Standard is a horticultural term for any non-tree that is trained to grow as a tree. As you can imagine, some plants take better to this training than others, such as hibiscus, roses and, yes, fuchsia. To be successful, begin training the fuchsia while it is small and have patience as it won’t truly be considered a standard for at least 18 months. Begin the process in the spring and you should be able to move your standard outdoors within 15 to 18 months.
Choose a fuchsia that is young and under 10 inches in height.
Remove all stems growing from the soil with the exception of the strongest, thickest one.
Place a slender stake into the pot next to the fuchsia without disturbing the roots. The stake should be the same height as the height you have chosen for your fuchsia standard. You will begin to train the fuchsia to the stake when it reaches 6 inches in height.
Tie the fuchsia to the stake whenever it puts on 3 inches of growth. Use soft material and tie it loosely. Large gardening centers sell plant ties, or use thin strips of fabric or string. Don’t tie it so tight that the tie cuts into the stem.
Keep the fuchsia growing straight, instead of winding around the stake, and keep tying it every 3 inches.
Pinch off any shoots that grow from between the leaves and the stem. Pinch off flower buds as well. Do not allow the plant to flower until it is fully trained.
Tie the fuchsia to the top of the stake when it reaches it. Allow it to grow three pairs of leaves and then pinch 1 inch from the tip of the plant. Continue to pinch off side shoots that develop below the top of the stake but allow those above the stake to remain. Pinch off all flower buds.
Pinch the tips of all side shoots above the stake when they have developed two sets of leaves. This will encourage the fuchsia to grow a bushier canopy.
Remove all leaves below the canopy when the canopy is half the size you want it to be. Allow it to flower at this time.
Place the fuchsia standard outdoors in a wind-free area in the second summer after training.
If the fuchsia outgrows the pot it is in during the training process, transplant it into the next size larger pot, using potting soil. Carefully remove the fuchsia, still tied to the stake, and plant it in the new pot