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Fuchsia pests and diseases

Caring for your Fuchsias

If you take care in selecting the right place for Fuchsias in the garden the plants are easy to cultivate. Nevertheless some pests may occur during the garden season which manifest in different ways. Among the Fuchsia pests are to name aphids, whiteflies, thrips, wine veevils especially their larvae, red spider mites and diseases caused by fungis. The latter mostly occur as a consequence under adverse weather conditions or as a result of a previous infestation of animal interference (like gray muld or the viroid based Impatiens Negrotic Spot Virus).

Sometimes a simple change of the location in garden or a water shower can help to eliminate pests. The pest control agents listed on diverse Fuchsia info pages you should use only in exceptional cases. Those chemicals have not like otherwise stated fanatasy names  - in most cases this are abbreviations of the chemical-scientific name.

And please don't forget - you are the manager of your garden ecosphere - most of the used chemicals are poisonous for pets, bees and other animals living in your gardenspace. Comercially available pest control preparations are watched and tested by environmental agencies for their usefulness - this also manifests  in the fact that sometimes chemicals disappear and others are introduced. Extremely poisonous or hard to degrade substances have been removed by european chemical regulations released by EU. 

Another thing to mention is that it makes more sense to mix into you spraying solution to remove whiteflies besides the systemic insecticide also a growth regulator for their larvae. Otherwise you have killed after an application only the adult flies - but in about two weeks you have the same situation as before. Don't forget to add to your mixture also a soft neutral detergent for better wetting of the waxy leaves surfaces. Systemic means in this context that the chemical is uptaken by the plant and spread within the tissues of the plant.

If you have an infestation in your conservatory or greenhouse also a small envelope with a special wasp or a yellow sticker might help to control them.

Besides systemic insectizides also some more natural means might help to overcome the problem - especially when aphids harm your plants. The traditional nettle extract is again on everyone's lips. But such homemade brews do not smell very good and produce worse with your housemates and neighbors.

Our tip: Harvest the leaves (about 25g per liter), and then let them dry in the sun. If you then start the extraction, you will get no bad smell.

In the last few years also extracts from the Neem tree for plant health have become very popular. The active ingredient is a chemical substance called Azadirachtin besides some unsaturated fatty acids, that act as a natural appetite suppressant - the animals starve. Only active feeding animals are effected by this meaning. We advise you here to test the diluted extract in advance on a  few plants, because there are sometimes leaf burns visible after a treatment (max 3ml/l). Before you spray your plants be sure that the oil/water-emulsion is a homogenous one. Adding a few drops of a mild kitchen detergent is helpful in the preparation.

Red spiders - or better said Red Spider Mites are the scourge of every gardener. They occur mostly after hot-dry weather or in not suitable locations on soft leaf plant species - Fuchsias are unfornately prone for this. If the infestation is discovered, usually the whole plant is attacked and covered with this microscopic insects that suck on the leaves. The symptoms are easy to recognize - white dotted leaves (bite holes on the surfaces of the leaves), which later turn yellow and finallize in dropping the leave material as well as fine fibers in the leaf bases.  

Detail on the edge: Red spider mites have throughout the year not always the signal red color.

The elimination form the plants is sometime very difficult. We advise you to change the location of the plant and to spray them with water. Spider mites do not like too much moisture. The appication of a simple insecticide it nowadays in most cases not sufficient to eliminate the plague - the insects are in most cases resistant to this chemicals. Therefore, there are some special preparations (acaricides) available at garden retailers - unfortunately, the good ones are only available for commercial growers and are sometimes very expensive.
Kiron and Ordoval are those substances which are available for german growers and which turned out to be very effective. 

Preventive fuchsias should therefore not be hosted during the lunch hours in the full sun!

Fuchsia rust and other fungal diseases  - they occur mostly in autumn, after unsuitable weather conditions and by a previous infestation of parasites. 

Fuchsien rust is a disease that has influence on the vitality and on the vigor to set new flowers. You will recognize it by reddish to blackish colored infection zones on the leaves. In advanced stages  it  can also be found on the underside of the leaves which bear orange colored spores. Its natural host are plants of the genus Epilobium (which is also classified as an Onagraceae) - hence its scientific name Puccinastrum epilobii - but the fungi uses also other intermediate hosts (such as fir trees, ...) to reproduce. The ripe spores are spread by the wind.

A phytophtora infestation often ends in total loss of the plants.

A special class of fungicides, the socalled  strobilurines (azoxystrobine) make it easy to overcome the fungi problem. Also the grey mould (botrytis), which normally occurs in winter months if the plants are kept to wet under cool conditions, is stopped. Grey mould is widely spread in nature and normally only attacks already death plant material. Even you do not see any signs of infestation on the plants surfaces - the disease is spreading in inner parts of the plant. A treatment with a Chinosol solution is is inappropriate because of possible side effects to leaves and the lack of systemic effects in the plant. 

Obviously there are other systemic acting fungicides avialable on the garden markets. To change the treatment during elimation make sense not to produce resistences. Even the good old sulfur still does his effect!

Do not forget to spray plants, which are hibernated in a conservatory or heated greenhouse, preventively with a fungal control agent. Thus treatment increases your chances to hibernate the plants successfully. Avoid also to prune your plants back in autumn, because the cut surfaces are from the microbiological point of view infection areas. I am aware that in relation to cutting measures opinions of fuchsias friends go far apart.

More on these topics, you can find also in the eBook Fuchsias.

A fuchsia pest, which is evident and spreads in northern parts of France and in southern England has not arrived in Central Europe yet. The fuchsia gallmite - learn more about this pest in Special Info.

Here some special notes in your own interest: Even if today amateur growers still have access to chemicals which are mainly from the lower risk category (xi = Irritant or Xn = harmful), you should pay attention to possible risks these chemicals bear and the guidlines given in the folders. These guidelines are just to help you to overcome some plant pests. You are fully selfresponsible for what you are doing!

  • Run phytosanitary measures, if possible  outdoors. Consideration should be given ambient temperatures above 10 ° C. Do not treat plants arround lunch time or on hot days (to avoid burn marks). The early morning hours or evening hours are best suited for this.
  • Avoid skin contact with the spray means! Wear appropriate clothings and use gloves! Possibly even goggles! The diluted aqueous solutions are usually harmless for humans - but it can cause redness and in susceptible individuals also allergic reactions.
  • Apply to your aqueous chemical brew-solutions a wetting agent and do not exceed the stated dose! More substance does not automatically more protection!
  • Fungicides that contain copper as active agent should not be used in the vicinity of ponds and other open water systems! (See  therefre information folder which come with the chemical!)
  • No eating, drinking and smoking during these activities!


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