Monarch and Queen Butterflies
are a great choice for a first time butterfly gardener;
both need Milkweed. They're
big enough to see, and stick around long enough to enjoy. The long
distance Monarch Butterfly migrations increase your chances of their finding your garden.
To get Monarch Butterflies, plant this common milkweed; it's that easy. Eventually a monarch
will fly by and lay eggs under the leaves like the one shown below, and
they'll hatch into these wonderful caterpillars:
The milkweed to the left is Asclepias
, also called Butterfly
Weed. It's not native to Florida, but it's so good for butterflies that
I keep some in my yard anyway. It also comes with yellow flowers. It's so easy to grow that you could call
it hard to kill.
This purple flowered Giant Milkweed
another non-native. I have one, but I think it's in a spot that's too
wet, because it isn't doing well at all.
use it too.
This Queen Butterfly Caterpillar
also came to nibble on my Asclepias curassavica Milkweed.
This White Vine Milkweed
, another non-native, grows where I took some of
my Soldier Butterfly
The Soldiers don't like the Asclepias Milkweed
, but I understand
that they'll eggs on this White Vine.
I'm still looking for a caterpillar on it.
Milkweed seed pods attract these Milkweed Beetles
too; read on:
HUH? What's THAT!? This was a milkweed page, right? Well....yes, and
this creature will find your milkweed, probably before the butterflies
do. It's ok, it won't hurt you.
The milkweed beetles
keep the Asclepias curassavica from becoming a
nuisance plant by destroying the seeds. I hate the beetles, so I've
started clipping off the seed pods into baggies before the baby beetles
(eggs are laid in the seed pods) grow up and infest my plants. I also
put on thin gloves, catch the little bugs, and drop them into a zip-lock
baggie for disposal. It's GROSS!!! They fly, so I have to toss them in
the bag, shake them to the bottom corner, and pinch the corner closed to
keep them from flying out (or worse, crawling on me!) when I toss the
next one in. If you want seeds you'll need to let the pods mature, but
be prepared for the beetles. At least they don't seem to bite.
Aphids are also a bit of a problem, but gloved hand-squishing (while
being careful not to mash the little black bugs because they're
larvae and they EAT the aphids!) helps to control them.