At the end of March I was invited to the Wessex Fuchsia Group to talk about James Lye and his Fuchsias. This is the most local specialist fuchsia group to where James lived and worked.
On the raffle table I spotted a small bottle of Stergene… This appeared to be an unusual item compared with the usual array of plants and other gifts that members had brought in. I asked some of the members what Stergene has to do with fuchsias, I was informed it helped with controlling Whitefly. The solution ratio mentioned was one teaspoon to a litre of water as a spray. It isn’t systemic, but it does kill them on contact. One member said that they sprayed once a week, from below, on the fuchsia plants they keep in their greenhouse, making sure they sprayed on the underside of the leaves, where usually you will find the heaviest infestations.
As we all know Fuchsias are susceptible to several pests including Whitefly, Greenfly, Red Spider Mite, Capsid Bugs, and Vine Weevil. There are several insecticides on the market which will help you keep these under control safely if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
For those growers who are against the use of chemical sprays, methods used by some of the Victorian gardeners are still as useful today as they were in the 19th century. Sprays made using soft soap or milder detergents, for example Stergene, appear to have very beneficial effects.
Regular use should always be made of any type of spray as they kill the adults only. Repeat spraying, perhaps once every 5 to 7 days, will kill any adults emerging from eggs laid in earlier days.
Other ways of controlling pests:
Natural Predators: Encarsia Formosa can be used to great effect in greenhouses to control whitefly when the temperature and conditions are correct. Though over time the predator will itself die out when all its food supplies have been removed or the use of Nemasys® Vine Weevil Killer which contains the natural nematode, Steinernema Kraussei, which is effective at controlling vine weevil grubs.
Insecticides: Both contact and systemic, should be used carefully. To prevent a build-up in the resistance of the pests to these chemicals it is important to use a few different insecticides in rotation. When your fuchsias are in flower, overhead spraying is likely to cause marking to the flowers, so it will be necessary to use systemic insecticides watered into the compost.
If you have used Stergene, we would love to hear from you. Tell us how long you have been using it and what your thoughts are on how good it is as a preventative.
#harperdebbage #stergene #fuchsia #fuchsias #victorian #insecticides