Help needed with swan plants (first time grower)

This topic contains 5 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Jane 5 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #15139

    Anonymous

    Hi everyone,

    I hope I am posting this in the right forum. I am just wondering if anyone can give me some pointers on swan plants. I have 3 that are about 30cm in height.

    I’ve noticed some little orange bugs on one of them in a cluster, and my caterpillars keep disappearing from the plants. I now have two on the biggest plant and none on the other two :-(

    I admit I know next to nothing about gardening however I always loved swan plants when I was a kid (I’m now 24) so I bought some of my own so I could watch the caterpillars grow and attract monarchs.

    Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer me. :-)

    Arcane

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  • #29420

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Arcane,

    I agree with Jacqui that there is no such thing as a dumb question. The net curtain idea is an excellent one. You are keen to see your plants and caterpillar succeed, and that is what counts. Sometimes the wasps come to get the sappy sugary secretions where the aphids have been. You may be able to remove your remaining big caterpillar (it is probably going to leave the plant soon anyway to pupate), and wash the plant with water from the hose. After washing, your biggy can go back on the plant.

    If you end up with no caterpillars, don’t worry too much because your plants will have a chance to get big enough to support many more for next season : ) Keep up the great work

    #29413

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    You’re not incompetent at all, Ben. Here’s a suggestion: go to a local op shop and buy a second-hand net curtain for a few dollars, and cover your plant up with that. Then it can stay outside and the wasps should not be able to find your caterpillars.

    Keep coming back and learning more. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: there is no such thing as a dumb question – that’s how we learn!

    #29409

    Anonymous

    Hi Jacqui and Jane,

    Thank you very much for your replies. I live in Wanganui 🙂 I do not have a lot of money but if someone were able to come and give me some pointers and show me how to care for them properly I would be forever grateful!

    I have just got home again now and one of the smaller caterpillars has disappeared 🙁 The only one that seems to be left now is the really big one.

    I read somewhere that around this time of year wasps feed on them? I went outside before and there were two wasps circling around the plant. I managed to chase them off with a broom (I’m absolutely petrified of wasps!) and when I went to check again one of the wasps had landed on the plant next to the big caterpillar that’s survived.

    For now I have brought the plant inside (it’s in a big pot) because I have no idea how to keep the wasps away. My first instinct was to get the can of fly spray, however I figure that would harm the caterpillar.

    Thanks again for your replies. Sorry for being so incompetent about this! 🙂

    Kind regards

    Ben

    #29407

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi arcane,

    I squish the aphids with my fingers, that way the caterpillars aren’t affected. Good for you for purchasing some swanplants and bringing monarchs into your garden. The upside of not too many caterpillars is that your plants may be able to gain some height, and be more able to sustain more caterpillars next season when they have grown much bigger……keep up the good work and best of luck 🙂

    #29400

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hello Arcane – whereabouts are you? THere may be people here who could give you a few pointers.

    The orange bugs are Oleander aphids. You will find lots of discussion about how to cope with them in here under “aphids” and “pests” if you look at the hot tags to the right. Also under Projects / Pests there’s a fact sheet about them.

    Your caterpillars might be disappearing for a multitude of reasons. Wasps, mice, shining cuckoos are a few predators. See the links to the right too “predators”.

    Just keep watching and hoping. 🙂

    Jacqui

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