Tips on Growing Lavender Basket Fuchsias

Variety: Fuchsia
Family: Onagraceae
Cultivar: Lavender Basket
Zones: 9 to 11
AHS Heat Zone: Not defined for this plant
Soil Type: Sandy loam to loam
Soil pH: 5.0 to 7.0
Sunlight: Partial shade to full sun
Watering: Moist
Fertilizer: Water-soluble, quick-release or flowering shrub and tree fertilizer
Availability: Sold as seeds or live, potted plants

When to plant: Lavender Basket Fuchsia seeds can be started indoors four to six weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds outdoors after the last frost. Live plants can be planted after the last frost.

Planting Method
Seeds: Seeds can be planted ¼-inch deep. For outdoor planting, thin plants to 12 inches of spacing once they're established.

Live plants: Dig a planting hole that is twice as wide as the root ball. If the soil needs to be amended, use 50% of the original soil and 50% amended soil, making sure the pH is in the correct range. Place the plant in the planting hole, then fill with soil and water well. Mulched shrubs and trees tend to grow faster than non-mulched shrubs and trees, so mulch with a couple inches of compost or pulverized bark.

Watering
Water enough so that the soil stays moist. If you are growing this plant outside, water with at least an inch of water per week. If the soil seems to dry out before a week is up, give the plant an inch and a half of water at a time. Deep watering is better than frequent, shallow waterings as it promotes root growth and a strong, healthy plant.

If you are growing the plant as a houseplant, water thoroughly enough so that the soil is soaked. Be sure that the container has holes at the bottom for proper drainage. Allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again.

Fertilizing
Fertilize with a water-soluble, quick-release fertilizer every 10 to 14 days or use a flowering shrub and tree fertilizer as directed on the package. If you use a flowering shrub and tree fertilizer, you may only need to fertilize once a year.

AHS Heat Zone
The AHS Heat Zone is not defined for this fuchsia, but caution should be used when choosing an outdoor location. Lavender Basket Fuchsia does not tolearate heat, high humidity or drought conditions, so if you live in an area with long, hot, humid summers, this plant should be used as a houseplant. If you live in an area with shorter, cooler summers, you may be able to grow this fuchsia as a landscape shrub.

Production
Lavender Basket Fuchsia is a deciduous shrub that produces decorative fruit and small, green leaves. The double flowers are showy and bloom in shades of purple and red.

Diseases

  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungus that usually affects plants that have low air circulation and inadequate light. It is a bigger problem in the early spring and fall months, when the temperatures swing from high during the day to low at night, especially in zones with a lot of humidity. Powdery mildew forms a white or gray coating on the top of the leaves, making them turn yellow, curl up and drop off. It also causes stunted fruit that drops early. To control powdery mildew, decrease watering, use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and keep water off the foliage. Apply fungicides as directed.
  • Pythium and Phytophtora Root Rot: Pythium and phytophtora root rot attack a plant if there are fungal spores in the soil and the plant is overwatered, creating a high moisture level. Roots turn black and break. Leaves yellow and fall off, usually from the bottom up. Contaminated water or soil mix is the usual cause of root rot. To control this disease, remove infected plants, make sure the soil is well-drained and do not overwater or overfertilize plants. There is no chemical treatment for root rot.
  • Rusts: Rusts generally overwinter on plant foliage and spent flowers. They are host-specific and usually appear as small, yellow or bright-orange pustules under the leaves. Sometimes the pustules can be brown. Other fungi and splashing water causes most rust problems. Rust tends to worsen when the weather gets moist. To control rust problems, water the plant from the base, keeping the foliage dry. Make sure the plants have enough air flow to all leaves by thinning and pruning. Water only during the day, giving plants a chance to dry before nightfall. Rusts can also be controlled with a fungicide.
  • Verticillium or Fusarium Wilt: Verticillium and Fusarium wilt are fungi that multiply during cool, moist seasons. Infected seeds, plant matter and soil are all ways this wilt can be spread to other plants. The leaves on afflicted plants will turn yellow and die. If you over-fertilize, you can also cause a plant to contract this wilt. This particular wilt also affects weeds. Signs of this wilt do not appear until the weather turns warm and dry. To control this wilt, do not use a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer, keep the garden area weeded and remove infected plants.

