Fuchsia Display

Fuchsias - easy to love!

Hot weather care

High tempatures encourage some insect growth and some of them can be a nuisance. Differing pests cause different patterns of damage, i.e., Redspider Mite has a mottled effect and Leaf Hopper a zig zagging pattern. You learn how to recognise these trade marks by observation, research and experience.

Woodlice can occur in vast numbers in damp, shaded areas. Most do not like arid conditions so clear up dead and decaying organic matter, and humus. Keep your greenhouse clean and tidy. They do not normally attack fuchsias but are known to damage the roots of cucumbers, tomatoes and aerial roots of orchids. They will eat young seedlings but in the main they are the secondary cause of damage. They take advantage of holes pecked in fruit by birds by enjoying the decaying material. They do help in the breakdown of decaying material and toads and frogs love them.

Red ants, if found in lawns or rockeries, cause damage by disturbing the soil, causing the plant to wilt. Some types of ants collect seeds but the ones likely to be a problem to fuchsias are the species that farm aphids for their honeydew. They carry aphids to better plants so if you see ants on your plants it could indicate an ant problem.

The answer to a plant wilting may not be as straight forward as it seems. Lack of water at the roots is generally the first option to check. If the plant does not need watering, damp down the area around the plant to raise the humidity and provide shade: if the plant is in a pot, move it to a shadier position.

If the plant does not improve, perhaps the hair roots have been scorched by the excessive heat penetrating the sides of the pot - modern pots are much thinner than in the past. This problem can often be overcome by placing one pot inside of another. If you use the next size up you can fill the gap with compost to give greater insulation. Sphagnum moss is a very good material for this, and is also useful for packing round Bonsai plant containers within another container for the same purpose. Hanging baskets can be sat on a bucket of water, making sure that the base of the basket is clear of the water. The evaporation of water has a cooling effect around the basket.

Finally the wilting could be caused by osmosis - the movement of liquid through a membrane from a low density solution to a high density solution, i.e., the transfer of a solution of fertiliser that is in the soil into the roots of the plant. An overdose of fertiliser will cause the reverse flow of the solution, from the plant back into the soil, hence the plant wilting. If this is the case, then remove the pot and gently swill the root ball round in a bucket of water to remove as much compost as possible. Repot and stand the plant in the shade. To avoid over feeding only use a quarter strength feed every time you water, and when it is hot limit this feed to only one of the waterings per day. When you have to water every day miss feeding on one day out of the seven.

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