How poisonous are Swan plants?

Asked By: Abdesslam Desmet | Last Updated: 27th May, 2020
Category: hobbies and interests beekeeping
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Swan plants (Gomphocarpus spp.) are toxic, and swallowing even a small amount could be a problem. Ingestion of the plant material can affect the heart, breathing, central nervous system and the stomach. Often the chrysalis of the monarch may be ingested as they look similar to lollies.

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Likewise, people ask, can you keep Swan plants inside?

Swan plants from seed Place them in a warm place indoors. Keep the mix moist with as you watch your seedlings grow (hint: keep a mist spray water bottle handy). When your seedlings are big enough to handle, plant them into bigger pots, or outside if its warm enough.

Similarly, how do you get rid of aphids on Swan plants? First, collect caterpillars from the swan plant and put them in a sealed container with some swan plant leaves. Then spray the parts of the swan plant affected by aphids with Organic Super Spraying Oil. The oil kills the aphids by blocking their spiracles (breathing holes) and suffocating them.

Also asked, do you prune swan plants?

If you plan to continue growing swan plants over Winter you will need to protect them from frost, which is why most treat them as annuals. I like to prune swan plants back after the caterpillars have eaten them and let them re-grow again. Swan plants are toxic if ingested so care is needed if young children are around.

Do monarch caterpillars bite?

The ones with hind projections such as the horns at the tail of hawkmoth caterpillars do not sting in any way. Monarch caterpillars are a popular addition in classrooms. These caterpillars would be poisonous but not fatal if swallowed, but are not dangerous in any way to touch.

38 Related Question Answers Found

What can I feed a swan plant?

Top tips for Swan Plant seeds:
During Spring and Summer remember that plants need food too, just like people. Try a plant food such as Thrive Fish Blood & Bone which has high levels of NPK nutrients for leafy plant growth.

What do you do with Swan plant seed pods?

When the seedpods have matured the seeds can be harvested and any floss or insects cleaned off. Once this has been done they can be folded up in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic snaplock bag excluding as much air as possible. After that they can be stored in the refrigerator until spring.

Do swan plants have flowers?

There are two types of swan plants available at Oderings, swan plant 'asclepias physocarpa' and swan plant silky. Silky has stunning red, gold and deep scarlet flowers which look great in flower arrangements. The speed in which Caterpillars munch through the plants is often underestimated.

How do you harvest Swan seeds?

Using them you can leave the pods in place on the bush and collect the seed after the pods have burst open. A week after the pods have opened, the seed is very easy to separate from the floss. Ensure that the seed pod is free of animal life (e.g. aphids, ladybirds) before putting it into the bags.

Do swan plants grow back?


Most Swan plants survive the winter if they have been cared for and nourished with water and re potted either to a larger pot or into the ground. Sometimes Swan plants struggle to grow back if completely chewed back by the hungry caterpillars.

What plants are good for monarch butterflies?

Here are 6 butterfly garden plants frequently visited by both monarchs and hummingbirds:
  • Zinnia Flowers. Zinnias add multi-bursts of color to your garden with their showy blooms.
  • Agastache 'Ava' Unexpected Dinner Guest.
  • Mexican Sunflowers.
  • Milkweed.
  • Brazilian Verbena.
  • Dwarf Butterfly Bushes.
  • Callistemon spp.

Why are my swan plant leaves turning yellow?

Funguses are often the result of too much rain or watering. When leaves turn yellow, or start getting spotting/discoloration, try one or more of the following: Do not compost diseased leaves/stems and risk spreading fungus spores into the soil.

Can you hold monarch caterpillars?

Monarch butterflies generally lay their eggs singularly on the underside of the leaf. Monarch caterpillars will be about 2 inches long when they are ready to form their chrysalis. It is safe for humans to hold and touch the Monarch caterpillar but it is not always safe for the caterpillar.

How many caterpillars does a swan plant produce?

The answer is : it all depends. Some authorities say things like “200 leaves per caterpillar”, but there is a big difference between G. fruticosus leaves and G. physocarpus leaves.

How long does it take for a monarch butterfly to form a chrysalis?

It can take about four weeks in the peak of the summer in warmer climates. The egg takes 5 to 10 days, the larva/caterpillar and pupa/chrysalis each take about 10 to 14 days. In winter, autumn and spring it takes a lot longer (if it happens at all – they continue to breed in Northland).

What else do monarch caterpillars eat?

Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs.

Are swan plants native to NZ?

In New Zealand Swan plants can be grown easily from seed from August onwards, in a warm greenhouse, kitchen or classroom window sill. You can purchase seed packets from any local garden centre or online. Seeds can be Asclepias (Asclepias curassavica) or Swan plant (Gomphocarpus fruticosus).

What do Swan plants look like?

Swan plant or Cotton Bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) is an erect shrub to 2 m high producing a milky sap from all parts when damaged. The narrow leaves are opposite, 40-135 mm long, sparsely hairy and pointed. The flowers are white to cream and arranged in small, often pendulous clusters in the leaf axils.

What are Swan plants?


The swan plant is a food source for the caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly and other butterflies of the Danaus species. The lifecycle of the monarch butterfly is the main reason the swan plant is present in preschool centres as children can trace the changes from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

Do caterpillars eat worms?

Caterpillars are not worms, although they are cold-blooded like worms. Caterpillars are the larvae of moths or butterflies. Most caterpillars are herbivores, meaning that they only eat plants. There are a few caterpillars that are carnivorous and eat other creatures.

How do I keep aphids off my plants?

Control and Prevention
  1. Try spraying cold water on the leaves; sometimes all aphids need is a cool blast to dislodge them.
  2. If you have a large aphid invasion, dust plants with flour.
  3. Neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils are effective against aphids.