Another way to grow a beautiful 'full' columnar shape
Growing a stamfuchsia to a good pillar shape has failed me several times. I have always done this according to the method described in the fuchsia book (for example in 'Fuchsia's Hebben en Houden') Whichever cultivar I used, I always encountered the same problem: after the plant was tipped only the upper part of the plant grew well.
I have recently succeeded in cultivating a standard fuchsia with a perfect pillar shape according to the method described below.
This method is based on the formation of a pillar that is built up from multiple cuttings placed close together.
The cuttings are placed about 3 cm apart around a stick that should be just as long as the final height of the column to be formed. The best here is a not too thin (green) plastic stick.
One of the cuttings is topped at 10 cm height, the next cuttings are topped 20 cm higher again. The topping of the following cuttings is always a step of 20 cm higher. The number of cuttings placed around the stock thus determines the height of the column to be cultivated. The topping of, for example, the sixth cuttings is at a height of about 110 cm and the column can then grow well together over the full height of about 150 cm.
Construction of a pillar shape from a few close together cuttings
Cultivate in continuous form
However, it must be taken into account that growing in a beautiful form takes several years. The first year, the plant will not bloom, because it is topped very regularly and the bloom is thus not forthcoming.
When growing the tops, try to grow a 20 cm diameter ball on each cuttings, but always top them after one or two pairs of leaves, because otherwise the crowns will become too open.
If one wants to grow a plant with short stalk members faster, so with longer stalk members, put the plant in the shade.
In the winter, the plant must stand in the light and be kept to the growth. If it is moist in the greenhouse in the winter, do not top it, because then the chance of botrytis developing on the wounds is very high. Wait with buds until there is no frost for a day, the sun will shine and the greenhouse can be aired.
To get a beautiful plant, a lot of topping has to be done in the second year. That topping should be done in such a way that the crowns touch each other. And to get the whole nicely closed one tops the two pairs of leaves. Only when the crowns of each cuttings fit well together can one stop with buds, so that the plant can blossom.
Traditional. way for growing a columnar shape
With a little luck, after 18 months there is a beautifully shaped flowering column. But in the third year the column is well formed and then blooms with an abundance of flowers.
Every spring must be topped until at least the end of March and do so after each pair of leaves. We remove the offshoots of the second and subsequent crowns to be formed, but leave the adjacent leaves to the trunk. Those neighboring leaves are the juice tractors, which ensure that the stem becomes thick and firm. This is because there is almost no growth in a small stem. If, however, the foothills are left to help them to shape the pillar, pay attention during the autumn to what they are pruning. As a result, such weaker offspring grows in the spring on such a non-pruned outgrowth!
Put the column in the garden in a place where there is a lot of light. Note whether the chosen variety can stand in the sun against a location. The column must be rotated 1/3 part at least once every three days, because otherwise the column will grow crooked. Make sure that in the winter the plant in the greenhouse or another frost-free area on the underside also receives sufficient light and that the plant is therefore regularly rotated. Especially in the first two years, the plant has to overwinter in the light.
Fertilising, watering (in the growing phase with fertilizer rich in nitrogen), and of course also combating diseases and pests is equivalent to the cultivation of other fuchsia plant forms.
Choosing suitable varieties
For fuchsias in column form, varieties are chosen that easily overwinter, which grow well and of which a shrub or half-pendant can easily be made. Because with these optional aspects there is less chance of gaps in the column due to a missing trunk. If that variety also easily branched and grows with short stalk members, that is certainly an advantage.
With a pillar composed of a triphylla hybrid, the problem arises at a certain point that the top of the cutting, which actually has to continue to grow, will start to flower. This is solved by removing the flowering top from it, after which the plant will start branching there. Then let only one foothold grow and bind it in such a way that it grows up.
However, it is advisable to give nitrogen fertilizer, after all, we want such a plant to grow well before it blooms. A pillar formed of a triphylla hybrid must stand in the sun, because otherwise the stalk members will become too long and the pillar will become brittle.
The result in july 2003
That this propagation method yields really full column forms is in my garden in the garden after one year of growing well to see these three columnar cultivated varieties. The expectation is that after the next growing season, due to further dense growth, the column will have a perfectly closed shape over the full height.
The first image in this article, photographed in October 2002, is from the same column as above left, but then photographed in July 2003.
Author: Hans van Aspert