Q What is fuchsia gall mite?
A Fuchsia gall mite is a fairly recent arrival in the UK. It's thought to have first appeared in 2007, after originally been found in South America in the 1970s. Affected plants were first found in the south of England and it has been spreading.
It's a microscopic mite and its size means that the damage it causes is the first sign of its presence.
Caption: Fuchsia gall mite causes severely distorted growth
Q What damage does fuchsia gall mite do?
A The first signs are reddening of the leaves, particularly the shoot tips. The mites feeding causes the leaves and flowers to become grossly distorted. The distorted growth is pale green and felt-like at first, then reddens with age. It stops the plant growing.
Q What can I do about fuchsia gall mite?
A Unfortunately it's very hard to control fuchsia gall mite as the mites hide within the distorted parts of the plant. The best idea is to destroy the affected plant by digging it up and burning it, and start again with fresh plants.
If you are loathe to lose the plant, you could try cutting off all green material and burning that. Hopefully the new growth will be clean.