Hello Everyone i am Debasish from India


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Hi everyone,

I am debasish banerjee from India . My friends call me Dj (easy to say) . I am very much into gardening. I do all my gardening in pita on my roof top.

I am currently growing the following:

Flowers :
Hibiscus (various colors)
Hibiscus mutabilis
Rose
Allamanda creeper
Allamanda dwarf (non creeper)
Jasmine
Holy Basil (red and green both)
Marigold
Lilly
Dwarf Dahlia (Pom Pom)
Dahlia
Rajnigandha sticks
Passion Flower
Ixora
Nycanthis (Shiuli flower)
Crepe Jasmine
Mandevilliea
Hollyhock
Bramhakamal (Night Lotus)

Fruits:
Lime
Citrus limetta (Mosambi)
Papaya

Herbs:
Celery
Purple basil
Sweet basil
Parsley

Vegetables:
Chilly
Tomatoes
Potato
Onion
Beet
Cucumber
Pumpkin
Capsicum
Brinjal

I have started my gardening roughly 2 yrs back and hoping to learn further ahead from you all with every progress.
 
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:)Hello @Debasish Banerjee and a warm welcome to you. That is quite an impressive list and i grow many of the same plants where i live half way around the world. You must be in a nice warm climate.
Hi. Nice to know that you grow similar stuff. Yes the weather is usually hot and humid. We hardly get winter at a max of 13-16degrees celcius . Thts why Hibiscus plants shower me with flowers even in winters. :)

Hope to interact through this forum and if i may be of any help please let me know.
 
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Hi. Nice to know that you grow similar stuff. Yes the weather is usually hot and humid. We hardly get winter at a max of 13-16degrees celcius . Thts why Hibiscus plants shower me with flowers even in winters. :)

Hope to interact through this forum and if i may be of any help please let me know.
I have a hibiscus plant, but I never see any of my local pollinators on the flowers, despite them being the biggest flowers in the garden...well other than my moonflower, but that's a nightbloomer.... I'm curious what (if any) pollinators are attracted to your hibiscus?
 
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Welcome Debasish. :) You have a lovely selection of flowers and vegetables with good temperatures to keep them growing all year round.
 
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Hope to interact through this forum and if i may be of any help please let me know
Thank you DJ, my garden is mostly for pollinators and i also grow year around. The rainy season is hot and humid from April through October and the dry season is hot and dry (November through March). Daytime temps are around 30 C year around with some modest variations + and -. December through February the night time temps drop to as low as 16 C and during the rest of the year night time temps hover around the 20 - 22. So i am sure we have information and ideas to share. I wonder, with your roof top garden if you have fewer problems with insects, rodents, etc that cause damage to your plants? I have had problems with beetles that burrow in the ground and eat roots, also with some unfriendly nematodes, and also root rot after the rainy season. I have recently started using Neem drench with the hopes that the soil will be healthier and also molasses drench, and composted materials.
 
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I have a hibiscus plant, but I never see any of my local pollinators on the flowers, despite them being the biggest flowers in the garden...well other than my moonflower, but that's a nightbloomer.... I'm curious what (if any) pollinators are attracted to your hibiscus?
Hi ,I started the hibiscus in the beginning but just like you i found no pollinators around. Then i planted green chilly plant & i had the bees coming regularly and it was when my citrus limetta(mosambi) bloomed the place is filled with bees morning to evening.

I would suggest you planting a Green Chilly plant ( a couple of them) and wait for the blooms to happen and then i hope you will also be rewarded by the bees.
 
