How to Get Rid of Fuchsia Plant Pests

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Fuchsias (Fuchsia spp.), also known as lady's eardrops, are typically grown as annual flowering plants but are winter-hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11. Although prized for their showy blossoms, fuchsias occasionally are attacked by pests. Unless they're controlled, the pests can lead to plant stress, leaf loss and flower loss. Restore your fuchsia's health and vigor by eradicating its pests.

Aphids

Even though they are tiny, aphids can create big problems as they suck the sap of fuchsia foliage and stems. Aphids appear on a plant as yellow, red, green or brown specks and produce a sticky honeydew as they feed on the plant.

Spray an aphid-affected fuchsia with a strong jet of water from a garden hose. The will water knock the aphids off the plant and rinse away their honeydew. Most of the aphids that fall off the fuchsia won't be able to get back on the plant, making water sprays a simple, organic and inexpensive way to eliminate these pests.

Tip

  • Spray a fuchsia with water in early morning. That timing gives the fuchsia all day to dry. Chronically wet leaves can increase the risks of various plant diseases.

Whiteflies

True to their name, whiteflies are white flies. They are tiny, have a dusty appearance and tend to congregate on the underside of a plant's leaves.

In the nymphal or pupal stage, whiteflies look like oval, non-moving dots on a plant. You can get rid of them by simply pinching off affected foliage with your fingers and discarding the leaves in a sealed bag. Regular elimination of nymphal- or pupal-infected leaves keeps the adult whitefly population at a level too low to cause lasting damage to the fuchsia.

To control adult whiteflies, hang sticky traps on the fuchsia plant. Commercially made sticky traps are available at garden stores and plant nurseries, and you can make your own at home by using whiteflies' attraction to the color yellow. Hang yellow cards on the fuchsia, and coat each card with petroleum jelly or a similar sticky substance. Replace homemade or commercial sticky traps when they're covered with whiteflies.

Tip

  • For immediate control of adult whiteflies, use a handheld vacuum cleaner to suction them away. Head out in early morning, when whiteflies move slowly, and focus the vacuum cleaner on the underside of the fuchsia's leaves. Once you've suctioned all of the whiteflies from the fuchsia, remove the vacuum bag, toss it in a plastic bag, seal the plastic bag and place it in a freezer overnight to kill the removed whiteflies.

Mealybugs

An adult female mealybug typically measures as long as 1/5 inch and has a silver-gray, waxlike appearance. The pest feeds on fuchsia foliage and stems, causing widespread leaf loss. Parasitic wasps are beneficial insects that feed on various pests, including mealybugs. The wasps usually provide enough control to keep mealybugs from reaching problematic numbers.

Attract beneficial wasps to your garden by growing certain plants:

  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), which grows as a perennial plant in USDA zones 4 through 9. Fennel can become invasive in some parts of the United States; prevent that problem by digging up unwanted fennel plants that appear and by pinching off fennel's old flowers before they produce seeds.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), perennial in USDA zones 8 through 10.
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), an annual flowering plant.
  • White clover (Trifolium repens), perennial in USDA zones 3 through 10.

Thrips

If your fuchsia becomes infested with thrips, you'll notice little black dots on the plant. As the pests feed on the foliage, discoloration and curling will occur in the leaves. Keep thrips at bay with a homemade insecticidal soap.

Things You'll Need

  • Teaspoon
  • Liquid dish soap
  • 1 pint or larger spray bottle
  • Measuring cup

Step 1

Add 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap to a spray bottle.

Step 2

Pour 1 pint of water into the spray bottle. Two cups equal 1 pint.

Step 3

Shake the spray bottle, mixing the dish soap and water thoroughly.

Step 4

Spray the soapy solution directly on thrips, coating all thrips-affected foliage on the fuchsia plant.

Step 5

Repeat the spray treatment 10 days later if thrips activity resumes.

Tip

  • Liquid soap-water sprays control thrips and a wide range of soft-bodied insects, including:

    • Aphids 
    • Scales
    • Whiteflies
    • Psyllids
    • Mealybugs
    • Spider mites

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