PESTS AND DISEASES
Crowding of plants can aid the spread of pests and diseases. Improved management will discourage some pests and diseases but you may still find it necessary to control severe infestations with some sort of spray. However, don't spray on a very hot day. Don't spray if it is very cold (under 6C) or if the plant is wilted.
Aphids: Small insects which "suck" the sap, especially in the flower stems (pedicels) and fresh young shoots. Running your fingers along the stem to squash and remove the aphids can control early infestations. If initial attacks by aphids aren't controlled, it may be necessary to spray with either Pyrethrums, Mavrik, or Confidor. Ladybirds eat aphids so if they are present, it might pay to hold off on poisonous sprays.
Broad Mite: Feed on lower surface of young leaves. Leaves may bronze and the edges curl inwards. Can cause deformed and discoloured flowers. Spray either with wettable sulphur, Kelthane or Mavrik.
Caterpillars: Control by hand removal. If caterpillars have been allowed to get out of hand, spray either with Dipel or Success (Yates product) or dust with Carbaryl.
Cyclamen Mite: Attacks new growth, causing distortion of leaves; the results look a little like "curly" leaf of peaches. These mites thrive in humid conditions. Spray with Red Spider Mite Spray, Mavrik or Folimat.
Mealy Bug: These sucking insects, protected by a waxy outer coating, are not affected by contact sprays. Tending to hide in leaf axils and even in the potting mix, try dabbing them with methylated spirits, or spray with White Oil, or Confidor.
Red Spider Mite (Two Spotted Mite): A tiny sap sucker, invisible to the naked eye. It spins a fine web on the underside of the fuchsias' leaves. Affected leaves may wilt, turn brown or yellow and then drop. A plant can lose most of its leaves in a matter of days. This mite thrives in hot, dry conditions. Spray with Mavrik, or Kelthane. Keeping the foliage misted in hot weather, plus soaking the soil, also helps to keep the red spider mite at bay.
Thrips:Tiny dark insects which leave behind spots of tar-like droppings. They are sap suckers which attack leaves, buds, flowers and shoots, causing silver and grey markings on leaves and browning of petals. Spray with Confidor. Removal by hand of all infected buds and leaves may be helpful.
Weevils and Earwigs: Mainly a pest on in-ground fuchsias or plants in pots sitting on the ground. Chewing into the stem just below the tip, they cause it to collapse and die. Earwigs and the grey/brown weevils are generally hard to find as, during the day, they hide in the soil, potting mix or mulch. Hand removal after dark may be fairly effective. Hold a paper plate beneath the stems that are being inspected, as the weevils and earwigs tend to drop off the plants when they are disturbed. If necessary, spray with Carbaryl. Spray in the later afternoon. Spray possible hideouts rather than the plant.
White Fly: A sap sucker, but not considered to be great problem with healthy fuchsias. Populations can be reduced by placing a yellow board covered with oil or Vaseline among your plants; occasionally clean and recoat. Naphthalene flakes scattered on the ground around pots can also help. Spraying against whitefly with pyrethrum sprays reduces predator insects.
Clensil: A good low toxicity, soap spray. Use "in between" more toxic sprays. Ensure you cover both sides of the leaves.
Garlic Spray: A useful, less toxic alternative to chemical contact sprays. To make: mix together 85g (2oz) of garlic and 2 teaspoons liquid parafin – soak for 48 hours. Add 600 ml water and 15g of good "pure soap". Filter and store in a plastic container. Dilute 1 part of mixture with 99 parts of water and apply.
ALWAYS USE CHEMICALS ACCORDING TO DIRECTIONS ON CONTAINERS.
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