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Thank you DJ, my garden is mostly for pollinators and i also grow year around. The rainy season is hot and humid from April through October and the dry season is hot and dry (November through March). Daytime temps are around 30 C year around with some modest variations + and -. December through February the night time temps drop to as low as 16 C and during the rest of the year night time temps hover around the 20 - 22. So i am sure we have information and ideas to share. I wonder, with your roof top garden if you have fewer problems with insects, rodents, etc that cause damage to your plants? I have had problems with beetles that burrow in the ground and eat roots, also with some unfriendly nematodes, and also root rot after the rainy season. I have recently started using Neem drench with the hopes that the soil will be healthier and also molasses drench, and composted materials.
Hi, yes rooftop garden is also frequently affected by pests and insects. I mainly have aphids, spider mites and ants issue but i keep them under control and mostly ( so far lucky) keep the place insect free. The most common is Aphids and they mainly attack my hibiscus's buds. But there are many ways to deal with it. I spray the insecticide (sometimes) on a mild dose on all of them and nothing bothers me much. During the change of seasons ( Winter to summer to Rain to Fall) i have noticed that the Aphids comes back but due to my routine maintainence their stays are shorten and mostly out of the way so far.

One more thing i use more regularly is Banana Peel. I just throw the Banana peel on the soil and as it rots and breaks down i shove it in slowly slowly. It has prevented any aphids on my roses (so far). I hope t his works for you.

Yes for soil nematodes and beetles (root eating ones) Neem powder meals are good, you may also mix diatomaceous earth with the neem powder and apply it on the soil. The diatomaceous earth works great and the bad guys will run away.
 
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Oh, good, good. I hand squish the aphids and also use a mild soapy/water mix. The ants have been the most destructive. We have leaf-cutter ants here that can strip a tree overnight. I would show you what they did to my Ixora but it is just too sad. I went after them with DE (diatomaceous earth). They had made themselves at home within the walls of my garden. This was last year. This year i have only seen one leaf-cutter ant in the garden. I think they know now that the garden is hostile territory and do not enter. In all the holes i dig for planting i sprinkle DE and add a mild Neem oil/water as well as a Molasses/water mix to the bottom of the hole. I have to be careful how i use the Neem and DE, because i have some plants that host butterflies, so i raise caterpillars that grow up to be butterflies so i only use Neem below ground level. When there are caterpillars in the garden, i don't use DE at all until they have pupated and are safe in their chrysalises. To my compost container i add chopped up banana peel. It is so full of nutrients. I have never tried to just lay them on top of the soil. I have been told that cockroaches love bananas, so i fear the peel would attract cockroaches?

About Hibiscus @roadrunner, Large Sulphur Butterflies are attracted to the single red tropical Hibiscus (you will have these butterflies in Florida, they are big and yellow, a few different species). So they do some pollinating and also some small ants do some pollinating on the tropical hibiscus in my area.
 
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Oh, good, good. I hand squish the aphids and also use a mild soapy/water mix. The ants have been the most destructive. We have leaf-cutter ants here that can strip a tree overnight. I would show you what they did to my Ixora but it is just too sad. I went after them with DE (diatomaceous earth). They had made themselves at home within the walls of my garden. This was last year. This year i have only seen one leaf-cutter ant in the garden. I think they know now that the garden is hostile territory and do not enter. In all the holes i dig for planting i sprinkle DE and add a mild Neem oil/water as well as a Molasses/water mix to the bottom of the hole. I have to be careful how i use the Neem and DE, because i have some plants that host butterflies, so i raise caterpillars that grow up to be butterflies so i only use Neem below ground level. When there are caterpillars in the garden, i don't use DE at all until they have pupated and are safe in their chrysalises. To my compost container i add chopped up banana peel. It is so full of nutrients. I have never tried to just lay them on top of the soil. I have been told that cockroaches love bananas, so i fear the peel would attract cockroaches?

About Hibiscus @roadrunner, Large Sulphur Butterflies are attracted to the single red tropical Hibiscus (you will have these butterflies in Florida, they are big and yellow, a few different species). So they do some pollinating and also some small ants do some pollinating on the tropical hibiscus in my area.
Wow. You are raising caterpillars ? Amazing stuff. Is it tough? Can you pls share in how to do it?
 
