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Caterpillars

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Caterpillars

Post  lbmcse on 7/29/2014, 8:15 pm

So after 2 seasons of failing in my attempts to sow Passiflora Incarnata (Passionflower) from seed, I finally have (had) 3 passionflower plants in my backyard, growing like absolute WEEDS, until the caterpillar that loves this plant, moved in. 

First came the caterpillars, then the butterflies (which are staggeringly beautiful), which lay eggs on the leaves, and before I know it, these voracious crawlers have succeeded in defoliating more than 90% of the plants within a week's time.   

So I have made it a routine to pluck them off daily, but honestly, for every one I pluck, another two show up. 

It's been such a tough road germinating these amazing plants, and now I'm losing them despite daily efforts to save them. 

I'm posting this on the off-chance that one or two of you may have experienced this pest on this plant and learned to nip it in the bud, so to speak.

Do I have any hope?
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Caterpillars

Post  svanahgirl129 on 7/29/2014, 8:39 pm

When I was a kid and we lived in Central Florida they used to grow wild.  Maypops we called them, very pretty flower. I never remembered any caterpillars on them. What does it look like, the caterpillar?  Will they grow back once the little buggars have gone into hibernation? I had caterpillars on my parsley and they ate it all but it grew back and looked better than ever. Don't know about this plant though.
Any other Florida person have this problem?
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  sanderson on 7/29/2014, 9:08 pm

Have you tried Bacillus thuringiensi (BT)?
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  jimmy cee on 7/30/2014, 10:42 pm

Surround..(kaolin clay) should keep them off.
I am going to experiment with a liquid solution of diotomacious earth also.
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  Pollinator on 7/30/2014, 11:31 pm

Ours Passiflora vines get defoliated about every other year, and it doesn't faze them a bit. Once they are established, it's near impossible to get rid of them.

BTW, the reason we originally planted them was for the Fritillary butterfly larvae. Since then, I've discovered the fruit is delicious.
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  lbmcse on 7/31/2014, 8:50 am

@svanahgirl129 wrote:When I was a kid and we lived in Central Florida they used to grow wild.  Maypops we called them, very pretty flower. I never remembered any caterpillars on them. What does it look like, the caterpillar?  Will they grow back once the little buggars have gone into hibernation? I had caterpillars on my parsley and they ate it all but it grew back and looked better than ever. Don't know about this plant though.
Any other Florida person have this problem?

Yup, maypops they're called too.  Will it grow back?  I suppose, if there's enough foliage to support the roots, but my plants are about 18" high, and are primarily stems--being the leaves have been obliterated by the caterpillars.  There are now enough butterflies generated by caterpillars so that supply and demand is working in favor of the pests.   

Here's the caterpillar, followed by the butterfly. 



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Re: Caterpillars

Post  lbmcse on 7/31/2014, 8:51 am

@sanderson wrote:Have you tried Bacillus thuringiensi (BT)?

No sanderson, I have not.  I'll look for it.  Thank you.  Smile
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  dstack on 7/31/2014, 8:55 am

That's the same thing as passion fruit. Right? I've been growing some for the first time and I use BT, as Sanderson mentioned earlier. I'll be planting them in one of the boxes soon with a trellis.
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  lbmcse on 7/31/2014, 8:57 am

@Pollinator wrote:Ours Passiflora vines get defoliated about every other year, and it doesn't faze them a bit. Once they are established, it's near impossible to get rid of them.

BTW, the reason we originally planted them was for the Fritillary butterfly larvae. Since then, I've discovered the fruit is delicious.

Mine are not yet quite established.  I planted mine to make tincture from the plant.  I occasionally use this, along with Valeriana officinalis; as I'm an insomniac.
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  lbmcse on 7/31/2014, 8:58 am

@jimmy cee wrote:Surround..(kaolin clay) should keep them off.
I am going to experiment with a liquid solution of diotomacious earth also.

Thanks, jimmy cee.  I'll look into this too.
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Re: Caterpillars

Post  lbmcse on 7/31/2014, 8:59 am

@dstack wrote:That's the same thing as passion fruit. Right? I've been growing some for the first time and I use BT, as Sanderson mentioned earlier. I'll be planting them in one of the boxes soon with a trellis.

That's correct.  Passionfruit, passionflower, passiflora incarnate.  All the same animal.  (or plant. .. )  Smile
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