• This topic is empty.
  • Creator
  • #14070


    HI, I would just like to introduce myself. I am new and this is my first summer with a swan plant garden using the common giant swan plant. I moved in here last winter to see 3 swanplants die from the cold frost we had so I collected seeds, put down fresh compost and sprinkled them all along the fence. We now have a mass of swan plants growing and thru the summer so far have monarchs everywhere all thru the day. Now I need to watch for two pests, one the wasps and the other my oriental cat who is trying to catch them. I have a squirt gun on the balcony to stop him doing it. I have been a cat breeder and have a run behind the garage I will turn into a house for the butterflies. To save the eggs from teh bees, I have read that I can pick the leaves that have eggs on them and put them on a wet handitowel in a plastic container, with lid on? then when I have caterpillars, put them back on the plants. Im thinking I can put plants in pots in the house if this will also be a safer option from wasps and my cat? I am also VERY interested in getting the plants that attract the red admiral so any advice on where to get them preferably seeds would be great. I live in Helenvsille next to the parakai river and often go out on our boat and travel up and down the kaipara harbour. I always have my camera with me. I managed to get a great photo yesterday of a female laying eggs. Can photos be posted up anywhere?



Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #23217


    Hi Julie,

    Just gonna tack on to your post about being a new member – I am a new member too!

    Have just joined the Monarch Trust. This is my first year with 2 swan plants of my own (I watched a couple of chrysalis transform when i was a kid in the paddock), and after my last caterpillar hatched into a butterfly the aphids have pretty much overtaken my 2 plants. How do I get rid of the little bliters organically??!! or are the plants pretty much done for. They look pretty sad….On one plant the aphids have turned black…

    On a side note…I had 6 caterpillars hatch out into beautiful butterflys! But my last one that hatched today, I came back after work and it was dead. I put him/her on a branch to dry its wings out and when I got home it was on the ground almost dead missing its lower body and bits of its wings…am thinking it may have fallen off and my cat found it ….it was still alive (barely) so after reading about the pros and cons of the freezer method on the forums thankfully my partner 'bopped it on the head' and we had a little tangi for it complete with nectar flower…Its so sad….especially after it goes through so many life stages!

    I had 10 caterpillars in total, but lost one to a praying mantis, 2 just disapppeared after they got to a good size (I think they wondered off to do their J thing but I searched high and low and couldnt find them anywhere!) and the other J'd but the next day it was just hanging straight dead (i have no idea why…any ideas?).

    I was hoping for a bit better than 50% 🙁 but oh well.

    Love the forums, have been reading them and thought it was about time I signed up…lol

    Nice to meet you Julie!




    Hi Julie

    Welcome to the forum and to our website.

    Urtica ferox (for RAs) is available from Oratia Native Plants.

    Photos can be sent to We encourage people to post photographs that are "different", i.e. we receive many of 'a female Monarch' or 'a male Monarch' or 'twenty pupae' and so we won't post any more of those, but diseased larvae, misformed Monarchs, or other phenomena are welcome.

    When you send your photograph it can take up to one day to appear, and we suggest you put a post in here explaining what your photograph is of, then I will post the link in that thread when it's available.




    Hi & Welcome Julie,

    I have heard of Red Admirals around Helensville, which is better then Auckland, but worst the other areas.

    Rearing Admiral caterpillars certainly requires cages & potted plants as they get eaten by lots of things & they like to wander far more then Monarchs.

    Red Admirals like all types of Nettles, so ask around the local farmers, keen gardeners or look on TradeMe as a few people sell them there as well.

    You should also have the small Copper butterflies too, their caterpillars eat Muehlenbeckia, which is easy to grow (Just have a spare fence or area for it to grow on as it's a climber).




    Welcome Julie.

    Hopefully your cat will lose interest in the butterflies as mine do… mine will always go for them at the start of the season but thankfully the novelty wears off quickly.

    For eggs, I find it easiest just to take the whole branch which has the eggs on it… I cut the branch, smash the bottom of the stem with a hammer to frey it, then put in a vase inside.

    Plants in pots in the house is a very good idea because the wasps eat the caterpillars too.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.