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I would be delighted to share the how to re raising caterpillars and butterflies. It is an amazing activity to watch the cycle of life, plus caterpillars are really adorable, the sweetest creatures. India has some very beautiful butterflies.
http://www.ifoundbutterflies.org/

The above url is just one website you will find when you search for butterflies of India.

First you need a host plant. I recommend you start with Asclepias curassavica (Tropical Milkweed). Butterfly caterpillars are very particular eaters. Generally they will only eat one species or genus of plant. Danaus butterflies lay their eggs on Asclepias plants. Asclepias c. is a plant that grows very well in your climate and it will attract Danaus butterflies that will lay single (as opposed to egg clusters) white eggs on the underside of the leaves. Once you have a few eggs, you wait about 3 days before a tiny larva (caterpillar) emerges. The caterpillars actually raise themselves, they know what to do, we are the observers and sometimes we can give them a little friendly help. They will generally eat early in the mornings and in the early to late evenings. The eat, poop, and sleep...pretty much like all babies do. Sometimes they fall asleep eating and might fall out of their bush. They appreciate being lifted up and returned to the base or underside of a leaf of the bush they were eating on. So no, it is not tough because they do all of the work. Depending on the size of the butterfly they are destined to be, they will eat for a few weeks until they are ready to pupate. When they are ready to pupate they will stop eating, start pooping alot, and generally leave the host plant to look for a safe place to pupate and make a chrysalis. They are very particular about choosing just the right place. It is fascinating to observe. They will be very sleepy for about 3 days (depending on size) and stay in the chosen spot until they are ready to make their chrysalis (also fascinating to observe). Danaus butterflies will generally be in the chrysalis between 6 to 9 days before they are ready to emerge (aka eclose) as fully developed adult butterflies (really fascinating to observe). After they emerge, it is critical that they be able to grasp and hold on to the vacated chrysalis or nearby leaf. If they fall, they will generally die, unless they are quickly able to return to an appropriate position, or a friend nearby offers a finger that they will anxiously crawl onto to be placed in a proper hanging position with room for their wings to expand. When they emerge the wings are crumpled and small and the abdomen is enormous. This holds the fluid that will flow into the wings to make them sufficiently rigid for flying. It could be as long as an hour before a butterfly is ready to fly after emerging from the chrysalis. How much time in the chrysalis and how much time for flight ready depends on air temperature. The warmer the temps, the faster the process. People think the first thing they do is eat, but the first thing they do is find a mate. They may stay in the garden and lay eggs before they fly away.

Here is an Orange-barred Sulphur butterfly (phoebis philea) as a grown caterpiller almost ready to pupate, the pupa, chrysalis, pre-flight (just hanging around), and flight ready. You will not have exactly the same butterfly, but something similar. The host plant for this cutie pie is Cassia/Senna
1 Orange barred Sulphur caterpillar.jpg

2 Orange barred Sulphur pupa.jpg


3 Orange barred Sulphur chrysalis.jpg
4 Orange barred Sulphur pre-flight.jpg
5 Orange barred Sulphur Butterfly.jpg
 
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If you decide to take this journey, i will be happy to help you along the way to answer questions, etc, so don't hesitate to ask. You might want to start a new thread in one of the forums other than this one which is the introduction (meet and greet) forum. I guess the general gardening forum would be appropriate. And, oh dear i forgot to mention that the caterpillars will shed their skins 4 to 5 times as they are growing. It takes a couple of days, one day to shed the skin (this is exhausting for them) and also eat the shed skin and a second day to sleep :)
 
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Wow! To
If you decide to take this journey, i will be happy to help you along the way to answer questions, etc, so don't hesitate to ask. You might want to start a new thread in one of the forums other than this one which is the introduction (meet and greet) forum. I guess the general gardening forum would be appropriate. And, oh dear i forgot to mention that the caterpillars will shed their skins 4 to 5 times as they are growing. It takes a couple of days, one day to shed the skin (this is exhausting for them) and also eat the shed skin and a second day to sleep :)
Wow ! This just took me back to my school days. Amazing stuff. How long do these butterflies live?
And where to find caterpillars?
I would love to do this project
 
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...

