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Old 07-05-2011, 09:11 PM   #11
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I started Common Milkweed from seeds in yogurt cups under shop lights. They were spindly little things that I planted a little deeper hoping that if it works with Tomatoes it will work with the Milkweed. Pretty rich glacial clay that drains well. You'll have good results treating them just like Tomatoes. Of course they aren't going to flower this year and are still putting down roots and while they are less than a foot tall today I saw the first Caterpillar about 2 inches long. So in less than 6 weeks the Cats went from egg to mature Cat. I saw it on the Sidewalk and assumed it was looking for somewhere to Morph so I picked it up with a small piece of wood and moved it to the pussy willows figuring that was safer than the sidewalk. Always use a stick to move Monarch Cats because as soon as they are touched they extend two tubes full of nasty that will stain your hands and might burn for a little while. At this rate I'm hoping for 2 cycles this year.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:34 AM   #12
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I have tons of swamp milkweed (maybe not literally - quite), but I still have never seen a monarch cat! I've seen plenty of adults flying around; the first one of the season was about a week ago. Not sure what the problem is, but my best guess is that the European paper wasps, which are very abundant here, eat the eggs or kill the cats.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amelanchier View Post
I have tons of swamp milkweed (maybe not literally - quite), but I still have never seen a monarch cat! I've seen plenty of adults flying around; the first one of the season was about a week ago. Not sure what the problem is, but my best guess is that the European paper wasps, which are very abundant here, eat the eggs or kill the cats.
I'm curious that if that is the reason, would it not justify artificially raising monarchs in protected conditions such as netting or even placement of the eggs in jars and raising them away from the dangers of the aliens?

Was not a somewhat similar solution practiced (and continued) with the declining bluebird problem. We built them houses, artificially protected them from the transgressing alien species, and even often supplied them with an artificial food source when we purchased mealworms for them?
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:20 AM   #14
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Dapjwy, my happiest incarnata (three of them!) are growing in partial shade in an area with pine root competition, so one never knows about an individual plant. I've put some in an area with decent soil that gets more water, so we'll see how they do.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:21 AM   #15
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Sprucetree, thanks for the tip about caterpillar-wrangling.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:03 AM   #16
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I also haven't noticed any monarch eggs or cats on any of the three species of milkweed we have this year yet. On the other hand I've only seen a few adults flying around. This spring I added over a dozen swamp milkweeds. I had many cats on just the three I had last year so I wanted to keep them happy. It wasn't until late fall that they started showing up so maybe that will happen again this year.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:51 AM   #17
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Dapjwy, my happiest incarnata (three of them!) are growing in partial shade in an area with pine root competition, so one never knows about an individual plant.
Great to hear, Rebek.

Mine seem happy where I placed them...and, eventually if I get the lower pond dug some day (as well as the upper streambed tubs), they will look great as part of the backdrop to the pond. I think of them being in full sun where they are, but the probably get a good bit of dappled shade as well.
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