to get the stem as tall as possible, growing without a break, so all sideshoots are removed and all flowers. Leave the leaves on the stem to help it to thicken but even so it will need staking all its life. At this stage it should have a general plant food and not a high-potash food because you want growth, not flowers. It is also worth looking for shoots with three leaves rather than pairs because these will grow more strongly AND when you get to pinching out the tip and making the head, those three buds will give a better head.

I have three young ‘Checkboard’ plants for this purpose and will ‘stop’ them at different heights so I can have three at different sizes. The first is ready for a pinch now it has about 80cm of stem. I will let the others reach 110cm and 140cm or so. Once the tip is removed the sideshoots should be pinched out after two or three sets of leaves and repinched again and again. I will aim to get them to the required height by the end of autumn and then begin pinching out in spring. I will get a reasonable display next year but then I can keep them for many years after that.

You can grow any kind as a standard, including trailing kinds though it is trickier to get the tall stem. But once you have their weeping habit is very attractive. Be careful with some of the moder kinds sold as bedding because they are very bushy and not easy to get to grow decent stems.




, ,

4 Comments on “Getting ready for summer: standard fuchsias”

  1. Meriel
    September 29, 2019 at 11:35 am #

    Sounds lovely – or they will be!

  2. tonytomeo
    September 30, 2019 at 5:57 am #

    They get pinched with just two or three pairs of leaves! That would make them very fluffy and dense, unless the internodes are quite long. I never payed much attention to how many nodes there were on pinched stems.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 30, 2019 at 7:07 pm #

      the aim is to make a dense head, and this variety does have long internodes.


  1. Another daft thing to do! | The Biking Gardener - May 2, 2020

    […] Growing standard fuchsias […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sweetgum and Pines

gardening in the North Carolina piedmont

Ravenscourt Gardens

Learning life's lessons in the garden!

RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Paddy Tobin, An Irish Gardener

Our garden, gardens visited, occasional thoughts and book reviews


un altro blog sul giardinaggio...


four decades of organic vegetable gardening and barely a clue

The Long Garden Path

A walk round the Estate!


Gardening on the edge of a cliff

Uprooted Magnolia

I'm Leah, a freelance Photographer born and raised in Macon, GA, USA. I spent 8 years in the wild west and this is my photo journal on life, love, and the spirit of Wyoming. Welcome to Uprooted Magnolia.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

One Bean Row

Words and pictures from an Irish garden by Jane Powers

Plant Heritage

We are working to save garden plants for people to use and enjoy today and tomorrow


An English persons experience of living and gardening in Ireland

%d bloggers like this: