My milkweed has been almost bare for a long time now that the monarchs
have been laying eggs and the caterpillars have devoured them. I kept
thinking the leaves would grow back, but they haven't, expect for a
few new leaves at the top. The rest of the stalks remain bare.
Meanwhile the monarchs keep leaving more eggs on the what few leaves
I didn't think I was suppose to cut them back to encourage growth,
but am I wrong? They've been bare for many many months. Now I have
lots of new baby caterpillars and they're going to run out of food.
Also I started some new seed plants and cuttings that I rooted, that
I'm having trouble with. After fighting off the aphids, now there
seems to be something turning the leaves whitish and leaving some sort
of spider web looking stuff on them and they are dying. I didn't want
to spray anything toxic since I'm growing them for the butterflies and
caterpillars. Any suggestions on what I can do?
Well, I haven't had this many caterpillars/butterflies in my own
garden, but it sounds like this is why you don't have any leaves.
I'm guessing you need more milkweed, and/or fewer caterpillars/eggs.
If you don't let the plant(s) retain some leaves, it might not make it
to whatever season doesn't have caterpillars (don't know what that is
where you are, but it looks like the migration is south in the fall
and north in the spring).
It doesn't sound like an issue with encouraging the plant to grow. It
seems like the plant is trying to (at the top rather than along the
stem, but that should be OK), but gets munched before it gets very far.
Spider mites? If so, it seems like something as simple as spraying
off the plants with water might help, according to:
Maybe there are other things which cause this symptom.
search for a stand of milkweed. cut milkweed. put the extra
caterpillars into a box with a screen top and feed em. keep cutting
and feeding until they make their cases. let them out when they
emerge from the pupae. lots of people do this just for fun. but you
can save a lot of em this way. Ingrid
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