Did you garden this past season? I was busy trying to turn a very large weed patch into a butterfly garden. That’s where I got part of the name for my blog – “Butterflies”. I planted several perennials that attract butterflies. Most importantly I planted Milkweed. It’s the only host plant for Monarch butterflies. Females will only lay their eggs on milkweed. The variety that I planted was Asclepias Tuberosa, commonly called Butterfly Weed.
It’s a drought hardy plant. Very easy to grow. I got mine as small seedlings from a nursery in the spring. I fertilized them a couple of times in the early summer, and then just forgot about them. I was busy fighting weeds all summer and never noticed if any Monarchs came visiting. But when I saw these babies around mid August, I was so excited. There were several on each plant. It was official. I had a Butterfly Garden. They are baby Monarch caterpillars, and they were a little less than an inch long.
A few days later they were noticeably bigger.
A week later, they were huge! Over two inches long, and FAT!
Now if you see these ugly critters on your plant, don’t freak out. They are Milkweed Bugs, Oncopeltus Fasciatus. They also feed on milkweed, but do very little damage. They’re just creepy looking. I used the organic method to eliminate them – grabbed them with my fingers and threw them in the yard.
I collected some seeds from the pods in late September, and will try winter sowing. I’ll write a post about it at that time. I’ve never done this before, so it will be interesting to see if anything grows.
I hope this was helpful.