How many eggs on a plant

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  • #41313

    Gosta
    Participant

    Hi-a few months ago i got some swan plants. 6 in total. They are quite big now. A meter+. And last week was the first time I noticed a Monarch in our garden so I quickly checked my plants and yes…we have some eggs. Today I noticed a caterpillar (really small still). Naturally I am very excited. My question is…how many eggs can I allow on 1 plant? I have seen a few little eggs. All 6 plants have a few eggs. Any advise from anyone? Also, should I put netting around the plants again now the caterpillars are coming out? I hear wasps are attracted to them? Or just let nature do it’s course… Thanks, Gosta

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  • #41316

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Gosta

    There’s no rules or reason as to how many eggs/caterpillars per plant unfortunately. Caterpillars you’ll find will eat part of a leaf and then decide to leave it. Often they eat the part nearest the stem, and the rest is wasted… you’ll see “bits of leaves” on the ground. Plus, if they come across another egg, they just eat it with the leaf it’s attached to.

    When the plant is devoid of leaves they’ll start work on seed pods or stems and keep eating.

    If I were you I’d cover up some of the plants so that the female Monarchs can’t lay eggs on them. It would be great if those plants could get to 2 metres before they’re opened up again to the Monarchs. That way you’ll never run out of food. The plants will flower and set seed, then when the time is right next spring you’ll have oodles of little seedlings all over the garden. I leave those until I’m running out of food, and that’s when I dig them up and feed them to the caterpillars… or else you can move caterpillars onto them.

    Hope that’s helpful.

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