Fuchsias are being affected by a terrible pest.

Fuschia Flowers

Fuschia Flowers

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Do you love fuchsias? One of the most popular plants and, as the Fuchsia Society proclaims, ‘fuchsia people are lovely people’.

If you took my advice and cut back all the half-hardy fuchsias really hard and kept them frost-free, you will have been delighted to see they are now throwing out lovely new shoots.

Now is the time to repot them ready for the summer displays.

Knock the plants out of the pots and remove all the old compost by running your fingers through the roots. The old compost can be put into the compost bin.

Clean pots are important. Use a few pieces of broken flower pots in the base to ensure good drainage and replant them into either John Innes No.3 compost or a good quality loamless compost. If you buy the JI compost, add 10 per cent extra potting sand and mix this well, as the sand keeps the compost open and well-drained.

If you would like to grow fuchsias, perhaps for the first time, have a look at the rooted cuttings at Keydell Nurseries at Horndean. They are all named and the description is on the label.

If you would like to find a really special variety, perhaps with the name of your heartthrob, have a look at those at St Margaret’s Nursery at Titchfield.

If you would like to grow them in a garden border, choose hardy types. They will survive in every condition as long as it is well-drained, but they do really well in a sunny place. Once grown in the border for a year, they will survive the most bitter winters.

For pots and planters, the bush types are excellent. In hanging baskets, choose trailing types.

You may have heard about a terrible pest which caused havoc to fuchsias. This fuchsia gall mite devastated fuchsias here in the south the year before last. It caused the plants to produce lumps which looked like miniature cauliflowers.

When this was brought to my attention by one of you dear readers, I suggested cutting the plants back hard and to spray with S B Plant Invigorator. But the Royal Horticultural Society demanded burning of all stock, which is devastating for us ordinary gardeners, so we cut them back hard and burned all the offending parts.

The pest control industry quickly came into action and a product called Plant Rescue for Ornamentals was formulated.

This is available at your garden centre as a ready-to-spray container or as a concentrate to be diluted in water.

Thank you for your letters; I hope you enjoy a very happy Easter.

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