The Q&A Archives: Passion Vine in Phoenix, Arizona

Question: I have a passion vine that is growing as a focal point behind our 2 big kitchen windows. The vine has continuously been eaten down to its skeleton by caterpillars, and I tried to be patient thinking the caterpillar cycle would eventually end, but at every new sign of leaf growth, baby caterpillars show up again! It is now mid July and the caterpillars have been invading since April. Any advice??

Answer: Caterpillar can be eliminated with a product called Bt (bacillus thuringensis) which is sold as Dipel or Thuricide in the garden center. It is a bacterium that acts as a stomach poison and targets only caterpillars. They have to consume the treated leaves before it is effective so if you spray early in the season when you first see the caterpillars it should control them before too much damage is done. Be sure to apply according to label directions. Repeat sprays may be necessary. Good luck with your passionflower vine.

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