Raising Monarchs

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Photography' started by CountryEscape, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    7,144
    Likes Received:
    4,577
    Location:
    near Effingham, Illinois
    OK, I have milkweed plants. The first one showed up 2 years ago, so this is the 3rd year I have had them, and they are multiplying. I am going to move them, but right now they are in my front flower bed. I know that monarchs need this plant to survive, so I chose to leave them. Their flowers are the most aromatic of any plant I have ever had, rivaling lilacs even.
    Anyhow, I spotted 3 different teeny tiny (1/4" long) monarch caterpillars 2 nights ago, and people asked if I was going to "rear them inside". Nope, let nature do it's thing, I said.
    Next night, last night, I went looking for them, found none. :(
    So, tonight, encouraged to look often, I found 7 of them! I think these are all brand new babies, as they are as tiny as the ones two nights ago.
    I cut off the leaves they were each on, and put the ends of the leaf stem in water in a cup covered with sarah wrap to keep the babies out of the water.
    Here's one of the 7 babies I "saved" tonight.
    monarch infant caterpillar.JPG
    To give you an idea of size, here he is with the tip of an ink pen next to him.
    size comparison monarch caterpillar.JPG
    And, this is the 10 gallon aquarium that I have them in. I have paper towel on the top, before the screen lid, so they can't escape and die. It will be easy to rear them, or so I have been told. They eat milkweed - I have plenty of plants in various stages of maturity. They grown for 2 weeks until they change to the chrysalis. Once in this chrysalis stage, they will remain there for 2 weeks then emerge as a full grown monarch butterfly!
    New habitat for raising monarchs.JPG
    I will add twigs to the inside for the caterpillars to climb on and then form their chrysalis on the branches or the top screen.
    I plan to post pics often of their progress. I hope I do a good job, and they all live!
     
    CountryEscape, Jul 11, 2015
    #1
    Miga Milan, barryian, miarob and 12 others like this.
    1. Advertisements

  2. CountryEscape

    DrCase Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    4,397
    Likes Received:
    775
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Way to go Country
     
    DrCase, Jul 11, 2015
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. CountryEscape

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    33,447
    Likes Received:
    18,166
    Location:
    Frederick, Maryland
    Good job!
     
    addy1, Jul 11, 2015
    #3
  4. CountryEscape

    Big Lou

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    4,523
    Likes Received:
    3,710
    Location:
    Desoto, Texas (Dallas County) North Texas, Zone 8a
    Such a great contribution to nature CE.
     
    Big Lou, Jul 12, 2015
    #4
  5. CountryEscape

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,696
    Likes Received:
    5,518
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    Monarch Mommy!

    Do you know what variety of milkweed you have? I have "swamp milkweed," so I can use it as a bog plant. The leaves look very much different from your plants. Also, mine haven't produced any flowers yet :( so I don't know if the plants have to be a certain "age" before they flower......
     
    Mmathis, Jul 12, 2015
    #5
  6. CountryEscape

    CometKeith

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    3,310
    Likes Received:
    2,808
    Location:
    Chicago Area
    Hey CE, Good luck with your catapillers. My neighbor grows a lot of milkweed and we get monarch catapillers too. I just put one catapiller in a jar with the milkweed leaf and when that one is eaten I put in another leaf. The only thing is if you forget to add one the catapillers will run out of food and die. When its time to release them I take the cover off and they fly away!
     
    CometKeith, Jul 12, 2015
    #6
    CountryEscape likes this.
  7. CountryEscape

    CountryEscape

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    7,144
    Likes Received:
    4,577
    Location:
    near Effingham, Illinois
    MM I have both the common milkweed and the swamp milkweed that a friend grew from seeds. The SM was given to me last year, and did not bloom. It is, however, blooming very nicely this year. I don't notice any pretty smell from that plant, but the butterflies and other bugs sure do like it. Never thought about putting it in my bog!!!
    Here is the common milkweed plant and seed pod. I'm saving seeds to give away, so PM me if you would like some seeds. I'll forget otherwise! They are easy to grow, and once you have a plant, it will spread by runners underground, so beware. They have deep roots, so if you find some in the road ditches, plan to bring a full sized shovel to get the roots.
    common milkweed plant.JPG common milkweed seed pod.JPG
    Then, this is the Swamp Milkweed, flower and then full plant. As I said, this plant doesn't seem to have the pretty smell like the common milkweed, which IMO rivals lilacs or honeysuckle! It's WONDERFUL!!! Hope this helps. And, thanks for tipping me off on the "swamp" milkweed going into the bog. Duh ... the name says it all. :)
    Swamp milkweed flower.JPG
    Swamp milkweed plant.JPG
     
    CountryEscape, Jul 12, 2015
    #7
    CometKeith, DrCase, Big Lou and 3 others like this.
  8. CountryEscape

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,696
    Likes Received:
    5,518
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    WOW! CE, that is one BIG plant! The leaves remind me of Magnolia leaves. I will PM you as I would like seeds. I've GOOGLED "common milkweed" recently, and they say it is especially good for the early-on-the-scene Monarchs as it tends to leaf out and bloom earlier than most. And yes, the articles did warn about the invasive root system, and also that it doesn't transplant well, so seeds would be great. I can't seem to find vendors who sell bare-root or potted plants.

