Sunday, January 8, 2012

Orange and Black Catterpillars

Here is a small section of my backyard.  From left to right, I've planted a Hibiscus, a Passion Flower Vine, and nice healthy little lime tree...
 and a yellow Mandevilla.
Last summer, all were flourishing, but now only the lime tree remains.  I thought back to this summer and remembered lots of orange and black catterpillars, so this morning, I did a little Google search on them.  Nothing like trying to save your plants after they're already dead, right?

I read in this article that I really should have washed them off the plants when they were still eggs.  I'll keep a sharp eye out next summer.  I also read that they shouldn't have killed the plants, even if they ate all the leaves.  Someone should tell that to the dried out twigs in my yard.  I'll leave them in place for a while and see if they show any signs of life, but I'm not holding out much hope.  :-(


  1. Gardening in Florida is a challenge. Have fun! I'll be following along!

  2. Hi Jenny -

    I'm thinking those orange and black caterpillars may be gulf fritillary butterflies. I have numerous Passion vines in my backyard (zone 9) and they are known to be a host to this butterfly. I typically "lose" my vines come December/January but don't worry. . . they almost always come back early spring. In fact, you'll have passion vines poping up all over the place.

    Depending on where you have you hibiscus, it may just be suffering from the colder temperatures. I have a row that gets no protection from the cold and they die back to the ground every winter only to come back in spring.

    So there is hope - and maybe butterflies to boot!