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Caterpillars

I have a phygelius passionate pink fuchia and over the past month its leaves have been eaten by small grey caterpillars. I dont really want to kill the caterpillers and imagine the plant will recover in spring next year as it did this year. I have only just discovered the culprits causing the damage eventhough the plant has been in the garden for 3 years. I supose what i really want to know is if i am right to accept them or am i storing up problems and what will happen to the caterpillars? Will they over winter in chrysalises and emerge in spring as butterflies and if so do you know which? I also have a varigated Tom West fuchia which is completely unaffectec. Why is this?

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  • Phygelius, aka Cape Fuschia, is not related to the true Fuscias, which is why your insects only attack one of them. I do not know what species the caterpillars might be, probably not a butterfly but a small species of moth, of which there are very many species. They might overwinter as caterpillars, pupae, adults or eggs, depending on the species.

    Whatever you do they could well return next year, so if you do not want them on your plant then you will have to either remove them as soon as you see them or use insecticide.

  • Thank you. i will think about using an insecticid. For the last 2 years the leaves have been left like lace curtains and it takes a long time to recover the following spring.

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