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Will my swan plant survive?

EACH year I plant a small swan plant to provide amusement and education for my grandchildren - and I love watching the monarch butterflies and caterpillars myself. Most years they only last a few months before the leaves are all eaten, but last summer the plant grew to the size of a young tree. It was covered in caterpillars and chrysalises, then the seed pods split and my lawn and garden were covered with white fluff. What should I do? Cut down the tree and plant another little swan plant next year or wait and see what happens?


DEPENDING on the severity of winter and how free-draining your soil is, the swan plant may die off completely. So it's best to wait until warmer spring weather has arrived then, if it has survived, prune it back to encourage strong new growth.

You'll almost certainly also find some of the seeds that were shed among the fluffy white stuff you describe will germinate and you'll end up with young swan plants coming up around the garden next spring. You can dig these up and move them to a more appropriate place where or leave them as is.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 176, 2005, Page 34

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005