nettles

This topic contains 33 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Barry 2 years, 5 months ago.

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    Topic
  • #48356

    kopje
    Participant

    Hi all first post so patience pls.I have the privledge of working for Peter yealands in seddon and will have an area (outdoor and open air) ready for nettles in a month or so. I am assuming I will need an established plantation before eggs/caterpillars are introduced- my question therefore would be the right combination of nettles to support both yellow and red adrimals-is this possible in 1 location? Also where can the right nettles be purchased? I have a possible contact in Motuaka for reds eggs but yellows? Thanx.

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 33 total)
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  • #49273

    Barry
    Participant

    Flutterby.
    Ph 0223140100 and get some from me at Shirley.
    Barry P.

    #49272

    Flutterby48
    Participant

    Richard do you know of any nettles around Christchurch wild or in gardens where I could take a few cuttings to feed my 5 admirals? Thanks Jeanette

    #49133

    Flutterby48
    Participant

    Thanks Barry, very excited in fact stopped in my tracks I was to see a yellow on my biggest healthiest plant just recently 😃

    #49108

    Barry
    Participant

    Great going. Flutterby.
    My first crop of nettles is now past, and I have not yet seen any Admiral Cats, despite settling butterflies here in Shirley.
    Barry P..

    #49103

    Flutterby48
    Participant

    I had only previously raised Monarchs but have been lucky to have quite a few clumps of nettles come up randomly in my garden! Imagine my excitement last year when I spotted tents! I cut the relevant stalks/leaves along with extra and kept them in water indoors in my castles. All of them but one were released successfully to my delight, yellows and one red ☺ The nettles are looking good again this year so hopefully we’ll get a repeat performance this year!

    #49084

    Barry
    Participant

    Thank you, Norm
    One of my observations is that there are no caterpillars after a couple of weeks, so my conclusion was no eggs laid, or eggs died early..
    Perhaps it was parents scouting the location for homes for future children?
    Hmmmm!

    #49081

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Hi Barry, if the admirals have settled on your nettles it would be a fair bet they have left eggs, but difficult to see. Much smaller than monarch eggs, and green. If you use a magnifying glass you may spot them, sometimes on a stinging hair or on the underside of the leaf. Once the eggs hatch the tiny larvae are at the mercy of hungry ants, praying mantids, wasps, and when larger the birds love them also.

    #49080

    Barry
    Participant

    Sorry Richard, No.
    Despite seeing many admirals settling on my nettles, I have not seen any eggs.
    I have some really large, succulent nettles, but no animal life.
    {BEP}.

    #49078

    Richard Rowe
    Participant

    Hi Barry

    I checked our nettle by the Linwood Ave drain. We have a few bushes doing well. Do you eggs to give away at the moment

    Cheers

    Richard

    #49039

    Mothchelle
    Participant

    Okay folks, that fills in a lot of holes in my knowledge, thanks. Pots it is. I have just acquired two ‘Southern nettles’ which are 1-2 years old, but it sounds like I would benefit from having a supply of the common nettle to keep up with demand. I will acquire seeds 🙂 Something else is coming to my attention – some of what I have read tends to suggest that the common practice is to put the caterpillars under cover as they start to pupate to keep them away from wasps, but I was of the understanding that the wasps can infest the caterpillars at any stage. Are people finding that the caterpillars are more attractive at a later stage?

    #49028

    Weimom
    Participant

    Hi Michelle
    I grow my nettles in pots, as it means I can have the cats under cover out of reach of predators. Barry is right, the plants have a short life span, but will get quite big & with lots of leaves if they get plenty of water & some type of animal manure. I have some plants in my vegie garden, which is where the admirals lay their eggs & I get my seedlings from there to put into pots. Once I notice the ‘tents’ on my outside plants, I cut the leaf or branch that has the cat & put it on a plant under cover.

    Good luck!
    Wendy

    #49021

    Barry
    Participant

    Michelle, Hi.
    . . Urtica Urens, our familiar ‘farm-yard’ weed is a prolific seeder but has a short life of only 120 days or so. I have spring germinations that are maturing now and will be gone by Christmas. The seeds get everywhere and three mature crops in NZ are typical. They will survive the winter but not grow (in Christchurch) but any of autumn’s seeds will germinate as soon as possible in the spring. The nettle will flourish in many soil types and environmental conditions of sun, shade, damp, dry etc. with appropriate life & maturing states.
    You will need 3 or 4 pots (or more) seeded or planted monthly in order to assure a continuing fresh supply of nettles. They grow quite profusely big & bushy in warm moist soil.

    Nettles grow straggly & unsightly, strong & woody in order to disperse their seeds. As Admiral cats do not have a sense for tomorrow’s meals, the nettles will suffer even more.
    As for being in pots, nettles have a massive ability to grab at the soil and the more fibrous, composty the better. I think they have tap-root style but enjoy old lawn clippings. My healthiest, most vigorous nettles are in old lawn clippings spread on garden soil. For pots, fibrous compost with equal parts of regular soil and that’s it, for nettles. When most vigorous, nettles transpire a lot of water, so drying out in pots will not enhance their butterfly value.
    Pots for the nettles sounds like a good for being able to protect easily the Admiral cats against birds and wasps.
    Barry P. Christchurch.

    #49020

    Barry
    Participant

    Michelle, hi.
    The nettle (our ‘farm yard’ type) will flourish in many soil types and environmental conditions of sun, shade, damp, dry etc. with appropriate life & maturing states.
    You will need 3 or 4 pots (or more) seeded or planted monthly in order to assure a continuing fresh supply of nettles.
    Barry P.

