The joke's on me!!!

caterwallinJuly 11, 2011

Some of you might remember that I'm trying to kill my passionvine because it's going all over the place. I went outside this evening (it was way too hot during the day to go out and work) to grab a bunch more of vine to put into some more glyphosate. When I had one of the vines in my hand, something caught my attention...a small Variegated Fritillary cat! Can you believe I am trying to kill off this vine and I get VFs on it for the first time since I've had it (I think this would be the fourth year). I didn't even see any VF butterflies here to lay eggs, but I know that they didn't just drop from the sky! Well now, this puts a whole new light on things! So instead of putting more vines in the glyphosate, there I was digging up a whole bunch of vines to feed the caterpillars. Yes, I found more than just the one! So far I've found three. I didn't get a chance to look over the entire mess of vines, but I'll check them tomorrow for more cats. Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter, 96 degrees, so it will probably be late again when I go out there. I want to decide which of the vines I want to keep because I want to try to make sure that I'll have enough to feed the cats. As fast as the vines grow, I shouldn't have a problem with that. If I would happen to run out, I can always switch them over to violets, I guess. I suppose I could even do that now, but it's just that I hate to make them change over so early if I even have to at all.

Now, I have some questions regarding potted passionvine. I never grew any in a pot before. I'm wondering what sizes you all use for your potted ones. When you have the pot outside in the garden, do you have it sitting on top of the ground or have a hole that you sit it down in? If you sit it down in a hole, wouldn't the roots be able to crawl out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and spread into the ground where you/I don't want it? Do you bring your potted passionvine inside over the winter or leave it outside? I live in PA and am not sure if it would be okay outside or not. I already have lots of pots I bring in and put back out every year and don't know if I'd have room for even one more. Our laundry room was really full of them this past fall and winter and we almost needed a machete to get through there! :)

Btw, I'm ecstatic about having Variegated Fritillary cats to raise! I only raised them one other time, and I found it on a viola in the garden that had come up on its own in with the Verbena bonariensis. That was about 3 or 4 years ago. I don't see VFs every year, but apparently there was one here this year. :) Oh, I think they make the prettiest chrysalides out of all of the kinds of butterfly caterpillars that I've raised! Anyway...this has made me decide to keep passionvine here, but I will keep it in pots. I love the flowers of Passiflora incarnata, so now I guess I'll get to continue seeing them. =)


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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Congrats on the cats, Cathy!
I'm glad you'll be keeping your passionvines.
I've never grown one in a pot, but I imagine others can answer your questions about that.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 11:36PM
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Congratulations! I raised my first ones last year and yes, they made the prettiest pearl and gold chrysalises.

Passionvine is a real pain in the patootie! I planted some starts in a pot and they died over the winter. However, we had some at the arb that were planted in clay drainage tile (basically large clay pipes). I am not sure how deep they were but I suspect up to two feet. And guess what, they were still spreading.

I would try planting them in a large pot. Put lots of peanuts in it for drainage and to lighten the load. Then try burying the pot overwinter and remove it in the spring. That might work. Maybe a more established plant would survive overwinter without burying. I don't know.

Feeding them passionvine is so much easier than violets. So, it is worth it.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 9:53AM
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