December, my fuchsias always get attacked by black spot. The leaves
drop off and all that's left is a bare stem with a few leaves and
the odd flower at the top. What should I do?
rust is the problem - turn over the affected leaves and you'll see
orange-brown, powdery spots on the lower surface. This disease is
more prevalent in warm, humid weather, so is worse in summer. Some
varieties are more susceptible than others - they don't all succumb
- so you could dig out the stricken plants and replant with resistant
Check the labels at the
garden centre and only buy fuchsias that claim to be rust-resistant.
But remember resistance doesn't mean they are immune to the disease,
only that they will be less rust-prone.
Here are some other
tips to help reduce the problem:
- Grow your fuchsias
where they get plenty of fresh air - prune other shrubs back if
necessary to allow better air movement.
- If watering, avoid
getting the leaves wet.
- When fertilising
use a product with relatively high levels of potassium, such as
rose or tomato fertiliser.
- Before the disease
appears spray with a protective fungicide such as Super Sulphur
- If the disease is
already present spray with a fungicide such as Fungus & Mildew
Spray or Fungus Fighter.
- Use a combination
insecticide/fungicide such as Gild or Super Shield (following
Gardener, Issue 140, 2004, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.