About Hibiscus @roadrunner, Large Sulphur Butterflies are attracted to the single red tropical Hibiscus (you will have these butterflies in Florida, they are big and yellow, a few different species). So they do some pollinating and also some small ants do some pollinating on the tropical hibiscus in my area.
Thanks, I'll look out for the Large Sulphur Butterflies. I've seen them occasionally, but would like to see them more. I do have tons of other flowers around my Hibiscus and they all attract various pollinators and it's kind of funny to watch them go after all them flowers, but totally ignore the huge red/yellow Hibiscus flower. However, on the Large Sulphur Butterfly, that's been an issue with me is that I seem to attract tons of bees of all species and a lot of Monarch butterflies, but I would like to see more species of butterflies, such as the LS butterfly; I guess I'm going to have to look at other plants to grow....
 
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And where to find caterpillars?
O very good, this will be exciting. It is so much more exciting to watch the cycle of life unfolding in real life, than watching TV :)

To answer your question above, you will find caterpillars in your garden on the leaves of the host plant you will grow and plant there. After you have completed the following steps:

1. locate and grow a butterfly host plant in your garden. i recommend Asclepias curassavica (Tropical Milkweed) to begin with. This will get you started right away. While this is growing, you can do internet search on other butterflies in your area and what host plants they use, and maybe get them growing as well. Only the Danaus use Asclepias c. as a host plant.

2. When the host plant is mature, keep your eye out for Danaus butterflies in your area to visit your garden. They will be attracted to your garden by the Asclepias and they will lay eggs on that plant. As you wander and/or work in your garden take a look at the underside of the leaves for small white eggs (one or two per leaf, but not on all the leaves). The eggs will hatch about 3 days after they are laid (in case you happen to see them being laid). You also find the tiny caterpillars by looking for leaves that have been chewed on (little holes in the middle of leaves or small chew marks along the edges. Another way to find them is by seeing if there is frase (poop) on the leaves. The frase of the very tiny caterpillars will also be tiny black specs (like finely ground pepper). From there look for the caterpillar(s) on the host plant. Easiest to find early morning and early to late evenings when they are active and eating. Nothing other than water should be sprayed on the leaves of any host plant, or the caterpillars will die when they eat it. Let me know when the Asclepias plant is in your garden and i will send you photos of both the butterfly and the caterpillar.

Two easy steps. This is where you find caterpillars.:)

There are butterflies that may only live 2 to 3 days after reproducing (which they do as soon as possible after being flight ready) to six months, all depends.

By the way, the Asclepias (genus name) plants are toxic to humans and exude a white milky sap if leaf or stem is broken so wash you hands after handling the plant. You will also need very clean hands when/if handling the caterpillars because they are very susceptible to bacteria...so wash hands before handling unless it is an emergency:eek:
 
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@roadrunner , search butterflies in florida (and maybe your location like West Central for example). Florida has many beautiful butterflies but some will only be found in the southern most parts of the state. Find the ones you would like to attract and then search for the host plant for those butterflies. That is how to get butterflies in your garden, grow host plants, but keep in mind the plants must be insecticide/herbicide free or you will be killing them off. Host plants come with caterpillars that will chew holes in the leaves of the host plants. Most will starve before destroying a plant though and the plants always grow back. If you are not prepared for that, then plant lots of nectar plants and see what comes. I recommend Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides (aka Senecio confusus) aka Mexican Flame Vine. It grows in your area and is the butterfly favorite nectar plant in my garden. Your State Butterfly (Heliconian longwings) always shows up when it is in bloom along with many other types of butterflies that i otherwise don't see.:)
 

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