Problems With Fuchsia Plants
Fuchsias (Fuchsia spp.) are shade-loving deciduous shrubs grown for their brightly colored, pendulous tubular flowers. Fuchsias are relatively trouble-free plants, though they can suffer from a few diseases and are sometimes targeted by insect pests.
Types of Fuchsia Plants
There are approximately 100 fuchsia species of plants in the genus Fuchsia and many more cultivars. They include the hardy fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica, USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 10), which is native to Chile and is a perennial.
There are also many hybrid fuchsias (Fuchsia x hybrida, zones 10 to 12) on the market that are known as ladies’ eardrops. These fuchsia varieties are sensitive to freezing temperatures and are therefore typically grown as annual plants in cold climates, overwintered indoors until the danger of frost has passed or grown as houseplants in indirect light.
These hybrids come in a variety of growth habits, including upright plants and drooping plants that are well suited for hanging baskets. Fuchsia flower colors include orange, yellow, white and red.
While many flowering plants need full sun, fuchsia plants don’t like too much sun exposure and prefer deep or partial shade.
Diseases of Fuchsias
Fuchsias are often disease-free plants, though that doesn't mean that they are immune to diseases. Here are some conditions sometimes observed on fuchsias.
If you notice brown lesions on the underside of fuchsia leaves, they may be caused by a fungal disease known as rust. As it advances, this disease can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off the plant. This disease thrives in moist conditions, so it is best not to get fuchsia leaves wet when watering.
Applying fungicides as part of fuchsia care can help control and prevent this disease. Consider adding rust-resistant cultivars to your garden.
Fuchsia plants are also prone to root rot caused by fungi in the genus Rhizoctonia. This causes stems to collapse and eventually leads to plant death.
Planting fuchsias in potting soil that has been treated against this pathogen can help prevent this problem. Well-draining soil is also crucial to preventing root rot.
Fuchsia plants can suffer from stem cankers caused by a fungus known as Botrytis cinera that causes wilted, woody stems. Providing good air circulation and keeping the foliage dry can help to prevent this disease.
Fungal diseases, like Botrytis blight and rust, can be prevented by providing fuchsia plants with good air circulation and keeping the leaves dry when irrigating.
Fuchsia Leaf Problems
Fuchsia plants can be susceptible to several kinds of pests that feed on sap from leaves and affect the shrubs' appearance. Let's take a look at some of these common fuchsia pests.
Fuchsia wilting can be caused by small, winged insects called whiteflies that suck sap from fuchsia plants. This can also result in yellowing and leaf drop. Whiteflies are often found on the underside of leaves but may fly away if disturbed.
These small, soft-bodied insects feed on the leaf sap of many different types of plants, including fuchsia shrubs. They are drawn to new growth and new leaves. Like whiteflies, they take up residence on the underside of leaves, where they form large clusters. Their feeding can discolor leaves and also cause leaf curl.
You should avoid using insecticidal soaps on fuchsias, as they are sensitive.
These tiny arachnids are hard to see with the naked eye and create webs on many different types of plants, including fuchsias. Their feeding can cause discoloration of leaves.
Some of these insect pests can be dislodged from the leaves with a stream of water. You should avoid using insecticidal soaps on fuchsias, as they are sensitive.
- North Carolina State Extension: Fuchsia x hybrida
- North Carolina State Extension: Fuchsia magellanica
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Fuchsia (group)
- PennState Extension: Fuchsia Diseases
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Fuchsia
- UC IPM: Agriculture: Floriculture and Ornamental Nurseries Pest Management Guidelines - Fuchsia
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Insecticidal Soaps for Garden Pest Control
- University of Massachusetts Amherst: UMass Extension Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture Program: Fuchsia - Botrytis Stem Canker
- UConn Home and Garden Education Center: Insecticidal Soaps
Since beginning her career as a professional journalist in 2007, Nathalie Alonso has covered a myriad of topics, including arts, culture and travel, for newspapers and magazines in New York City. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University and lives in Queens with her two cats.