Finally! After many years of growing butterflyweed, aka Asclepias tuberosa, I finally have found monarch caterpillars!!! Each year I would hunt for the cats but never found any. There was always plenty of Milkweed Tussock Caterpillars but never any monarch. Finally, they are here.
There are quite a few of them too. These cats are small and are probably third instars as they are not even an inch long. I planted five small butterflyweed plants in a front garden about a month ago and these are the plants hosting the monarchs. I checked my wild butterflyweed (planted and grown by Mother Nature), but could not find any monarchs on those plants.
Each plant had one of two monarch cats happily munching away and not paying any attention to the photographer.
This one is just below a section of one plant that was already eaten. Note the frass in the crotches of the leaves. I purchased these small plants in Ohio last month. It is hard to find good butterflyweed plants growing in pots because they have tuberous roots which can have difficulties growing in pots for too long of a time. These plants were in 4" square pots and were only about 6" tall. The seedpod you see was from the blooms that were on the plants when I purchased them. Right now the plants are coming into a second bloom cycle with lots of new foliage.
I am simply thrilled to have monarch caterpillars and have applied for our garden to become a certified monarch waystation.
The butterfly weed also is hosting a few milkweed bugs.
Lastly, the 'Henry Eiler' coneflowers are blooming up a storm....
in the garden....just for the butterflies.