Milkweed they won't eat

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Jacqui 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #56205

    Millimo
    Participant

    Like many people I am struggling to find food for the caterpillars I have. I found a cluster of very large Swanplants beside one of the local walkways. I did notice the plants were pretty much untouched with no resident caterpillars but thought wasps must be to blame for that. I collected some large branches to take home and keep in water to feed the caterpillars I have, which i have done successfully before. After a couple of days I realised that although they were still alive they were not eating any of the leaves. I have now taken them off but I wondered if anybody else had come across swan plants that the caterpillars would not eat. One of the curious things is that they stayed on the branches while clearly slowly starving to death.

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  • #56259

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Yes, it’s hard to explain. When you cut the stem, as I understand it the latex “seals” the wound, so you need to let the part you’ve cut off take up water. You can do this by cutting upwards into the stem, or hammering the bottom of the stem to “smash” it.

    So, let’s say I’ve cut off a piece – the piece you’re going to put in water. Where you have cut it you need to either break it up (smash it) with a hammer (or similar) or cut up into it with your secateurs, just 1cm or so. That will allow the cut plant to absorb water.

    (It’s the same with dahlias and chrysanthemums, and some other flowering plants – if my explanation doesn’t work, you might be able to google youtube videos or similar.)

    #56258

    connie
    Participant

    what do you mean by “broken the bottom of the stems” jacqui? i have cut some stems off growing plants and put in water

    #56206

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Have you broken the bottom of the stems that are in water ? Is the swan plant they won’t eat in a cool area or shaded ? If you can make sure it is not in full sun that might help The levels of Cardenolides in the same may be different to the plant they have been eating previously Persevere I am sure you will win Good luck !

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