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Fungal fuchsias

ABOUT 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?


FUCHSIA 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 varieties.

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 or Bravo.
  • 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 label recommendations).

Weekend 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.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: June 30, 2005