Monarch butterflies are just like us. They need food, a place to rest, and a place for their young.
A PLACE TO REST:
Twigs and leaves next to the host plants provide a place to rest and recover from long flights.
Isn't this one beautiful?
This one had an antenna missing and was so tired I could pick it up.
I found two today and both were resting.
Even with bright coloration they blend in.
The menu for mom and dad monarchs include purple lantana.
Black-foot daisies are just starting to open, so that will also be on the menu soon.
In general, these plants have been good nectar sources here:
Rudbeckia (sunflower family)
Mist Flower (small, lavender)
FOOD FOR THE CATERPILLARS
Monarch caterpillars have a one track mind and it's all about milkweeds. There are many types of milkweed to choose from. I've read that there are 140 species native to North America. I had A. curassavica this year and it bloomed all winter.
I was fortunate to have two monarch way stations; one at my home and one up at our church. Since these plants were stripped and my other garden had plenty of leaves, I transported the lively group over to my house.
If you look closely, you'll see one caterpillar next to the last leaves(right side of picture).
Plant at least a dozen butterflyweeds to ensure that there's enough food. The plants easily regrow their leaves and seem adapted to this routine.
Here they come!
A PLACE FOR THEIR YOUNG
After the caterpillars are finished with their one course buffet, they'll need a place to hide. And HIDE they will.
My favorite story is about a farmer that could not find a single chrysalis on any bush or plant. One day he had to climb under his tractor for repairs. When he looked up, lo and behold, there were dozens of them latched to the metal fenders!
Let's see if we can find some.
There's one on this agave.
And there's one hidden on this agave as well. I found a third one, then lost it again. Oh well!
Do not touch a caterpillar in this 'J' position. It's not sick. It's getting ready to turn into this:
A Monarch chrysalis from my garden. The stripe and the dots look like liquid gold.
If you type free butterfly font, you'll find this nifty font to download.
Or you can click here and scroll down to the third font.
Hope you feel inspired to try a Monarch Way Station this year.
You can make your own Monarchville. It's easy and fun!
Thanks for stopping by!