    Wish my swamp MW would bloom! The plants are getting taller by the day, but I see no evidence of budding :(

    And good luck with raising the babies! Keep us posted on the progress!
     
    Mmathis, Jul 12, 2015
    #8
    CountryEscape likes this.
  9. CountryEscape

    Nepen

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    2,183
    Likes Received:
    1,320
    Location:
    NC, US
    Wow I didn't realized common milkweed is that tall!! I have plants that just came up around our land and I thought it's milkweed but now after seeing the picture Im not so sure I have milkweed. I'll have to go out and take a look again...
     
    Nepen, Jul 13, 2015
    #9
  10. CountryEscape

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,696
    Likes Received:
    5,518
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    @Nepen You might still have milkweed -- there are a lot of varieties, and they don't all look alike.
     
    Mmathis, Jul 13, 2015
    #10
    Nepen likes this.
  11. CountryEscape

    Nepen

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    2,183
    Likes Received:
    1,320
    Location:
    NC, US
    I realized that too but I always thought I have common milkweed and what I have is way smaller than the picture. No flower on them right now though, so can't be sure.
     
    Nepen, Jul 13, 2015
    #11
  12. CountryEscape

    Lisak1

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    6,760
    Likes Received:
    7,605
    Location:
    Northern IL
    We were in a local forest preserve over the weekend and it was LOADED with milkweed - a number of varieties. So good to see... and sniff!
     
    Lisak1, Jul 13, 2015
    #12
    CountryEscape likes this.
  13. CountryEscape

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,696
    Likes Received:
    5,518
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    http://www.livemonarch.com/growinginstructions.htm

    Whoa! I just read this info and they state there are over 160 varieties of milkweed! I knew there were a lot, but never knew there were that many. They also recommend [and I've read this in other places, as well] using a "tropical" milkweed variety if necessary, and if you live in more southern climates. Sometimes that will grow as a perinneal. So yours could be a variety that is very similar to the "common," or could be a "common," but looks different due to different growing conditions......different soil make up, sun exposure, etc.

    And I also didn't know that 1 Monarch caterpillar (one!!!) can eat up to 20+ large MW leaves! Hungry babies! @CountryEscape Are you prepared for all those little hungry appetites? Chomp, chomp, chomp!
     
    Mmathis, Jul 13, 2015
    #13
    CountryEscape and Nepen like this.
  14. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3,499
    Likes Received:
    5,699
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    [QUOTE="CountryEscape, post: 277469, member: 3087"Their flowers are the most aromatic of any plant I have ever had, rivaling lilacs even.[/QUOTE]

    You are absolutely right about its aroma. I was walking with my mom recently and she is a huge fan of the lilac smell. I told her about the Common Milkweed scent being nearly the same as lilac, but I'd say an even stronger smell. We found a patch while walking and sure enough, she agreed. She was surprised. That alone started to change her opinion about it being a weed. They've got a great smell. That's something most milkweed enthusiasts often forget to mention, because there are so many other great things about them.

    As far as bringing monarch caterpillars indoors, I've also considered bringing them in, but I would feel pretty guilty if they died. Although, last year I had two caterpillars and both disappeared when they were small. If I decide to bring some inside, it'll have to wait until more of my plants mature, so I know I'll have enough food to bring in for them. I haven't seen any caterpillars in my gardens yet this year.

    Also, if you don't have Asclepias tuberosa (Orange Milkweed) I would highly recommend it. I don't think I've ever seen a brighter orange flower. A photo can't show off how bright the flowers can get. It stays smaller than other milkweeds, around 2 feet tall. It's in my top 5 favorite plants.

    IMG_1400 (2) copy.jpg
     
    JBtheExplorer, Jul 13, 2015
    #14
  15. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3,499
    Likes Received:
    5,699
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    While you're out there, take a photo too so we can see it!
     
    JBtheExplorer, Jul 13, 2015
    #15
    Mmathis likes this.
  16. CountryEscape

    Dave 54

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Messages:
    6,273
    Likes Received:
    2,786
    Location:
    Plymouth
    Well done Country and I note you have one or two of the good books under your cabinet

    Dave
     
    Dave 54, Jul 13, 2015
    #16
  17. CountryEscape

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    33,447
    Likes Received:
    18,166
    Location:
    Frederick, Maryland
    I have a lot of the orange milkweed, planted by me and now seeding itself here and there. Love the color
     
    addy1, Jul 13, 2015
    #17
    JBtheExplorer likes this.
  18. CountryEscape

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,696
    Likes Received:
    5,518
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    Mmathis, Jul 13, 2015
    #18
  19. CountryEscape

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3,499
    Likes Received:
    5,699
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'm not sure, to be honest, I have a feeling the larger milkweeds are bigger attractors, but it is a milkweed, so if you plant it, they will come. Not to mention it's a just great looking plant in general to have around a garden or pond.
     
    JBtheExplorer, Jul 13, 2015
    #19
  20. CountryEscape

    Lisak1

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    6,760
    Likes Received:
    7,605
    Location:
    Northern IL
    @JBtheExplorer - I've seen this plant tagged as butterfly weed. Is it perennial?
     
    Lisak1, Jul 13, 2015
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.