How To Keep Caterpillars Off Passion Vine
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As spring rolls around, many plants show their true colors. Some plants have vibrant leaves or flowers, while others are dormant and can be seen under a layer of soil. Others are not!
A few months ago, I noticed some interesting green foliage on my passion vine plant. It was early March when I first spotted it, so I didn’t think too much of it.
But as time went on, the green growth got longer and thicker, almost resembling a small snake coming out of the ground.
It took me several days to notice what was happening because I work full-time and sleep is very limited in nature. So after work one night, I decided to take a closer look at my passion vine. When I did, I could see that the whole plant had been overtaken by caterpillars!
I don't know about you, but I find this kind of action disturbing. I feel like they are trying to eat his beautiful leaves!
Luckily, I was able to get rid of all of them before anything really bad happened.
Make a compost pile
While most carnivorous plants need meat to survive, one plant will not! The passion vine does not. It gets its food from decaying matter such as fruits or vegetables that have gone rotten.
When you make a compost bin, remember that it should be easily accessible so that you can add new materials in and check if there is an adequate amount of moisture and nutrients.
Never throw hot material into your compost or leftover foods may burn and then explode! This would only spread hazardous waste around and possibly harm nearby vegetation or even water.
A good ratio for a young composter like yourself is 1 part dried leaves, twigs and grasses to 2 parts fresh green materials. Add these materials slowly so that they do not get mixed together and lose their individual strength.
Keep an eye on your compost for any smoke, burning smells, or signs of exploding gases. If you notice anything suspicious, stop adding new ingredients and start breaking down the already-made compost away.
Create a compost tea
Composting is an excellent way to keep your garden lush and beautiful! It’s also great for keeping caterpillars off of your plants.
One of the things that can quickly deplete the soil of nutrients is excessive use of fertilizer. When lots of plants are using up these nutrients, then nothing grows well- most noticeably in hungry roots.
This can be very frustrating if you want to grow new plants or even just start new seeds!
Fortunately, there are many ways to get extra minerals back into your soil. The best method depends on what type of plant you want to grow and how much available nutrition they need.
Making your own compost tea is one of the best ways to do this. A compost tea is simply fresh organic matter mixed with some water and allowed to settle and decompose.
The decomposed materials are called “soil conditioners” because of their ability to improve the health of soil. Many people add greens such as spinach to their teas to give it additional nutritional value.
Once all the sediment has settled, the liquid below is the tea. You can drink the tea directly or apply it to your plants. Most recipes call for around two tablespoons of dried tea per quart of watering solution.
Encourage natural predators
Many birds, reptiles, and insects enjoy eating caterpillars as an important part of their diet. Some even eat many species at once!
Many carnivorous creatures prefer to ingest mostly meat that has dried up or been frozen so it can’t poison them. As such, when you see a caterpillar that seems hungry, try offering it some dried milk instead.
Dried milk is almost pure fat, which makes it very tasty for most animals. It may also be the only source of food available since it will keep indefinitely without going bad.
Never give a caterpillar anything green unless it has already consumed its own body weight in leaves, otherwise it could choke on it. Plants are its main source of nutrition so it needs these to survive.
Once it eats enough greens, it may decide to transform into a pupal stage where it grows thicker shells to protect itself until it becomes a moth or butterfly.
In order to keep caterpillers off of your passion vine, use pesticides wisely! There are several types of pesticides that can be used to prevent this from happening.
Some examples of these include rotenone, copper sulphate, pyrethrum, spinosyns, and hydrogen peroxide. All of these work by interfering with the food source the caterpillar needs to survive.
Hydrogen peroxide is usually the most effective type of pesticide because it only works when exposed to acid or alkaline conditions. This means that you have to make sure there are no leftover drops of vinegar after cleaning your plant!
Rotenone and copper sulfate are typically not harmful unless too much is consumed. However, both can cause serious health issues if enough is ingested.
Your could also try covering the plants with tarp or paper to limit their exposure to sunlight.
Create a habitat
Many people create special environments for plants that require frequent water, light, or both. For example, most people give their green thumbs a good soaking every few days!
Caterpillars need regular access to moisture and sunlight to survive. Because passion vines grow along fences and walls, they often do not receive these needs.
To help prevent your caterpillar from eating too much of its surrounding area, pot them up in a small container with an appropriate amount of soil. Make sure to check on the plant daily to make sure it is breathing properly.
And don’t forget to enjoy watching the vine climb! It may be beautiful to behold.
Use natural pesticides
The best way to prevent passion vine is by using natural, non-toxic plants or recipes to eliminate the vines. Using tomato products such as powder or juice can help reduce plant growth.
Thyme is an excellent source of thymol, which has strong antimicrobial properties. You can make a spray by mixing one tablespoon of dried thyme with one cup of water and letting it sit for one hour before use.
You can also soak the plants in a solution of white vinegar for several hours until the roots are completely washed away. If necessary, repeat this process until the plant is soft enough to pull out.
Alternatively, you can cut off the leaves and expose the stems, which will eventually wilt and die.
Many people keep caterpillars as pets by feeding them pickled garlic or chili powder, which seems to work for most of them! This trick actually works because when they eat the pickling liquid, it contains salt, which helps preserve the stomach content.
Freezing can be one of the most effective ways to get rid of caterpillars. When they are frozen, they cannot eat or drink so they will eventually die!
Freeze your pest directly in liquid nitrogen (LN2) for about an hour before trying to re-warm them. This would also work if you have to quickly transport them away from the plant!
Never use dry ice as it explodes when mixed with air. An easy way to do this is by using a generator as fuel.