Fuchsia Plant Galls: Tips On Controlling Fuchsia Gall Mites

Fuchsia Plant Galls: Tips On Controlling Fuchsia Gall Mites

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

The fuchsia gall mite, native to South America, was accidentally introduced to the West Coast in the early 1980s. More recently, it has landed in Europe, where it is spreading quickly.

Gall Mites on Fuchsia

So what are fuchsia plant galls? Gall mites are microscopic pests that feed on tender fuchsia stems, leaves and blossoms. In the process, they introduce toxins that cause the plant to develop red, swollen tissues and thick, distorted growths.

Controlling fuchsia gall mites is difficult because the tiny pests are transmitted easily by gardening gloves, pruning tools, or anything they touch. Unfortunately, they are also spread by hummingbirds, and biologists think they may be transmitted in the wind.

How to Get Rid of Gall Mites

The first and most important step in controlling fuchsia gall mites is to prune the damaged growth back to where the plant appears normal, as the damaged growth will not recover. Dispose of the prunings carefully to prevent further spread.

University of California’s Integrated Pest Management program (UC-IPM) suggests that control may be attained by applying a spray miticide at two and three weeks after pruning. UC-IPM also notes that application of horticultural oil spray or insecticidal soap may provide some control, but soaps and oil won’t kill mites tucked into distorted plant tissues that remain after pruning. However, if you hope to achieve fuchsia gall mite treatment without chemicals, oils and soaps applied every seven to ten days may be worth a try. Spray carefully to achieve complete coverage.

If your plants are badly damaged, you may want to dispose of the mite-affected fuchsias and start over with mite-resistant plants. Varieties that are believed to be more resistant include:

  • Space Shuttle
  • Baby Chang
  • Ocean Mist
  • Isis
  • Miniature Jewels

Fuchsia growers are working hard to develop new, mite-resistant varieties.

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How to Get Rid of Gall Mites on Red Maples

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Unattractive growths, or galls, on the leaves of red maple trees (Acer rubrum), which appear as green bulges early in the season and then change to red and black, are typically caused by an infestation of gall mites. Mites, such as the bladder gall mite (Vasates quadripedes) or spindle gall mite (Vasates aceriscrumena), chew on tree leaves throughout the growing season, stimulating new tissue growth in which they can lay eggs. Although the red maple tree, which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9, is susceptible to gall mites, they leave only aesthetic damage and do not harm the health of the tree. Control methods can cut down on gall mite populations over time to improve the tree's appearance.

Prune affected red maples early in the spring, using pruning shears or loppers to remove the infected branches and twigs to minimize the adult population of mites. Wear work gloves while pruning, and do not dispose of tree material in the area. Instead, place it into plastic trash bags to prevent the mites from spreading.

Dress in protective gear for bark spraying during the dormant season, when mites are overwintering in the bark. Plan to spray when temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no chance of freezing temperatures the next day. Wear safety goggles, work gloves, a ventilator mask and long-sleeved clothing.

Protect all woodwork or masonry near the tree with tarps, which can become stained by lime sulfur. Also cover nearby plants if they have not entered dormancy.

Spray red maples with liquid lime sulfur, using a hand sprayer on small trees and a pressure sprayer on large trees. Only spray trees that have no new leaf growth, as leaf appearance indicates that the tree is not dormant. Drench the trunk entirely.

Launder clothing immediately following spraying, and shower to remove all traces of residue from your body.

Apply an insecticidal bark spray just after leaf growth begins in the second year, if mites were not reduced by the lime sulfur application in the previous year. Do not spray later than bud break, as it will be too late and galls will have already appeared to protect mites. Spray a bark-effective insecticide containing carbaryl, or use insecticidal soap. Coat the trunk and buds.

How to recognise it

The mites themselves are worm-like in shape and pale yellow to white, but at only 0.25mm long they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Therefore their presence must be deduced from the plant’s symptoms.

The symptoms of an infestation start with a reddening of leaves, particularly at the shoot tips. As the mites continue to feed the flowers and leaves become distorted and swollen or ‘galled’. Galled leaves are pale green and felt like to start with and then become reddened. Parts of the plant can also appear fused together. New growth will be distorted and may cease altogether at shoot tips.


