Autumn Cutting back
a Standard Fuchsia

When a fuchsia still has a few buds and green leaves left on it , it is tempting to delay cutting back, or leave it alone, but failure to do this means that over a period of time, the standard will deteriorate. The head will grow larger and larger, but the flowers will become more and more sparce.    Remember that the majority of Fuchsias flower from new growth, not from old wood.  With good care and an annual cut back, standard fuchsias can survive for many years.
When pruning a standard fuchsia use a sharp pair of secateurs.
  Where possible, cut above a fork in the branches, so that as many branches as possible develop.
Work your way round the plant, to create a well balanced shape, removing all thin and spindly branches, aiming for good strong framework. Err on the cautious side, you can take more off, but cannot put it back. Ideally, the head should be no more than a third to half of its original size when you have finished. 

The head of the standard, when cutting back is done, should be roughly the shape as per the diagram, to 1.
Once you have finished cutting, remove all the leaves left on the wood. There may be a little leakage of sap, but this will soon stop and does not harm the plant. Spray with insecticide and fungicide when all cutting is done.

If you prune in warm conditions, there is little delay between cutting back and the appearance of new growth. Within 10 to 14 days, small specks of new growth will start to appear. In temperatures above 50 F( 10 C ), fuchsias continue to grow and you will soon get a fine new head to the standard fuchsia, and will carry on growing all winter.
In Winter, if you decide to let your fuchsia to lie dormant, keep the standard at a minimum temperature of 40F, any less, may damage the stem. You can store the standard on its side, if pushed for space. There is a view that the sap travels easier, when lay down.
In Spring, when the temperatures rise, spraying the wood with warm water softens the branches, so that the buds can form, the new shoots start growing. Treat the standard as a bush or shrub fuchsia for shaping the head purposes. When the new branches start growing, pinch the growing tips out to 2, then as these in turn grow pinch out again to 3. to keep a compact head that will sustain and carry plenty flowers.
If you are growing a variety that is long jointed, it is preferable that pinching out is at each leaf joint, to keep the head compact, for long jointed types, if left, can grow too long and when in flower, the sheer weight of blooms can snap the branch off. Short jointed types can be left to every third leaf joint.
The standard will benefit from having some of its soil ball removed and adding new compost.

G.Foster 13 June 9

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