Monarch Butterflies Nectar On Asclepias curassavicaMilkweed
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:

monarch egg on milkweed leaf
The milkweed to the left is Asclepias curassavica, 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 is 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. Monarch and Queen Butterflies use it too.
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars on Asclepias Curassavica Milkweed
This Queen Butterfly Caterpillar also came to nibble on my  Asclepias curassavica Milkweed.
Giant Milkweed Flower, Calotropis procera or gigantea
Whitevine Milkweed Flower
This White Vine Milkweed, another non-native, grows where I took some of my Soldier Butterfly photos. 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 lady-bug larvae and they EAT the aphids!) helps to control them.

queen butterfly caterpillar
Whitevine Milkweed
milkweed beetles on milkweed seedpods
milkweed beetle
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