This September 2018 I plan to share HEAPS of packets of Swan Plants & Acelplcia seeds from Yates NZ. That’s 1000s of extra Swan Plants around the Christchurch area for the Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs on and feed off. This will give a massive boost to the Monarch butterfly population in our environment this coming summer.
As numbers here in New Zealand have been notably down this year. In one park in Christchurch, it seems that rats have climbed up the tree and eaten the monarchs whilst they had been overwintering.
This means I need your help!
Please let your teacher friends that would be keen to help with this project or mention me to your school, around the Christchurch City area only for #projectswanplant2018
Packages for schools around the country are available so please email for further details if you would like to get on board too.
This year we are reusing last year’s black seed punnet’s. Schools could also start collecting 2-liter milk bottles to sell the swan plants at a later stage. This way we are recycling and keeping plastic to a minimum.
I will visit your schools, Kindys, and pre-school for FREE, and help you set up seedling trays and plant the seeds with the children. I will need school children and teachers to take care of these seeds/seedlings in a warm area in their classroom window sills in the sunshine, by watering them regularly. Furthermore, I will briefly discuss the life cycle and how to care for the plants and answer any questions, leaving you information packs. These plants will eventually be planted in your school’s butterfly/bee gardens. The swan plants’ seedlings will take approximately 4 months to grow into a big healthy plant ready for next January when it’s peak Monarch season, (if covered and kept away from Monarchs). Hopefully, together we’ll ensure there will be an abundance of swan plants this year without having a shortage like most years within Christchurch. Schools can then purchase more seeds packets and use these plants to sell as a fund-raiser for their school.
I’m looking for hubs for Rolleston, Brighton, Cashmere areas to become hub schools, and perhaps a small group of children and a teacher from nearby schools could come along too and we will do large seed numbers. I will also then distribute the extra seedlings around to the local pre-schools and schools in your area.
Why do I run this swan plant project?
I love meeting new people, visiting school children, sharing my passion and knowledge. My aim is for teachers not to buy as many swan plants for their classrooms out of their own pocket. As each year on the news and social media, there is a massive shortage of swan plants. The key is to plan early and be prepared for the summer months.
I know countless amounts of teachers that buy heaps plants for their starving caterpillars on their way to school, so the children don’t see the caterpillars starve. Growing from seed is far cheaper and sustainable, I know most teachers are time poor so it’s good that I can go into schools and take a small group of kids and do mass planting for the school and other ECE centers around them. It gives kids a chance to nurture the seedlings and take care of them whilst watching them grow into large plants. Schools have the ideal growing facilities, large windows to let the sun in, and great warmth from the heat pumps. Growing swan plants from seeds has a knock-on effect, and children then want to sow vegetables and flowers, which helps people, insects, birds.
Asclepias (silky mix): Is in the same family as the swan plant. Asclepias curassavica is also known as tropical milkweed. It attracts beneficial pollinators and monarch butterflies. Beautiful red and gold flowers are produced at the top of the plant after between 12-16 weeks after sowing, and if there has no sign of caterpillars on the plant. The flower also becomes a source of nectar for the butterfly.
Swan Plant: An attractive bush with fascinating clusters of large, unusual, swan-like seed pods. Most widely known for its role as host to the Monarch Butterfly. Prefers a warm, rather dry location, water lightly. Remove excess eggs on your plants to prevent your plants from becoming stripped quickly, this also ensures there’s enough food for the caterpillars. Grow a number of plants to ensure lots of new butterflies by planting more seeds every few weeks.
I will be available Christchurch wide for interactive talks and fun starting 15th October 2018.
If you would like to help and sow the seeds at your school please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 0276 452 361 Don’t miss out, over 100 schools in Christchurch got on board last year.
Please find attached below my step-by-step guide on sowing the seeds in your classrooms.