    #49019

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Michelle – have you been to the butterfly garden in Apollo Park, Milson? You should – amazing place, and I think you’d get some great ideas from what they’ve done there.

    Hope that helps!

    Jacqui

    #49015

    Mothchelle
    Participant

    Hi to the group,
    I am just starting a deliberate butterfly garden (in the past I have accepted what nature supplied) and one of my biggest concerns is having enough host plants. My garden area is only about 2m square, so having room for hosts and nectar plants is proving challenging. I have just read that nettles can be grown in hanging baskets. If I do this in my location, the nettles will have almost full all-day sun. Can they deal with this?
    Michelle, Palmerston North

    #48694

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Interesting article:

    Life and death among the nettles

    #48560

    kopje
    Participant

    Hi all just a quick update,but first thanx Barry for nettles and cats. I have approx 100 sq m planted out in u.uren with existing cabbage trees bay trees kowhai wiri hebes ngaios growing in and around the patch,can’t wait for a result!

    #48412

    Terry
    Moderator

    Urtica Urens is also widespread in the UK and I have seen it take over whole fields left fallow for a couple of years. However it is much easier to deal with than Urtica Dioica as herbicides kill the whole plant and the seed, as it is an annual. We also tend to see Urtica Urens in more open and sandy/poor soils than Urtica Dioica which is far more difficult to get rid of as the herbicide has to penetrate the root system as well.

    #48410

    Barry
    Participant

    I suspect that Britain’s U. Dioica are not as attention grabbing as our U. Urens. I have photos of a garden carpet. The plant is super highly prolific and gets everywhere. And as our city folk in general do not have to live with the weed as do the rural folk. Schools & child-care centres, Public parks & waterways, are places where it is undesirable for them to appear since our urban education ignores this aspect of understanding our ecology. See < http://www.eattheweeds.com/urtica-chamaedryoides-nettle-knowledge-2/ > “” From the nutrition point of view, they pack a wallop as well. Stinging Nettles are rich in vitamins A, C, D, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. They are also high in protein and when cooked are very mild, tasting similar to spinach but slightly rougher.”” Also see < http://www.wildhealthfood.com/the-benefits-of-eating-nettles >. I suspect this is why horse poo is a natural nursery for nettles – horses eat it for its nutrients!
    Barry P.

    #48407

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi Barry,

    That’s right nettles are seen as inoffensive in the UK due to the fact that they are absolutely everywhere. Farmers just accept this fact and control them where necessary. The problem in New Zealand is that the Agriculture lobby is huge and therefore they use propaganda/scare tactics to help ensure nettles have a negative image in the minds of the public ensuring they also eradicate nettles on sight. We have regular scare stories in the media ranging from Harlequin ladybirds to varieties of moths that will apparently decimate our trees and nothing bad ever happens in the end. Sensationalism is just part of the armoury used to get what a lobby group wants. I had a good laugh at the story on this site about Schools having to destroy Milkweeds as they are poisonous to children. However nobody seems to realise that no child would ever eat them as the sap is so bitter the amount needed to cause harm could never be ingested. I know this from accidentally putting my fingers in my mouth after handling Asclepius Currasavica. It is the most foul taste ever. I also got sap in my eye but although it stung it washed out easily and no lasting harm was done.

    #48403

    Barry
    Participant

    G’day Terry.
    I noticed while I was in England last May-June the stinging nettle everywhere. Tall, stout, robust, massed weed, but seemingly inoffensive. I took several photos to help me identify the ‘Dioica’ species. In UK, that plant is ‘common’ in real terms.
    I was fascinated by the amount I saw when in the Cotswalds. (Coaley Peak).
    Cheers, Barry P.

    #48402

    Barry
    Participant

    Hi Richard.
    I have replied to your e-mail about Urtica Urens …
    {BEP}.

    #48399

    Richard Rowe
    Participant

    Hi Barry

    I have some dead coucil areas i would love to fill up with nettles for the amdmerials. i will send you an email. Cheers Richard

    #48395

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi Wendy,

    There is a lot of hype over the sting of nettles in NZ. Only Urtica Ferox is a bit nasty. Over here in the UK Urtica Dioica is so common that gardeners and people like myself who gather it for my Yellow Admiral larvae get stung almost every day and after a short while the sting dies down. You get used to the sting just like Bee Keepers get stung so often by the Bees it no longer affects them.
    When I was a child, us kids used to push each other in to nettle beds for a laugh and we lived to tell the tale, so there is little to worry about. I have been stung by Urtica Dioica, Urtica Incisa, Urtica Urens, Urtica Australis and Urtica Ferox. Urtica Ferox was the worst but only from stings on the woody stems the stings on the leaf didn’t seem to hurt as much for some reason.

    #48393

    Weimom
    Participant

    Hi here
    I have previously just had Urtica Incisa and only reared Yellow Admirals. This Autumn I had a late lot of eggs laid on a few seedlings in my vegie garden. I did not have nearly enough feed for them, but thanks to Oratia Nursery in Auckland I have been able to get plants to sustain all the cats in those last few days! I am now a fan of Urtica Australis & hope I can grow it from seed. It has much bigger leaves.

    I have 2 groups of nettles, in pots under Mosquito nets. Last count I have 20 admiral pupae at the top of the nets. Over this past summer I was busy with other things & left it to nature & the predators won!

    I don’t find the nettle sting that bad. It doesn’t often get me as I usually wear gloves, but for me it is no worse than getting a rose thorn in your finger!

    Wendy

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