I was pissed.
I began looking more closely. Sure enough, there was a tiny green caterpillar…a tomato hornworm! And then another…and another. And then a HUGE one! There were three small ones and one HUGE one, just chomping away on my plant.
I grabbed a ruler to see just HOW BIG that largest one was…over 3.5” !!!
I put on some gloves and removed and destroyed these unwelcome critters.
Fast-forward one month and look at my Moon Flower plant now. It has fully recovered and is loaded with blooms! Each bloom lasts only one day (or night, I should say, as the blooms open at night!), and I have 8-10 blooms daily…so that is a lot of blooms!
So now I am feeling guilty. If I had NOT destroyed the caterpillars, would they have stopped eating once the leaves were totally gone (as they almost were when I discovered the worms…the only remaining leaf was no longer attached to the plant!)? Or would they have sucked the life out of the stems, too? And would they have turned in to some lovely moth or butterfly that I would admire?
TOO late to find out…but I am enjoying the beautiful white blooms and the delightful scent they fill the night are with!