The swan plant:monarch imbalance in 2015-6

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #45339

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    If you were reading our Spring magazine which went out to financial members you will know of the problem caused by one of the country’s leading swan plant growers impending retirement and thus 81,000 swan plants NOT being grown this spring-summer.

    So what can you do? Please add to this thread with some ideas to create more food for monarchs.

    1. Make sure all of your seedlings are protected from snails and slugs. If you are anticipating seedlings to sprout up from self-sown seed, then put a plan in action.

    Two ways you can control slugs and snails without using pesticide is to look for them at night, when they’ll be active, and to put out items which will provide “sanctuary” for snails/slugs in the day. They love to hide in cardboard – so tear up cardboard and leave it in places where they are likely to shelter.

    2. If you are good at growing seedlings and have a warm, sheltered place, plenty of seedling trays, and have access to lots of swan plant seed, sow it very densely so the seeds come up like a lawn. Instead of pricking them out after three-four weeks you can put the caterpillars on the seedling “lawn” to graze. When they’ve left just the “stumps”, move the caterpillars on to plants or another tray of seedlings. Some of those original seedlings will continue to grow and can be pricked out.

    Do you have your own ideas on how we can grow more food for monarchs? Please add them to this thread – and encourage friends with “wild” plants growing in the wrong place to let the caterpillars eat them down before they’re removed.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #45654

    Caryl
    Participant

    Thank you so much for the seeds. I am overwhelmed with the number you so generously gave me. Many, many thanks! Caryl

    #45502

    Caryl
    Participant

    Thank you so much Carl for your kind offer. A self addressed envelope on its way to you tomorrow. Really appreciate this. Caryl

    #45501

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Here’s another idea… I had a tray of seedlings, about 5cm high (looked like grass lawn) and let the monarchs munch them down, now got them under the mosquito net with fertiliser and water and will regrow them.

    The cuttings I started 21/10 (see below) are looking good too.

    Some of the taller plants that have been munched now are coming out of the butterfly house and will be fertilised and watered well and should resprout.

    #45441

    carlwatson
    Participant

    I have plenty of swan plant seeds to give away, just send me a S.A.E. and I’ll fill it with seeds free.
    C Watson, 41 Eastbank Road,R.D.3. Whakatane 9193.

    #45364

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Also, regarding slugs and snails, check places they could hide… I found quite a few sheltering around the bottom of pots and – clever little devils – inside a cavity on the fence. So in the second case they wouldn’t have found the slug bait because they could just travel down the leaves that were touching the fence.

    #45352

    Dane Keriboi Hawker
    Participant

    Try get some decent water. I tried and failed but I think it was because I used auckland townsupply water.

    #45349

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    I’ve been thinking of carrying out an experiment, and maybe some of you others might like to do this too… Swan plant is very easy to grow from cuttings so I’m going to sacrifice one of my 2 metre tall plants that is just stem with a few leaves at the top, and cut it into a lot of cuttings, each about 10cm long.

    And then I’ll put them into water (with willow to encourage rooting) and after a few days will pot these up and see what happens. If all cuttings sprout leaves it will feed a lot more caterpillars than one 2 metre plant.

    #45342

    Jacqui
    Moderator
Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.