If it were me, I would wait. I do recommending checking the plants for caterpillars every now and then.
If you want a fun project then order the caterpillars. It is really fun watching them happily munching the milkweed leaves. If you decide to order them, I would suggest having enough leaves to feed them.
Invasive plants are Earth's way of insisting we notice her medicines.
Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work.
After tasting what a great set of vegetables milkweed provides I decided I really wanted to grow them....then poof, they appeared in a bright section of my forest garden. You've got to love perennial vegetables that just blow on in with the winds :)
Besides having these tasty vegetables (spring shoots, flower buds, and pods) growing, and even planting themselves, with no help, the other stacking feature I was looking for was support for Monarch butterflies. I was walking by yesterday and noticed an adult Monarch hitting the flowers so I looked around and, yes!!!, their caterpillars are now also in my milkweed patch. Here are a couple of pics from this morning....aren't they beautiful!
Biochar maker/enthusiast whose mind wants to dance, but whose body is a really awkward white guy.
Pics of my Forest Garden
The mature caterpillars will go wandering when they are ready to form a chrysalis, so if you find large caterpillars on other things like that fig it is probably fine to let them keep searching for a perfect place to pupate. :)
Had a wonderful year raising monarch caterpillars (388 resulting butterflies tagged and released) along with 181 wild caught butterflies. Fewer than 1% of monarch tags ever get recovered and reported so we expect to learn what happened to maybe four or five. One has already been reported in North Carolina that is many hundreds of miles south of us i(where NY, VT & MA meet).
Some lessons learned:
1. Caterpillars have lots of enemies: sucking critters like stinkbugs and spiders; Raising them inside behind a bright window boosts their rate of survival.
2. Feed caterpillars sprigs of fresh milkweed every day but wedge in flexible foam above water to keep leaves vibrant (otherwise caterpillars can sink and drown);
3. Periodically harvest a quarter of outdoor milkweed patches to promote new growth: all but a few of our caterpillars originated on plants less than three weeks old. Thousand of older milkweeds never had a caterpillar!
4. Chrysalises must hang from a horizontal surface: emerging butterflies can't develop flat wings unless they can hang them straight down as they harden. Glue loose chrysalises to toothpicks and suspend them from a wood "tree" (use wood glue: hot melt glue will cook them)
5. If they are not ready to fly, release butterflies on the leeward side of the trunk of a tree or other stable surface. Breezes may make them fall if placed on swinging branches or flexible plants.
6. Tags for the underside of a rear wing may be purchased from: https://monarchwatch.org/ and this organization will keep you informed of reported sightings of those you tag. They also have lots of information on Monarchs and their food.
Interesting things I write about: sunsavingfossils.blogspot.com
Absolutely stunning photos. Thank you so much for sharing them.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
If you settle for what they are giving you, you deserve what you get. Fight for this tiny ad!
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