What’s wrong with my fuchsia plants?
Q What’s the yellow mildew on my fuchsias?
Carole Kendall, by email
A It’s not mildew, but fuchsia rust that’s spread by airborne spores. It can infect plants outside in summer and early autumn, but can occur year round on indoor fuchsias. In severe cases yellow blotches develop on the upper leaf surface with orange, dusty pustules on the lower surface. Later, leaves shrivel and fall. If caught early enough, infected leaves can be picked off and the plants given a liquid fertiliser to boost vigour.
Bayer Fungus Fighter and Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra will both control the disease, but fuchsias can be sensitive to fungicides so do a test spraying on just a few leaves first and wait three weeks to see if any damage occurs. Your plant with distorted buds is almost certainly infected with fuchsia gall mite (see GN October 28). You could cut it hard back and destroy the debris, but you may want to bin the entire plant to avoid infecting your other plants.
Pick off any leaves as soon as you see signs of fuchsia rust