Pests

  • Aphids: The aphid is a small insect that forms clusters on seedlings and new plant growth. It's pear-shaped body ranges from 1/16- to 3/8-inch long. Aphids spread quickly, feeding on plant juices, which weakens the plant. Signs of infection include honeydew and sooty mold on plants, curling leaves, stunted growth and yellowing of foliage. Remove infected plant matter and keep the garden weed-free. Do not use high-nitrogen fertilizer, as this promotes aphids. If you have a light infestation, you can spray the aphids off the plant with water, then apply insecticidal soaps or pesticides. Aphids will develop a resistance to pesticides, so use them sparingly and as a last resort. If you do not wish to use insecticides or pesticides, you can introduce natural enemies of the aphid, such as lacewings, parasitic wasps or pirate bugs.
  • Caterpillars: Caterpillars are heavy feeders and can be quite destructive. They are the immature forms of butterflies and moths. Control caterpillars by removing all weeds around the area and introducing parasitic wasps. Certain insecticidal soaps and oils will kill caterpillars.
  • Mealybugs: Mealybugs are covered with a white wax and feed on plants by inserting stylets into the plant. They secrete honeydew, which creates sooty mold and attracts ants. Eggs are laid inside a cotton-type pouch and hatch in 7 to 10 days. The adults live about 30 days, and can lay several hundred eggs. Control mealybugs with an insecticidal soap or pesticides.
  • Scale Insects: The 1/8-inch-long scale insect attaches itself to the leaves and stems of plants. While the males have wings, the females do not, and spend their lives attached to the plant, sucking out juices with their piercing mouth parts. The scale insect excretes honeydew, which causes sooty mold that attracts ants. Cut any infected leaves off the plants. If the stems are also infected, you may have to dispose of the entire plant. You may be able to control them with insecticidal soaps or pesticides. You can also introduce parasitic wasps to your garden, as they are the scale insect's natural enemies. Lady beetles are also natural enemies.
  • Spider Mites: Spider mites are tiny, eight-legged insects that feed on foliage, causing stippling, a distinctive spotted look on the leaves. They also create a thin web on the plants, and will use the web to move from one plant to another. Adults live up to 21 days and lay hundreds of eggs, which hatch in two to four days. You will probably need a magnifying glass to see the adults, eggs and nymphs. The adult will have two distinctive black spots on it. Spider mites tend to become immune to pesticides, so if you decide to use them, rotate the type of pesticide you use. Natural predators include predator mites, pirate bugs and lady beetles. Isolate plants infected with spider mites to stop their spread.
  • Thrips: Out of the 6,000-plus species of thrips, there are five that like to visit garden plants. These narrow-bodied insects are about 1/8-inch long and have a life span of about 45 days. They are commonly found eating foliage, including the stems of plants. They do not like cooler temperatures and will invade a warm greenhouse.  Keep plants well-weeded and use sticky strips to trap thrips. Some pesticides may work, though some only kill the larvae, not adult insects. Natural enemies include lacewings, ladybeetles and pirate bugs.
  • Whiteflies: Whiteflies are less than 1/8 of an inch long, with white wings and yellow bodies. Their eggs hatch in 8 to 11 days. They have piercing mouthparts and suck the juices from plants, which causes stunted growth and yellow leaves. They can be controlled with pesticides, but in order for them to be effective, the underside of the leaves must be treated. Parasitic wasps and lady beetles can be used for outdoor control.

Cleanup
Prune Lavender Basket Fuchsia during the spring and throughout the growing season for dead and decaying wood. This plant has terminal, lateral and dormant growth buds. Pinching the stem tips (the terminal buds at the end of the stem) encourages the lateral buds to flower. This plant responds well to shearing to create a hedge.

Saving Seeds
Save some of the fruit from the plant and remove the seeds. Dry the seeds and plant them in the same manner as store-bought seeds.

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