Plant identification please? Nectar source

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  • #27335

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Chrissie,

    It is difficult to say without seeing a site firsthand and asking about the prevalent conditions over 12 months. In the situation you describe, it sounds like a really good choice, and obviously it works given the number of insects nectaring there!

    It’s funny how one’s opinions change with the gaining of more knowledge too. In a situation where I grew Fatsia 25 years ago, I would now choose Urtica ferox underplanted with U. incisa, only because of my more recently gained knowlege about the Admirals, BUT, that situation was dryish shade in summer tending to damp shade in winter. What you are describing sounds like a hot dry and perhaps Sunny? situation – quite different again.

    #27324

    Chrissie Ward
    Participant

    The Fatsia japonicas I photographed in Nelson today are planted on the inside walls (painted light terracotta) of a city apartment courtyard, presumably very hot and dry. The flowers were swarming, not just with monarchs but bees (three types), wasps and flies. I would think the plants looked very striking from inside the courtyard (we could only see from the outside what was peeping over the walls), but I am interested in what you think might be better in that situation, Jane?

    #27323

    Jane
    Participant

    OOOOps sorry Jacqui forgot to say Fatsia japonica is fine. The flower looks very similar to Ivy in bud, but is not a noxious weed at all to my knowledge. I have used it in the past in a wgtn garden to fill a shady/dry area. Big palmate leaves – quite nice, but there are usually better things that can be used…Jane

    #27322

    Jane
    Participant

    Thanks for those links too Darren, they are informative. I forgot to say that it also causes sever dermatitis.

    I had Ivy growing on a house I owned in Chch some years ago and it took many years to get rid of it, eventually resorting to boring a large hole in the trunk and pouring diesel into it – the trunk was very wide and attached to a brick support which held up an upstairs porch. I used a crow bar to prise it off at the base, tied a very large rope to it, the other end to our V8 Valiant……….AND……..took the entire pillar down the driveway. THE IVY DIDN”T MOVE!!!!! I had to get in a brickie,to rebuild the porch support. It’s NOT popular with me! MY kids still laugh about this event in their Mum’s gardening calendar!

    Gilly, – I had another house in Lower Hutt with this plant on it….terrible sucker for old houses…….and we just kept trimming it back even though it had engulfed all the fences and the southern side of the loungeroom. Eventually I took it out….3 huge skip-bins full, and I have never seen so many tree wetas at one time, my daughters ran screaming telling me there were 11 in the kitchen at one time., anyway it was a terrific source of nectar for the bees I kept, but far more wasps and blowflies visited than bees…….anyway…I’m not fond of <&@%>^$ IVY!

    #27320

    Gilly
    Participant

    I have a neighbour with this growing in their garden. They keep it trimmed as a shrub and it is a magnet for the bees. I have never seen so many happy bees.

    #27319

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    I, too, had thought of using ivy as a nectar source for insects, particularly butterflies, knowing that it’s a very important source at this sometimes difficult time of the year in the UK. But I soon discovered how invasive it is, and am still trying to irradicate it after quite some time. The bank where I planted it still has a little on it, but peppermint geranium seems to be winning the battle!

    Incidentally, my cousin in the UK who works as a gardener in a huge garden to a “big house”, informs me that with the warmer temperatures ivy is becoming an invasive problem there too, and she’s now having to try to rip it all out. A shame, as its flowers are very useful after many things have finished.

    #27318

    Darren
    Participant

    Ivy certainly is attractive to Admirals, as we discussed in this thread:
    https://www.monarch.org.nz/forum/topic/article-admirals-and-ivy

    But as Jane says, it is either a noxious weed or a “plant of concern” to most regional councils. It is also listed in
    ?Plants in New Zealand Poisonous to Children?
    http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/infosheets/poisonplants/Poisonous_plants_nz.pdf

    #27317

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    No need for apologies, Jane. Beverley’s brother saw it growing somewhere in Wellington (Thorndon) and sent her a photo – so we were just wondering what it was.

    Funnily enough, Chrissie (Nelson) got very excited today when she saw a very similar flower covered with butterflies, but the leaves on the plant she saw was very different and it turns out to be Fatsia japonica. Do you know it? And if you know it, :), tell us about that plant please. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, there’s so much to learn.

    Jacqui

    #27316

    Jane
    Participant

    This is the common ivy (Hedera helix)

    It is a noxious weed. Responsible for strangling many trees and smothering shrubs. Hedera has a palmate leaf until it reaches approx 8ft tall, then produces a different leaf shape at the flowering apex, as is seen here in Baverley’s photos. After flowering Ivy then produces seeds which are spread far and wide by the birds, and the noxious cycle begins again. Ivy is not banned in most places, but it really should be. It is very high in nectar and attracts nectar seeking insects, usually including thousands of wasps, which will then create nests in the branches.

    If you’re after good sources of nectar, it would be better to choose something else. Sorry to sound very negative about it, BUT, I have seen what it does in our native bush, and to houses buildings etc.,

    Jane

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