Lady Margaret-Good news/Bad news

turtledon(z6 TN)September 9, 2005

I have P. Lady Margaret planted outdoors on a small trellis and it is growing well. There are about 12 fruit on it and today three fell off. All 3 have good seeds and were brought in. Do these seeds need chilled at all? The mixed heritage leaves me a little confused. Thats the good news. The bad news is about ants,very small ones. They are attacking the flowers,eating all the filaments and leaving the flower small and deformed. I bought ant spray, but they came right back 2 days later. I bought another spray recomended by someone from Home Depot but the spray yellowed the leaves and some are falling off. Has anyone had a similar problem and been successful?

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Krstofer(Zone 7 (ish))

Out of curiousity, what did you polinate with? If anything?

Hard to get rhid of the ants.. S'pecially on a vine as it has multiple attachment points to something else- thus multiple routes for the ants to get in. On my fruit trees I use tanglefoot- a VERY sticky sauce you put in a ring around the stem. it traps the ants- they can't get past. Would be rather time consuming, but you *could* put some on each flower stem.. Ants can't pass to get to the flower.

Mine is about to bloom, this time I may polinate with 'amethyst' - last time I did it w/ caerulea.. 5 fruit, 4 seeds. 2 seedlings so far.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 2:07AM
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turtledon(z6 TN)

I didn't do the pollinating, but I had P. Byron's Beauty and P. aurantica in bloom in the same area. I guess it's a toss up for now.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 5:28PM
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'Byron's Beauty' is tetraploid and not likely to be able to produce seeds on a diploid such as 'Lady Margaret', although it is not totally impossible. P. aurantia is in a different sub-genus with a different number of chromosomes (12 vs 18), and even more unlikely to have done the deed. I would bet you have some wild Maypop, P. incarnata somewhere near you. If so, I would interesting in getting a few seeds from you, if you end up with a few extras.

Since 'Lady Margaret' is half incarnata, the seeds may need stratification. Don't let them dry out if possible, as this can put them in a deep dormancy. Place them in moist potting mix in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator, but leave the top unzipped to breath a bit (just fold the bag over to partially seal in moisture). Leave it for a few weeks to a couple of months, and move to room temp. Seeds should start sprouting in a few days (assuming they are capable of sprouting).

Have you tasted the arils around the seeds? Both parents of 'Lady Margaret' are quite edible.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 8:47PM
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turtledon(z6 TN)

There is P. incarnada on my property. I didn't think of that possibilty. I tasted the arils and they are soooo sweet. I have 22 seeds so far and they are now in the fridge. I tried a vegetable spray for the ants. Only a few ants seen today. Unfortunately as I was looking the plant over, a gulf frittilary flew by laying eggs on the plant.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 11:27PM
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redpoppy215(8 TN)

I know this is an old post, but I'm curious: are you sure the ants themselves are the ones causing the damage? Most Passifloras live in a mutually beneficient relationship with ants: the ants eat the nectar produced by the plant, and in turn remove the eggs of pests that would harm the plant.

A quote from the link below:
"Incidentally one of the signs of a happy plant is armies of ants marching up & down it. They are attracted by the nectar & have a protective role re disposing of other insects' eggs etc."

There are a few ants that do cause harm by farming the pests themselves: they'll purposely plant the eggs of scales, mealy bugs, and other beasties on the plant, and then tend to them, so it is certainly possible that the ants could be introducing other pests to your plants. But I haven't heard of any ants themselves causing the damage that you're describing. (Which doesn't mean it's not possible, of course -- I'd just hate to see you work hard to rid your plants of ants, if the ants, in fact, would remove the other pests on their own if left alone.)
Abstract of Ecology journal article:

Here is a link that might be useful: Pasiflora ants

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 12:09PM
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I"ve noticed that many tropicals exude a type of sugary sap from the leaves and sometimes even special structures designed for that, and I think that is indeed to attract beneficail ants to the plants, and the ants actually protect the plants from damaging insects, and they in turn get to harvest the "sugar" or sap. My Thunbergia grandiflora gets all kinds of sap on the leaves that seem to be secreted, and is always covered with ants, which do no damage to it, and I never see any problem insects on it.
Sometimes it's beneficial to leave those ants alone, unless you're squeemish about ants. In some cases, even though they're beneficial, if they create large nests with numerous tunnels around the rootball, they an cause the plants to dry very quickly with all those air spaces. I've had that happend with some plants in the ground, when ants built nests around the roots. All those extra air spaces are not beneficial.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 7:46PM
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turtledon(z6 TN)

The ants would go for buds that were about to open. As many as two dozen in a bud. When the flower would open, it would be missing the filaments or open all deformed. No other pests were seen. The ants were very small, less than a sixteenth of an inch. Later a larger species showed up but did no harm. Also some of the buds would just turn brown and fall off. Once the large ants moved in, the small ones disappeared. What I like about this LM is that at times it sends out two flowers per leaf axil. I left mom(LM) outside for the winter, burried in straw. But just in case, I made a bunch of cuttings(babbies are doing fine):)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 11:25PM
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I must say those small ants bring something to mind that I"ve never seen before, and I also had some species of ant eating the flower buds on my rose of sharons, and I've never seen that before. In that case of course , you don't want those plant eating ants, though I didn't bother spraying even though it would have been outdoors. I never use insecticides indoors anymore, since I don't want to smell those lingering fumes, nor can I barely even tollerate the smell of the "Safers" nowdays. It does stink!!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 8:15AM
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