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Why Is Fuchsia Wilting – Tips On Caring For Wilting Fuchsia Plants

Why Is Fuchsia Wilting – Tips On Caring For Wilting Fuchsia Plants


By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Help! My fuchsia plant is wilting! If this sounds familiar, the likely reason is an environmental problem that can probably be remedied with a few simple cultural changes. If you’re trying to figure out the reason for wilting fuchsia plants, read on for suggestions.

Reasons for Wilting Fuchsia Plants

Why is my fuchsia wilting? Fuchsias require a lot of water, especially in hanging baskets. Problems with wilting fuchsia plants may be due to lack of moisture. During the heat of the summer, potted fuchsia plants may need water twice daily, especially if the plants are exposed to sun and wind.

On the other hand, wilting fuchsia plants may also be the result of too much water, especially if the roots don’t have adequate drainage. Ensure the potting soil (or garden soil for in-ground plants) is well drained.

Potted fuchsias must have at least one drainage hole. While fuchsias need regular water, they should never sit in soggy soil.

Watering may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. Just feel the soil before watering. If the top of the soil feels dry, water until liquid begins to trickle through the drainage hole, then allow the pot to drain. Never water if the soil feels moist, even if the leaves look wilted.

Tips for Caring for Wilted Fuchsia

If your fuchsia is properly watered and still wilts, you may be able to save the plant with a good pruning.

Too much sun may be responsible when fuchsia plants are wilting. A little morning sunlight is fine, but afternoon sunlight is much too intense for these shade-loving plants. In hot climates, full shade all day is generally best.

Once fuchsia plants are established, water them regularly with a dilute mixture of water-soluble fertilizer. Avoid feeding just planted fuchsias, as the fertilizer may scorch the tender roots.

Watch for pests, such as aphids, spider mites, thrips or scale, all of which can cause leaves to wilt or curl. Regular application of an insecticidal soap is usually enough to keep these sap-sucking insects in check. However, never use insecticidal soap on a hot day or when the sun is directly on the leaves, as scorching may occur.

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Simple Steps To Stop Your Plant Wilting After Repotting

If you’ve just repotted your plant, only to see it wilting in front of your eyes, you may be wondering why it has happened. Many factors can contribute to a plant wilting after repotting, but there are a few easy steps to reduce the risk of it happening.

A plant wilting after repotting can be due to root damage during repotting or a sudden change in conditions that the plant struggles to react to. Optimize care before and after repotting, and take great care while repotting to avoid damaging the roots to prevent your plants from wilting.

Read on and I’ll cover all the reasons why your plant may be wilting after repotting, how to fix each issue and how to prevent it from happening in the future.


Signs of Overwatering

To save the plant, you’ll need to learn about the signs of overwatering. Usually, the symptoms of excess watering are similar to underwatering, but you can easily observe that you were overwatering by checking out the soil and drainage. Also, the leaves of the affected plant are soft and stems are tender. Whereas, leaves of the underwatered plants are dry and crisp to touch.

  • Leaves turning to a lighter shade of green and yellow and wilting is what happens during the initial stage. Due to this most of us think that the plant is suffering from drought stress and make the situation even worse by watering even more.
  • New shoots becoming brown, leaf drop, slow or no growth and plant becoming floppier are some of the major other symptoms that come later.
  • In some cases, the formation of mold takes place around the base of the stem, leaves, and even on the surface of the soil.
  • Prolonged exposure to soggy soil causes root rot which you can see if you work through the soil, a bit exposing the roots. Roots giving off a foul and musty odor is also a sign of root rot.

Make sure to be on a lookout for these “Signs of Overwatering” so that you can save the plant before it’s too late!


Check the Environment for Your Pepper Plants

At this point, you are confident that over watering is not the problem that is causing your pepper plants to die. In that case, let’s look at some other common factors that can kill pepper plants.

Sunlight and Temperature

Pepper plants need full sunlight, which means 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. This means that they should be in the sun most of the day during the summer.

Your pepper plants may be lacking sunlight if they are in a shady location in the garden. In this case, the only thing to do is to cut down trees that are shading them, or plant in a different area next year.

Make sure your pepper plants are getting enough sunlight. If not, plant them somewhere brighter next year.

Extreme temperatures can also affect your pepper plants. The ideal temperature is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius) during the day.

If temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) at night, you may begin to see slowing growth. Low temperatures also interfere with a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Remember that a frost will generally kill pepper plants that are not covered. Starting your pepper plants too early or too late in the season can lead to loss of your crop due to a late spring or early fall frost at night.

Soil pH

Soil pH is important for plants to grow properly, since it dictates whether they will be able to absorb nutrients from the soil. An ideal soil pH for pepper plants is 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic).

If the soil pH is too low or too high, certain nutrients in the soil will be unavailable to the pepper plant’s roots. This is true even if there is plenty of the nutrient in the soil!

To find out if your soil pH is off, you can buy a test kit online or at a garden center. You can also send a soil sample to your local agricultural extension. For more information, check out my article about soil testing.


Thrips-Related Problems

Impatiens necrotic spot virus also causes impatiens to wilt, along with stem death, stunting, yellowing, poor flowering and a variety of different spot patterns on the leaves. Again, unfortunately, infected plants cannot be cured but must instead be removed and thrown out to protect the rest of the plants growing around them. Do not replant impatiens in the same spot once you’ve had a problem with necrotic spot virus, and do not propagate infected plants from cuttings. Thrips can transmit both INSV as well as bacterial wilt, where symptoms must be controlled by cutting plants to the soil line. If you have a thrips problem, control with a ready-to-use pyrethrin spray, thoroughly covering the plant. Wear long sleeves and gloves when working with pyrethrin because it can be absorbed through the skin.


