Oderings Garden Centres, quality plants, shop for plants, online store

Swan Plant

 

Gardening, Guide, swan plant, monarch butterfly, caterpillar

The swan plant is a member of the milkweed family and is botanically known as Asclepias. The swan plant is a frost-tender perennial, but most people treat them as an annual and replace them each season. Swan plants are a fascination for young and old. They are an attractive bush, but their swan-like seedpods create so much interest. The caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly vigorously eat swan plants, so it is a good idea to have several plants otherwise, they will become quickly decimated. Other than aphids, the swan plant is poisonous to all insects. Did you know Monarch caterpillars are also poisonous to predators such as birds?
Plant these trouble-free plants in a well-drained sunny spot.

 

 

Pests 

If you have problems with aphids attacking the swan plant while there are caterpillars, there are no chemicals or safe sprays that can be used without also killing the caterpillars. The best way to get rid of the aphids is to use the finger and thumb technique and squash them (gross, I know, but it is the safest way of not killing the caterpillars). If you feel you need to use chemicals to control the aphids, you will need to remove all of the caterpillars from the plants and check if there are no further eggs on the leaves. Spray with a product with a low withholding period and leave the caterpillars off the plant until this time has lapsed (if you don’t do this, you WILL kill the caterpillars). If you have to spray, use Mavrik or Eco-Oil.     

 

The Caterpillar 

Gardening, Guide, swan plant, monarch butterfly, caterpillar

The Caterpillar can take up to three weeks to reach its full size and start forming its chrysalis, and they can be left in this position taking 14 to 21 days to emerge into a monarch butterfly.

 

The Butterfly Emerges

Gardening, Guide, swan plant, monarch butterfly, caterpillar

This is perhaps the most exciting part of raising butterflies but it happens very quickly, so it can easily be missed. Once the butterfly emerges, it will usually hang from its empty chrysalis to dry and harden its wings.

 

Ready to Fly

Gardening, Guide, swan plant, monarch butterfly, caterpillar

After about two hours of drying its wings, the Monarch Butterfly will be ready to make its first flight. The warmer the weather, the more chance the butterfly has of surviving. The female monarch will lay her eggs on the underside of the swan plant leaves. It takes 4-10 days for the eggs to hatch into the baby caterpillar to start the cycle again.

 

Gardening, Guide, swan plant, monarch butterfly, caterpillar

 

Monarch Health

The global population of monarchs has declined by 80% over the past two decades. To grow swan plants in commercial quantities, many growers use pesticides to protect the plants from pests such as aphids. Monarch caterpillars can then die because these pesticides are still present when your Monarch caterpillars begin feasting on the swan plants you've planted. 
Oderings have been working with The Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust to help you plant for butterflies. With this, we can proudly display their' approved by butterflies' sign, as seen above, in stores. Store staff will also be able to better help you with the best ways of getting the most out of your swan plants and how to plant appropriately for monarch butterflies. They will also be aware of the most appropriate plants in the store to provide nectar for monarchs.

Visit The Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust here for more information and tips.


 

 

0 Comments
Login or Register to post comments

Oderings Garden Centres

LOCATIONS

CHRISTCHURCH

Barrington

Philpotts Rd

Cashmere

Linwood

Yaldhurst

NORTH ISLAND

Napier (Temporarily closed due to flood damage)

Havelock North

Palmerston North

 

SEARCH

OPENING HOURS

Christchurch

8am - 5pm, 7 days

 

Palmerston North / Havelock North / Napier

8am - 5pm, 7 days

 

  

 

Oderings Garden Centres

LOCATIONS

 

SEARCH

 

OPENING HOURS

Christchurch

8am - 5pm, 7 days

 

Palmerston North / Havelock North / Napier

8am - 5pm, 7 days

 

  

 

Christchurch Website Development