Unfortunately, fuchsias are prone to fuchsia rust, a fungal disease that is spread by airborne spores. It results in the discolouration of leaves and reduces the rigour of the plant.You will also notice a layer of orange dust on the under side of leaves, which may then shrivel. It is not uncommon to see it for the entirety of the year in indoor fuchsias, but will be more likely to appear in early Autumn if plants are grown outside. This article will explain the causes of fuchsia rust and what you can do to prevent it spreading around your garden.
Fuchsia rust is caused by fungus which is spread as the wind blows the fungal spores from leaf to leaf. It can also be spread by hands that have touched an infected plant and transmit the infection to other plants. Unfortunately, the spores survive over Winter on the infected and will then germinate again in the Spring to release new spores that will continue to infect plants. Fuchsia rust may also be worse after a particularly wet later summer as the splashing of raindrops may also spreading the disease from plant to plant.
While you can’t necessarily prevent fuchsia rust altogether, you can take steps to prevent it spreading onto each of your fuchsia plants. As with most garden problems, there are both chemical and nonchemical solutions:
Non Chemical Control
- Pick Species Carefully- You should try to avoid planting ornamental species of Epilobium and stay completely clear from weedy species as these are likely to be carriers of the fuchsia rust fungus.
- Remove Infected Leaves- This may take time to do, but can eliminate the problem of fuchsia rust quickly. Remove any leaves on the plant as soon as you notice any discolouration and feed the plant to provide it with extra nutrients to strengthen it. Ensure that you wash your hands after touching the infected leaves so that the disease doesn’t spread onto ‘clean’ plants.
- Mulch The Plants- Mulching seems to be a solution for many gardening problems. However, it is true that covering your fuchsias in organic food-based mulch (such as well-rotted manure or home-made compost) will help them resist diseases as the better fed they are, they stronger and more resistant to diseases they will be.
You should be aware that certain species of fuchsias can be sensitive to fungicides and they can damage foliages and severely weaken the plants.
- Pick Your Fungicide Carefully- Fungicides containing myclobutanil (e.g. Bayer Garden Systhane Fungus Fighter), triticonazole (e.g. Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra) or tebuconazole (Bayer Garden Multirose Concentrate 2) are suitable to use for controlling fuchsia rust, but there is still a risk that they could damage the flower. To prevent damaging the plants beyond saviour, it is recommended that you spray just two or three infected leaves with the fungicide, waiting two weeks before spraying further. If there have been no adverse effects on the plant then you know it is safe to continue using the fungicide on other infected plants.
Tips for Prevention
While it can be challenging to completely avoid fuchsia rust, there are several measures you can take to minimise its occurrence and spread. Here are some tips:
Remember that prevention and early intervention are crucial in managing fuchsia rust. By implementing these practices, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of rust infection and keep your fuchsia plants healthy.
Do you have any more tips on how to prevent fuchsia rust? Share your ideas!