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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Caterpillars I22gcj10Caterpillars 14dhcg10

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Caterpillars

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svanahgirl129
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Post  lbmcse 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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Post  svanahgirl129 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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Post  sanderson 7/29/2014, 9:08 pm

Caterpillars EmptyHave you tried Bacillus thuringiensi (BT)?
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Post  jimmy cee 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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Post  Pollinator 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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Post  lbmcse 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. 

Caterpillars Caterpillar

Caterpillars Butterfly
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Post  lbmcse 7/31/2014, 8:51 am

sanderson wrote:Caterpillars EmptyHave you tried Bacillus thuringiensi (BT)?

No sanderson, I have not.  I'll look for it.  Thank you.  Smile
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Post  dstack 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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Post  lbmcse 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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Post  lbmcse 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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Post  lbmcse 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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