Samia
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Passionfruit, worm problem

My passion fruit vine is producing fruits, but it has a huge problem. Worms!!! Black, spiky, medium size worms, that eat everything they stand on. I have tried different repellents (neem oil and home and garden insect spray from green light). So far nothing has worked. My last approach has been to hand pick them off the plant. Everyday I go outside and pick everyone I see, but the next day they are more. Help! I must add that in my research I fount that the worms are butterfly worms.[/img]

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applestar
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You didn't mention what kind of butterfly so I looked it up:
https://www.phoenixtropicals.com/passionFruit.html
Passion fruit vines are a favorite host plant of the Gulf Fritillary. This beautiful butterfly's caterpillars are black and spiny and very hungry. If your plant is new and tiny you'll probably want to manually kill the caterpillars before they wipe the plant out. Once your plant gets large, you can let them dine as they please because they will generally not do significant damage. Later on you'll be rewarded with colorful orange butterflies.
It's a beautiful butterfly:
[img]https://www.phoenixtropicals.com/gulfFritillary.jpg[/img]

Is your passion fruit vine small? Are you sure you can't let some live and just hand pick the rest for this year? Just imagine -- what it would be like if your vines were the only sanctuary left for the last of these butterflies :mrgreen:

*I*M* going to go find out if this butterflies come to my area of the map and see if they'll eat the only passionflower vines that can grow here -- P. incarnata. :wink:

Oh! Another idea :idea: -- if you ground-layer your vines, you can probably get more plants started, then maybe you could plant them away from your fruit production vine and transfer the baby butterflies to their OWN vines to dine on. :wink:

Samia
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The worm looks a bit like the worms in my plant. My pasion fruit vine is small. I started counting how many worms I capture daily and it is in an average of 25 per day. There are hardly any leaves left!!! I don't have any problems with the worms eating the leaves, but they also munch on the fruits and the flowers!!! If my plant grows big (well if it survives) I will take your advise and let them be, but for now i need to take them out. Thanks for the advice.

PD No wonder I had so many butterflies in my garden :shock:

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applestar
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I'm going to give you an excuse to go SHOES SHOPPING :wink: :?:

:lol: Check out this article on using "footies" to protect apples from insect damage. https://www.homeorchardsociety.org/footies/

Now go try on some shoes and get yourself some extra footies for your passionfruits! 8)

Solus Green
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Re: Passionfruit, worm problem

Unless you are using the leaves for tea (which is unlikely unless you are growing the Maypop variety, Passiflora Incarnata) then Sevin in the spray form is a great remedy for Caterpillars, try spraying it on the leaves while avoiding the flowers, this way any beneficial pollinating species won't be harmed during the process.

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hendi_alex
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Re: Passionfruit, worm problem

Interesting thread. I've been culturing our native passion fruit vines (Maypop) for years now. All had disappeared from our yard several years ago, because of repeated cutting with the mower. Now we have at least 20 or more healthy vines growing in various naturalized bed areas. We grow the vine for one reason, they are host plant for several different butterfly species. My wife and I celebrate any time that we see signs of munching on the leaves or when we see the little worms at work. So the idea of poisoning these vines, which are there for the butterflies and are owned by the butterflies seems pretty foreign to me. If the larvae are so abundant that they are overwhelming the vines, why not hand pick and kill the excess, such that the plant can support the butterflies but is not denuded at the same time?

Here is a wonderful link that discusses Passiflora incarnata L. and shows photos of the three butterflies whose larvae feed on the leaves.

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result ... lant=PAIN6

After posting, I noticed that this is an ancient thread, five years old. Still the idea of growing butterfly attractant host plants is worth visiting IMO. The fact that the plant was being denuded would indicate to me that the host plants are under pressure and are not available enough to sustain the local butterfly population. We have several naturalized beds and one emphasis is to include butterfly host plants, not grown for nectar for the adults, but rather to serve the larval side of the equation. IMO a complete butterfly garden should consist of flowers to attract the adults, but should also contain plants like milkweed, passion flower, and other plants that serve to feed the larvae of these beautiful creatures. With the complete cycle of the butterfly taken care of in the yard and garden, a more permaculture solution has been reached and the butterflies will remain an integral part of your landscape.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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hendi_alex
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Re: Passionfruit, worm problem

We do in fact get to celebrate today. It seems we have a few Variegated Fritillary larvae munching on the passion flower vines. We see the adult butterflies pretty often.

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Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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