Wilting Fuchsia Plants: What To Do When Fuchsia Plant Leaves Are Wilting - garden

Watering fuchsias is fairly easy and straightforward. They generally like to be kept evenly moist but not wet. So make sure to choose a potting mix than can support this need. When I water, I'll give each plant enough so that it starts to drain out the bottom. This also helps avoid the buildup of any minerals or salts that might be contained in the water, from feeding or otherwise, that might prove harmful to the roots. If there's a saucer or pan underneath, be careful not to let the pot remain standing in the water for any length of time. This goes for rain as well. You want to avoid water-logging or souring the soil in the pot and possibly rotting the plants' roots.

Beyond these basic requirements, evenly moist but not wet, are a number of tips and techniques you might find useful in getting your plants to give the best performances they can.

Hanging baskets are especially prone to drying out quickly so they might need to be checked again in the afternoon on warm or dry days. They're positioned higher and are exposed to more of the drying effects of wind. This is often the case in my garden, where I have good breezes that come down between the buildings and pass through the hanging baskets. Large mature trailing plants in hanging baskets have significantly more leaf area in proportion to the amount of roots as well. This abundance of leaves will drain the available moisture from the soil much more rapidly than smaller plants will.

Depending on the potting mix some baskets might even benefit from being taken down and set into a tub of water to fully hydrate them before being rehung. Plants that become root bound towards the end of the season, and are not scheduled for potting on, will also need to be watched more closely as they now have less soil to hold moisture or will pass water through the extensive root network more quickly. If you're potting up your own baskets or pots, and are growing them in warmer, sunnier and drier places, it might be good to add some moisture-retaining granules into the mix. Large standing plants or fuchsias grown in a sunnier position should also be watched carefully.

The leaves of many plants, of course, will wilt if the plant becomes too dry. Fuchsia leaves might also droop a bit in the heat of a high-summer afternoon or if grown in a sunnier spot. In addition, fuchsias stop actively transpiring moisture through their leaves when the temperatures rise much above the upper 70's or low 80's Fahrenheit (25 to 30 C) .

Because of this behavior, it's important to actually check the soil of your plants before you add water if you see wilting leaves. Only add water if the soil's dry. Simply adding more water not needed will not cause the leaves to perk back up. At these times, it's best to mist the leaves and surrounding areas to cool down the plants instead. You'd be surprised just how effective misting can be in getting fuchsias to perk back up in the heat.

Regularity in watering is important. If they dry out too much or too often they'll simply drop flower buds in response to what's essentially an artificial drought. Remember that fuchsias are woody shrubs. They won't recover from a severe drying as easily as many herbaceous plants might. Since it takes about eight to twelve weeks for most fuchsias to develop to flowering size from the final pinching, irregular watering will certainly set back their floral display. You also run the risk of tricking your plant into thinking autumn is coming and cause some, or most, or maybe even all, of its leave to yellow and then drop. This might be a helpful occurrence towards the end of the season when you want to slow down the plants' growth to store them away for the winter, but not a very nice one at the height of the summer when you want a great display.

Fuchsias are usually described as gross feeders. No matter how rich it was when it first started out, the frequent watering of pot culture will quickly leech important nutrients from the potting mix. A soilless mix might not contain much nutrition for the plants anyway. So the supplemental feeding of fuchsias can start fairly soon after they're potted up and growing on. It's best to avoid feeding plants that have just rooted, though, since you stand a chance of burning tender young roots.

Once the fuchsias are indeed up and growing, a regular feeding program of water-soluble fertilizer is important to the full potential and blossoming of the plants. Because you still stand the chance of burning older roots with a overly concentrated plant food, for fuchsias weaker more frequent applications are called for. Many growers even add a tiny amount of food with every watering.

Personally, I feed my plants about once a week and find that they respond just fine to that schedule. The exact proportions depend on the brand. For example, if the instructions say to add a tablespoon of food to every gallon of water and apply it once a month, I'll quarter that, or often even a little less, to apply it weakly and weekly. I also make sure that it's thoroughly dissolved and stirred about before I give to the plants.

Some liquid plant food is good for foliar feeding and I regularly sprinkle some of the weak solution over the leaves from the rose of my watering can. Fuchsias should not be feed when their soil is dry, though. In that case, I might water first or wait until a little later in the day to water the plant food in. Towards the end of the season, I'll stop feeding the plants as I want to slow their growth and prepare them for over-wintering.

However, even a formula that’s listed as 20-20-20 can be fine as long as it's applied correctly to suit fuchsias. In the end, it’s more about the regular weekly feeding than the fine proportions of the NPK. And, of course, don't overlook those organic fertilizers, such as liquid seaweed extracts. They often have a lot of additional positive properties for encouraging healthy plant growth and usually much gentler on the roots as well.

I have a hesitation with the current trend of big business to add fertilizer to just about every product. Perhaps it's being driven by the desire to sell, sell, sell to the uniformed from the shelves of box stores but it seems like an arms race has taken over to add junk food for plants as a selling point of supposed convenience. I don't like the one-size-feeds-all-for-the-season strategy of additives being so helpfully foisted in a potting mix.

Many fertilizers can burn new roots. What's in the mix? Will it assault new fuchsia roots as they're developing? Exactly how long does it last? Will it deplete and set back my fuchsias' growth before I notice and can make up for the deficiency with my own feeding? What are these products really good for?

I suspect that the New Improved Triple-Action No-Thought-No-Effort Potting Mix Now with Broadcide®™ might mostly be good for the bottom line of super-corporations but I don’t think it’s especially beneficial for my gardening or my fuchsias. I tend to pass these enriched season's-pass potting mixes by in favor of my own feeding program.


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