swan plants dark leaves

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  • #13247

    belong
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    most of my swan plants have wintered well. Some have dark red/brown leaves, will the monarchs lay on these and will the cats feed on them? Hope to see some butterflies soon if the weather gets warmer.

Viewing 13 replies - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #18504

    Swansong
    Participant

    Sounds great margie! Looks like youve got it pretty well sussed. Yeah, swan plants WILL be likely to do a dark on you if you make them stay in the same pot another year Ive found. No likee. Unfortunately most plants are like this. I learnt the hard way that the worst pots possible are the unglazed terricotas. Things dry out in 2 ups.

    Im faced with seeing what I have to re-pot coz I surely will need some as backups.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18503

    margie
    Participant

    Hi Swangsong, you are right the less they are handled the better. I have been feeding mine for the last few months only once a week and they are fine. I have my new swan plants arriving from Christchurch today and I am told that the large ones are about a mt tall so that is a really good start. Am going to plant 4 of them in the butterfly house and let the butterflies go in there for a couple of weeks they can fly around and I will put fresh flowers in there and there trays of nectar and keep a close eye on them to make sure they are feeding. If they are ready they will lay there eggs on the swan plants. I have just checked the sick plants and about 5 of my large ones have the start of new growth and the small ones that were seedlings last year have more groth on them than the older plants so not all is lost. The small plants are all in the garden and the large ones are in pots so that may have something to do with it.
    The plants I am putting in the butterfly house will do really well and grow fast as the soil has had sheep manure on in it a couple of years ago and has had pea straw composted down for the last 5 years so it is very rich. Will keep you post as to how it all goes cause as you say it is a learning curve. 🙂 🙂
    Cheers Margie

    #18502

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Margie, some of my females have had VERY fat tummies too, and I just put it down to filling up on my honey and water. When I 1st put them out to feed, they ahve sometimes been quite slim, and lo and behold I go back about a 1/2 hour later and theyre as plump as….yet some other females dont tend to eat as much. Dont know why this is. I have a male that is a proper hawg for the tucker, and the other one not so much. Because I only have 7 its easier to keep track of whos who, so I know who gets fat on a regular basis (heh heh).

    “I lost one a couple os weeks ago that was so fat in the tummy she was heavy to lift up.”
    Thats sounds wierd Margie… Ive never had a fat one go on me, so Im not sure what that couldve been.

    Now have you actually seen any of your fat females pair up with the boys? I think its a good question about the eggs because I had one of my fatties pair up and I said that will be enough of that thankyou! If they mate, I think the case is they come out of diapause and then they only live for so long, like in the breeding season. I managed to get them apart, and they promptly went to a cooler part of the house. (I bring them into a warmer room to feed) That was a while back and so far so good. Whether she had eggs inside her I dont know, but she sure acted like she did… e.g. curving her abdomen inwards like she was trying to lay but nothing was forthcoming.

    Over the winter its been a learning curve for me as I havent kept the butterflies before. Ive come to the conclusion that I lost my other 2 because the room I had them in was a little too cold for too long, and I made the mistake of not feeding them enough, in the hopes of not disturbing them too much. The trick is to get the balance right between these two things. What Ive found which isnt nice at all, is that if they are confined and get too excited coz the temps are too warm, they end up doing harm to themselves. One thing that really upsets me is they tend to wear their front legs out…meaning they actually lose their little claws. : ( … Definitely the trick is to keep them as quiet as possible. I try to aim to feed not less than twice a week. Every second day is too often I think.

    HTHs
    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18501

    margie
    Participant

    Cheers Swangsong I have managed to get some swan plants thanks to Jacqui. There are plenty in Christchurch I phoned them today and the large plants are $6.95 ( he didn’t tell me when I asked how tall they were) and the little ones are $1.50 so have managed to find someone going to Christchurch so that will be a great help I am going to get 5 large ones at this stage and 6 small ones this will get me started until my seedlings are ready and I will also get some locally when they are in the shops.
    Have also managed to buy quite a lot of curtain netting to cover the plants this year to keep out wasps.
    As for my plants, I have pruned them but the brown on the main trunks is the stem rotting because if I rub it firmly it slides off the stem exposing a slimy soft stem underneath, so I am not holding out much hope for them. There are a few that don’t look as bad as yet but there is no new growth so far on any of the plants.
    I am looking forward to the season again.
    Some of my female butterflies are getting very fat tummies comparfed to the males do you know what is the reason for that. Is it because they are full of eggs or is there something wrong with them.I lost one a couple os weeks ago that was so fat in the tummy she was heavy to lift up.
    Glad to hear from you hope you have a great butterfly season.
    Cheers Margie

    #18500

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi margie nice to see you back too. Hope you had a nice OZ break. WOW! 38 butterflies still. Thats great going.

    No this winter hasnt been too good at all, has it. I think the real killer has been that hail. It really knocks the plants around. We had a couple of lots here but not anywhere near as bad as some got. I went out and checked my poor old scrawny plants and saw some white latex here and there where leaves had been torn off. Had some stiff frosts too. Just yesterday went out and squished yet 3 more little clusters of aphids can you believe it : / …gosh they dont give up do they. Im telling all my ladybirds parked up on my nets theyre slacking on the job!.

    All in all though, my plants are faring better than I thought they would. Amazingly, ones that have had NO leaves on at all are actually just sprouting some now. This has never happened before. Any plant that was stripped in the autumn, typically did NOT make it through the winter, so you never know eh?. I’m really sorry to hear yours arent going good. Thats disheartening and especially when you put all the effort in to cover them and such.

    Is there any green growth on them at all, and if so are those leaves dryish looking or shrivelling up in any way? Mmmm the brown stems though doesnt sound hopefull at all. Ive got some like that where 1/2 the plant looks OK and the other 1/2 is on the way out. Me thinks I might try just pruning off the brown bits (but into the green a bit)and see if that helps, or stems the rot if thats what it is.