A few days ago we were walking round the garden and noticed that one of the Fuchsias seemed to have real problems with flowering. On closer examination the growing tips were curled up with the new flower buds curled into them. We then checked out another fuchsia in the front garden which had flowered. It was the only one we had with variegated leaves. But that too seemed to be infected. We had no idea what this was, so Robin had a look on the net.

Distorted growing tip of a Fuchsia plant

Apparently it is the Fuchsia gall mite and has been written about by the RHS. It had first been seen in Brazil in the late 1970’s and has since spread to areas with warm climates, reaching Fareham on the south coast of England only a short time ago.

The only thing to do with it is remove it completely as removing the distortions doesn’t get rid of the mite and neither do pesticides – which we wouldn’t want to use unless there was no other way. When removing the plant, it either has to be burnt or got rid of safely – not on the compost heap. The mode of transportation is you and I, birds and the wind. Therefore we have to be careful that we clean tools, change clothes and wash hands after handling it.

I have just found it in the back garden too, but so far it has only affected one of the fuchsias (all hardy). Therefore we have to get rid of it as soon as possible. However, before doing so I thought I would take some pictures. The mite is 0.25 mm long, therefore too small to be seen with the naked eye. But I have one or two microscopes and have taken some stills and a short video.

First, two stills so that you know what to look for:

The same gall mites taken within seconds of the first picture.

I had hoped to show you a short video I took of a mite moving along a stem, but unfortunately I haven’t found a way to include it on a WordPress page. But needless to say, the mite is very bad news for those with Fuchsias at least living in the south of the UK . But perhaps this will be a warning to have a look at your Fuchsias and remove those infected as soon as you can. This could minimise spreading.

Now the good news. The American Society of Botanical artist (ASBA) has its annual conference in Pittsburgh in October. I know I have mentioned this before. I was asked to teach and the online registration was opened on 23 July. I booked the workshops that I wanted to attend, but also checked out my own workshop.

I couldn’t believe it and I thought there was a difference between the meaning of the American and UK English words ‘waiting list’. I picked up the courage to ask and found that they meant the same thing. Already on the first day of registration, my workshop was fully booked with a waiting list! I have to keep my fingers crossed now that I can still get crab apples as subjects for the conference. At the moment, I have loads of different ones ripening here, but how they are ‘over there’ is another matter. Perhaps someone could tell me if they are likely to have any left at the time of the conference?

Types of galls

Leaf galls

  • Formed on leaf blades or petioles.
  • Most common galls.
  • Appear as leaf curls, blisters, nipples or erineums (hairy, felt-like growths).
  • On the upper or lower leaf surface.

Stem and twig galls

  • Deformed growth on stems and twigs.
  • Range from slight swelling to large knot-like growth.

Bud or flower galls

Where there are pests, and plant diseases

Various misfortunes befall the plant as a result of improper care. Flower giving enough attention, you can not worry about diseases. When failed to detect the problem at an early stage, in time to exclude the hearth – flower is restored independently, without any tools.

If the trouble with the fuchsia still happened, should define clearly the problem, then the treatment will be effective.

Diseases fuchsias are divided into 2 categories:

  • Disease as a consequence of improper care.
  • Of moulds and pests.

The most common problem based on both factors. With proper care, even difficult pests to attack a strong plant.

First, consider the diseases associated with the root system and leaves. Signs in such cases are seen almost immediately. Important time to define them, to avoid death of the flower.

Fuchsia has white, strong roots. When they become soft, change color to brown is a sign of root rot. Basically the reason is the large amount of moisture. There is not able to help even good drainage.

Methods of combating root rot:

  • The plant removed from the pot.
  • And the roots are carefully washed in warm water.
  • The affected roots are cut with a sharp object.
  • The rest of the flower put in a container with clean water.
  • With the appearance of healthy white roots, fuchsia can be planted in the new soil.

Threat to fuchsia gray mold. Part of the plant that is affected, it becomes soft and watery. This happens in the case of too moist of air in the room. On pieces of paper to form plaque. Gray mold occurs mainly in autumn or spring. It was during this period outside the window, damp wet weather.

All affected leaves should be removed, they can be cut off. The room should be dry, require periodic airing. If necessary, use the purchase money.

