Thursday, May 26, 2011

Monarch caterpillar

This morning I was walking around my garden with my cat Ginger when I stopped by my milkweed plant (Asclepias tuberosa) and noticed a caterpillar! I was so excited that I tossed Ginger down and ran inside to get my camera.

I haven't seen any adult Monarchs, so I wasn't expecting to see a caterpillar. The female Monarch must have flown in my yard when I wasn't looking because the only butterfly I've seen this year was a Swallowtail. Here is the picture!

Monarch butterflies will only lay eggs on a milkweed plant (also known as butterfly weed). The plant that a butterfly lays eggs on is called a host plant. The host plant is also the caterpillar's source for food, so expect your milkweed's leaves to get eaten.

Here is a picture of the milkweed's flowers. I love milkweeds because it is a perennial, has pretty orange flowers, and is the only host plant for Monarch butterflies. The plant grows around 3 feet tall and wide and blooms all through the spring and into summer. Milkweed plants are readily available at most local garden centers. Go buy one today and get your butterfly garden started!


  1. The milkweed flowers are pretty!
    PS: We'll come Sat. morning to look at the car.

  2. Mary, your milkweed is blooming really nice.
    I have some milkweeds and also another butterfly bush but haven't found any monarch caterpillar yet. I'll keep an eye on it and hopefully someday I will find a caterpillar too.
    Best Regards and Happy Gardening
    Paula Jo

  3. Hi Mary,

    Very nice for you to have milkweeds and butterflies. I can't bring myself to buy anything during this drought since I can barely keep alive what I have. Maybe if it starts raining soon I'll get some milkweeds. It's my first choice.
    David :-)

  4. Monarchs don't show up in my garden till around August. I grow lots of milkweed (tropical red, incarnata, tuberosa) to keep the caterpillars well fed. Lucky you that you have them already!! That caterpillar looks fat and happy!! :o)