    Thankfully because of how Im situated graphically, I have more time than in town B4 the butterflies let loose on me. The plants get a good chance to get going and I MUST I MUST I MUST not weaken and let them lay too soon (which is likely to happen if Im hanging out to see my pillars. : ))

    Swansong

    #18499

    margie
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui, Many thanks for that I will get on to that tomorrow would love to have some plants here for my butterflies to lay their eggs on when I let them go.I Have not been on the net myself for quite some time, had a lovely trip to Australia and from what I read on this forum you have been away to. Hope you had a great time.
    Cheers Margie

    #18498

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Margie

    Isn’t it good to see people dropping by here again! It’s like… SPRING IS HERE! hehe

    Margie – I got an email from someone in Chch today who told me of a really good place to get plants from, so if you know of anyone going up there:

    “Bought the plants from Ouruhia Nurseries, Marshlands Road Chch, phone 03-3238588. Plants are only small at mo, but sturdy, have got them covered. They did have larger ones tho, try them, they are a fantastic little nursery.”

    Hope this is helpful!

    #18497

    margie
    Participant

    Hi Swangsong,
    Lovely to hear from you and I hope you have wintered well and all rested up ready for a busy butterfly season. I still have about 38 butterflies that I have been feeding over the winter. The butterfly house is all but completed just a few minor things to do this weekend and then I will take the butterflies out there for another couple of weeks as there is not a lot of nectar feed in the gardens down here yet so am a bit reluctant to set them free yet until I am sure there is enough feed for them. I am rather gutted about my swan plants they have not wintered well despite being covered for the winter we have had some real hard frosts and more rain than we needed. All of them are turning brown down the stems which in time just rots so I think I will have to scrap them all. This is the worst they have been at this time of the year. My seedlings are very slow as well so I have no plants to offer my butterflies when I do release them.:( The shops around here say they won’t have plants in stock till mid October. Have seen Monarchs flying around Ashburton in the last few days it is so great to see them. My nettle plants are doing really well though so that is at least something positive.
    Cheers Margie

    #18489

    Gilly
    Participant

    Oh I remember that photo too Swansong…. lovely time of the year with the birds courting and building nests etc…. and quite a few monarchs floating about Russell too….long may this nice weather last please – don’t want any strong winds to blow the nestlings about 🙂

    #18485

    Swansong
    Participant

    Gill, the 5 little fishers… well in actual fact it was a link off of your webpage “Bird recovery center”. I followed the link and clicked on pictures…and they were still up on the site…… but theyre further down in the thumbnail list now. I often wonder how they are doing, especially the one in the middle! (my heart goes out to him) I wonder how long ago the photo was taken. I see other new Kingfisher photos there too. Lovely!

    Swansong

    #18484

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Gill….nice to “see” you again! yep its me that love fishers alright! Hey thats neat that you could get a close look coz though theyre fearless birds, nevertheless, theyre hard to get close to : (((( . I NEVER get sick of seeing ‘fishers and NEVER see enough and Im ALWAYS moaning about it, and in the process driving my hubby and everyone else nuts, but my hubby loves them too! Dunno what it is about them, but theyre are just sooooo neat. Their green feathers are stunning. I followed a link from here somewhere to a NZ website that showed various pictures and I think the 1st thumbnail was 5 little kingfishers in a row, that obviously they were helping out. Consequently they have been on my desktop since. What gorgeous little fellows they are. I think my biggest desire where birds are concerned would be to get VERY close to a Kingfisher and DEFINITELY to pat one : ) Ooooh yeah! One day hooopefully.

    At the moment we have a resident thrush and she has 2 babies just hatched in my Jasmine. I worry every year because something gets the 1st lot of babies and it sure brasses me off. This is both blackbirds and thrushes. I’ve racked my brains trying to think of something I can do without upsetting the mums. I dont know whether its stoats or cats or what. Last year mumma BB used her brains and did a nest in our hedge which is as dense as. It was great. Really safe and nothing got them!!! We are really hoping she builds her nest again in there (1st off though). The signs are all on thats she ready to do her thing. She now has a white dot on the back of her head, (hopefully a sign of wisdom :] )

    On the butterfly front, I still have my 7, 2 boys and 5 girls, that Ive kept here over winter. Originally had 9 but lost 2. I have REALLY enjoyed having them and get lotsa laughs. Im looking to release them soon, but will take them into town at the appropriate time. I want my plant stock to get a good start before any butterflies pay me a visit. Ive been finding a few aphids here and there right through the winter, on and off. Even through some good stiff frost : /. Ive lost a few plants but like belong, most have survived.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18483

    Gilly
    Participant

    ‘ello Swansong.. long time no see! I thought of you the other day… it was you who loved Kingfishers wasn’t it? I had two sitting on my fence quite close… 🙂

    #18482

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi belong…. I have the same. I think this is just normal and certainly Ive experienced this pretty much every year that Ive been doing this. Some plants tend to have more of a propensity to do this than others for some reason. I think also that the more off-coloured leaves the plant has, the more likely it will turn its toes up. If there is at least some green growth like at the top, it should “bounce back” soon when the warmer weather comes. We’re not QUITE outa the woods yet though and can still get some cold snaps. My plants (in general) are still very “backed off” though there is a tiny bit of slow growth. I just looked at your member link and see your in Canterbury, which would explain it, as I think this happens more so in colder climates. The pillars will generally go for the greener fresher leaves Ive found, though if theyre hard pushed theyll eat those other leaves for sure. Ive seen pillars eat yellow leaves when there has been a ready supply of greenery close by, so u can never tell what a pillar might do : ).

    Swansong

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