Fuchsias have relatively few insect problems. Frequent misting, especially of the underside of foliage, is the best prevention, or solution, for minor infestations. The four common pests are whiteflies, aphids, leaf curlers and spider mites.
WHITEFLIES – Are small white-winged insects about 1.5mm or 1/16 inch long that cluster on the underside of foliage, usually seen when the plant is disturbed. They are sucking insects that insert their mouth parts into the plant tissue and suck the juices.
APHIDS -Are soft-bodied insects that cluster in colonies on the underside of foliage and at the growth tips; they cause a stunting and deformity of new growth. Aphids are especially troublesome in the early part of the year.
LEAF CURLERS – Small (1/16 inch or 1.5mm in diameter, about
¼ inch or 6mm long) green caterpillars. They cause damage in two forms: chewing holes in the foliage and then forming a cocoon by rolling a leaf into a tube around themselves.
SPIDER MITES – These pests are extremely small; adult mites are just visible to the unaided eye. They are best identified by the very fine webs they spin on the underside of foliage. The first damage is a fine yellow stippling of the leaves, then general yellowing and eventual defoliation.
RUST – This fungus initially attacks the underside of foliage. Clusters of orange, powdery spore pustules identify it. If un checked, defoliation occurs and neighbouring plants are affected. Carefully remove all affected leaves and either burn or place in the rubbish bin. Do not place in your compost. Wash your hands thoroughly, and spray plant and the soil beneath with a recommended fungicide.
BOTRYTIS (grey mould) Plants in pots can suffer with this problem if kept too close together, too damp and not enough air run through the branches and leaves. Cut away affected parts, and allow the plant to dry out before watering.
SANITATION – Maintaining a clean garden is a large part of the control, weeds and piles of garden refuse left over the winter become breeding grounds for many insects. Keep your baskets and the ground around your plants free of dropped leaves and flowers. Remove any damaged or diseased foliage or limbs before any problems can spread. If possible, do not plant tomatoes or beans near your fuchsias – these plants attract whitefly; and will increase your problems.
CULTURAL & PHYSICAL CONTROLS – One of the best ways to prevent problems is to maintain strong healthy plants. Watering and humidity are very important in the control of pests. Spider mites thrive in hot, dry, dusty atmospheres. Spraying your plants with water will do much to discourage them. Conversely, rust thrives in a damp atmosphere, so do not mist affected plants and, if possible, move them to a dry area until the problem is corrected. Some varieties of fuchsias are resistant to pests and disease; others are especially susceptible. Watch your plants; if one or two plants have more problems than the others it would be wise to discard these “problem plants”. Many times your insect problems can be cured by physically removing the pest. Leaf curlers can be removed by hand, and aphids can be washed off with a hose or spray bottle. Whitefly must be sprayed as soon as it is noticed to save bad infestations.
CHEMICAL CONTROLS – Sometimes insecticides and/or fungicides are the only means of control. Spray only when there is a major problem. INSECTICIDES ARE EFFECTIVE AGAINST ADULT INSECTS BUT NOT THE EGGS, SO A SECOND AND SOMETIMES A THIRD SPRAYING SHOULD FOLLOW AT 2 OR
3-DAY INTERVALS. Check with your local garden centre or fuchsia society for the latest control releases. Recommended sprays and ideas are constantly changing.
SUGGESTIONS FOR USE OF ANY SPRAY MATERIAL
- Read and follow the instructions on the container. Do not exceed the recommended rates of application. Use the greatest possible care with all chemical
- Wet thoroughly all parts of the It is most important to apply the spray to the undersides of the foliage.
- Spray in the morning or evening when there is a minimum of wind, and temperatures are not above 27 degree
- Direct your spray downwind so it will not drift back on you.
- Use a protective mask and goggles, and wear protective clothing if necessary.
- Wash unprotected parts of your body thoroughly with soap and cold water after