We’re not talking about your garden holding esteem, we’re referring to the fabulous eye catching group of plants known as standards. Often referred to as balls-on sticks they are truly SO much more. A standard “tree” can be a number of different varieties it all comes down to personal taste. Whether you are looking to add visual drama with colourful blossoms, year around interest with an evergreen or eye catching foliage, there’s a standard out there for you. You may be asking how does a normally shrubby plant end up on a long lean stem? It all comes down to pruning and with time (a lot) and patience you can even make your very own.
How might one do this? Well it’s actually a fall project but you could go about choosing a plant now and either potting it in a large container or planting directly into the ground. Keeping in mind the full grown size of the plant. You’re already going to be stressing the plant through aggressive pruning and shaping no need to rip it out mid-life. Plants for lollipop standards include fuchsia’s, hydrangeas (Annabel), Ivy’s, Rosemary, Box wood & Bay Laurel. These are best pruned into a nice neat head, like a lollipop. On the other hand, if you want a standard with a languorous weeping head, your better off to purchase these trees as most often these plants have been grafted onto standard stems. I don’t know about you but that’s pushing it for most gardeners skill (and patience).
Start with a strong plant with a healthy root system and plant, considering your required 360 degree access.
Remove side shoots by pruning the lowest side shoots from the main stem. Don’t remove all at once because they help pull sap up the plant. You can eventually prune them all once the desired shape has been achieved.
Tie the plant in several places to a stake as it will still be quite weak at the early stages. Shorten the growth left at the top of the plant by trimming to encourage it to bush out. Trim the head to shape each year.
If you love the look and not the effort we understand and have a fabulous selection of standards for you to choose from.