It happens that even with strong and healthy roots, the plant has slowed growth, the root system is highly developed and entangled in a tangle. The phenomenon has a simple explanation – not enough room. Fuchsia transplanted, and growth resumes.

Very often possible to detect a disease as the leaves. In different situations, they change color and structure:

  • Brown and drying in the soil is not enough molybdenum.
  • Streaks of yellow in it – in not enough soil manganese.
  • The leaves turn white and wither – not enough nitrogen.

Treatment in such cases is quite simple, the plant needs to provide such a feeding, which it lacks.

Typical disease of leaves

Another big nuisance is a pest, they are not so little. They attack mainly during the warm period of time.

On hot summer days, the Windows are often open, which allows the whitefly to fly freely in the room. To see this butterfly is quite complicated, it is very tiny. Whiteflies lay on the inner side of the sheet invisible eggs. The flower on this change responds very quickly. So the leaves form a whitish sticky droplets. The washing water in this case will not help, they will grow. Hatching from eggs, the butterfly (a lot of them) feed on plant SAP. This leaves quickly turn yellow and drop. Everything happens quickly, and if not to notice, whiteflies will eat the flower stalk.

The first thing to do in the whitefly – rinse the flower in warm soapy water. More attention should wash the inner part of the leaves and stem. Soap solution should not fall on the roots, it is detrimental. Protect them with polythene or a simple plastic bag. Fuchsia diseases and pests

In non-running situation quite a few soap treatments to get rid of the problem. When they do not help, use special purchase drugs as treatment. What’s the best, tell the sellers in a flower shop.

If the air in the room in addition to warm, still and dry is a great habitat for red spider mite. Signs of damage to the fuchsia mite:

  • The inner part of the foliage becomes gray patina.
  • Appears thin gossamer.
  • The leaves develop black spots.

Get rid of the tick is simple traditional methods can be extremely rare. It is better not to rely on luck, and buy a special product.

Note! All purchase funds are used in accordance with the instructions or recommendations of the growers. To use them for other purposes is also harmful.

When you find pests on fuchsia, it should be isolated from other houseplants. To exclude contamination, in summer, the flower treated with special means. Prevention in this case is a must.

Another common disease is rust. Is expressed on the leaves brown spots. The disease spreads rapidly and requires immediate treatment:

  • All the affected leaves immediately removed, they are cut with a sharp object.
  • Preparing a soap solution (soap) is processed the whole plant.
  • Be sure to use special tools.

Rust is very contagious, all tools should be disinfected after removing the «sick» leaves, hands are washed and disinfected. Only after that you can continue working with flower.

Unpleasant disease of fuchsia – foliar nematodes. Bruise the leaves of the flower, between the veins and cause yellow spots, which eventually become brown. The foliage begins to crumble. If the plant to be sprayed frequently, nematodes are rapidly for it to multiply. Fuchsia diseases and pests

Fighting this disease begins with the removal of the affected leaves. It should significantly reduce the water, from spraying to take time off.

Important! To propagate a plant that is sick, in any case impossible.

Caterpillar pests, which will be quickly detected. They eat leaves, can also be seen leaving a trail of tracks in the form of black dots (their feces).

When mass destruction and used as treatment of insecticides. In addition, the fuchsia regularly inspect and clean the tracks. It is better to search in the evening.

A fairly common pest, the aphid. It has the ability to hit the entire plant, and not its individual parts. Aphids on houseplants can have razlikuju color palette: green, red, black. Can hit:

  • Root system.
  • Stems.
  • Buds.
  • Leaves.

Flowers, buds and leaves begin to curl, turn yellow and fall off. Aphids on the affected parts of the plant visible adhesive selection. If time does not recognize such pest as aphids, rose will quickly die.

When aphids found on one plant, to deal with it redeems the flower in soapy water. If aphids struck by fuchsia hard enough or went a collective infection without professional drugs can not do, buy them in a flower shop.

Aphids may appear on the flower thus:

  • To fly into the open window.
  • May be in the soil in which the flower is planted, especially if it was taken in the store and in the garden.
  • Gets new plants. May have been donated or bought a flower that was already infected. Of course, aphids will spread.

Strong and healthy plant, which is attentive care is much less likely to attack aphids and other pests.

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