Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monarch Caterpillar in My Garden


One of my garden project goals has been to buy plants that attract butterflies, so I have planted plenty of them in my yard. But I want Monarchs! So I did some research and learned that you need to also have plants that attract butterflies to lay their eggs on, so their kids have something to eat too. Monarchs only lay their eggs on Milkweed plants as it contains a mild toxin that protects the caterpillars from predators, making them poisonous to eat.

Since I have not been able to find one single Garden Center in the Twin Cities that sells Milkweed, I decided to grow my own last year from seed. In late Spring this year, I was rewarded with new plants emerging (they survived the winter!). Much to my surprise and joy, a week ago I found this little guy (a Monarch caterpillar) eating away my Milkweed leaves. I don't mind...that's what they're there for!


Michael Moore said...

When I was out hunting last year I collected a large pocketfull of milkweed seeds for the same reason!

I planted them this spring with my other wildflowers, but I don't know enough about flower types to tell if they came up or not. I'll have to go look for some caterpillars I guess!

Billie Jo said...

We were able to find milkweed at Prairie Restorations. It was quite a drive for us but would be closer for you. It was worth the trip to get a few other native plants for my shade garden. Fun that the caterpillars have shown up! Maybe you'll get a crysalis (sp?) or two!

Jennifer Kirby said...

I never thought about Prairie Restorations, but their retail sales locations are too far for me.