fuchsias look healthy but flowers drying up and falling off
I have a very weird fuchsia problem. My fuchsias look healthy but the flowers are drying up and falling off before blooming, why?
I bought 2 fuchsia starters/cuttings about 8 weeks ago and they came in 10cm pots, which I am still using now. I have not repotted the plants, but they are growing very much now (about 10 inches tall). Both have lots of buds on them and it looks like they would bloom quite soon. I keep them at my windowsill indoors (I do not have a garden or a balcony) where there is morning sun and then shade the rest of the day.
However, a few closed buds have had light brown, dried up spots on the surface and, eventually, they dry up even more and then fall off. A few on the other hand, have small lesions or holes that looks like something has bitten the buds, but when I took down one bud and opened it up, there were no insects or anything weird inside. You can see on the picture I posted. However, these lesions are also causing the flower to dry up before blooming. Those buds that do not have any lesions on them are half open and will soon go into full bloom. I also feed both plants with an all-purpose liquid plant food (Miracle gro) once every 2 weeks and water them every few days (when soil is dry), keep them in a shaded area and mist the leaves once a day.
The plants are perfectly healthy with nice foliage and there were a few mites that I quickly pinched off and a few fruit flies flying around. I tried to kill as many fruit flies as possible whenever I see them. But, do you think this could be the problem? Do fruit flies eat the exterior of closed buds?
Another thing I have noticed today was that the plants were dry in the soil and so the leaves were slightly droopy, so I watered them a little (this was around 3pm). After 2 hours, the leaves perked up again but all the flower buds started having light brown dried spots on them. These buds were completely fine before I watered the plant. Could that be due to overwatering? Or does the soil not have enough drainage?
Thank you very much!!
@theficuswrangler (sorry I am new to this forum, I do not know how quotes and usernames work, so I am simply directing my previous to you) thanks :)
Thank you very much for your advice!! I will check out the link you sent as well :)
I was checking for thrips and could not find any, although I read that they could be hard to spot right? I put a paper once under the plant and lightly shook the plant and all I found was 1 white larvae of something, don't know what insect it could be from, but I killed it right away. I checked the leaves all the time and the mites I mentioned were spider mites. They came from my other plant that was previously infected. But now, most spider mites are gone and the fuchsias do not have webs or anything weird on it, except for the flower buds.
Would you suggest me to water the fuchsias in the morning? If yes, what time in the morning would be best? It is summer here in Sweden now, so the sun sets at 10pm and rises again at 5am or so. Perhaps its also time to repot?
Now that you mention that I should keep the soil more moist, it actually explains why the flower buds looked dried up when I found out the soil was almost dry this afternoon. Also, have you ever experienced these small lesions on the surface of the buds? Most of them are located on the top of the bud near the thin stem that connects the buds to the plant stem. I took some pictures and you can see them here:
I also don't understand why the plant is flowering so young..when I bought it, it was a cutting about 15cm tall and now it is twice the size, 2 months after, and flowering. It does not look old enough to sustain so much flowers...
Thank you very much for your time! I really want to try to save my fuchsias before I give up :)
To start, here is an article on fuschia; https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/fuchsia/growing-fuchsia-flower.htm
All of that considered, fuschia are not easy plants, especially when kept indoors as houseplants. To address your particular problems: the browning and dying of flowers might be thrips, a flea-like insect that comes in many sizes and colors. Look for tiny black specks inside the flower buds, which are the feces of the insect. The best treatment is removal and disposal, although spraying with soap-and-water never hurts
Another possibility is that the plants need a bit more moisture; the soil should probably never go below "slightly moist" on the surface.
The fruit flies are probably fungus gnats. They only feed on decaying organic matter in the soil. You can put yellow sticky cards (from any plant store) on the soil to trap them.
You mention pinching off mites; do you mean spider mites? Did you see the webbing when you misted the plants? That, by the way, is the only real value in misting. Misting to increase humidity is useless, unless it is done every 15 minutes.
Here are some recipes for soap-and -water sprays; I prefer plain castille soap in water, 1 tsp soap to 2 cups water. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/homemade-soap-spray.htm