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Old 05-28-2018, 11:02 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,751 posts, read 7,030,085 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiluvr1228 View Post
All of this started when I was in the plant nursery a few months back and saw a milkweed plant and asked about it simply because I thought it was pretty. The employee told me about the Monarch butterflies and how they are endangered and how their caterpillars will only eat milkweed so I bought the one plant. I didn't even realize we had Monarchs in Florida. Well I started seeing a few Monarchs after a couple of weeks so then I went out and bought two more and bought one for my sister. It seemed like such a simple thing I could do and I wish more people would plant milkweed. Then Saturday I got the two additional ones.


This morning I noticed 4 chrysalis' in the screened in patio, 2 outside the patio and one on the milkweed plant itself. I will need to keep on eye on them so when they emerge I can set them free when their wings dry.


I have never seen pink milkweed in any of the garden centers or nurseries around here. They apparently only sell the multi colored ones. Perhaps they are the Florida species. I was told when the plants are bare to cut them down to about 12 inches and they will come back.
We planted milkweed plants a couple years ago along the edge of the lanai screen outside, and attracted quite a few monarch butterflies that laid their eggs on the plants, and also on the screens! Saw quite a few larvae, pupae (chrysalis) on both the plants and screens, and a number of them grew into adult butterflies. We didn't know at first that the milkweed is the host plant for the young, ie the adult butterflies don't eat the nectar from the flowers, but lay their eggs on the plant which is then eaten by the young as they go through their developmental stages, and of course they decimated the milkweed plants. We thought of planting more milkweed, but didn't do so as we noted the seeds from the plants (the fluffies with the seeds attached) spread with the breezes all over the area. A year or so later, we have a bunch of very healthy looking milkweed plants ( ours are yellow/orange) that are now growing up and attracting more monarch butterflies. We also planted some firebush hedges along the area, figuring that their flowers can provide food for the adult monarchs and other butterflies. We have also seen some honey bees-there are hives in the general area- other species of butterflies, and rarely a hummingbird checking these out too.
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Old 05-28-2018, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow in "OZ "
23,894 posts, read 22,814,474 times
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They also like Paw-Paw Trees.. Check your grow zone..
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Old 05-29-2018, 06:10 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
10,287 posts, read 4,862,753 times
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They have chewed the milkweed plant I put outside completely bare and there are a few chrysalis on the nearby Frangipani. However the one I brought into the screen in front patio still has a few leaves on it and I have 14 chrysalis in there! They are beautiful, it's hard to believe the intricacy of it. It is green but has a think gold band at the top where it is connected. I do see the seed pods. You're saying I can plant those for more bushes?
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Old 05-29-2018, 06:22 AM
 
Location: S. FL (hell for me-wife loves it)
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Yes. The seed pods will ripen, and split open to offer up little cotton-puffed (to catch the wind) tails with a seed attached
at each end. The fluff can be quite daunting, but the seed at each end of the 'parachute' will make you a new plant.
I found with milkweed, the sooner it is planted the more viable. Because the seed will be flat, don't bury it too deeply.
Just barely scratch surface of new pot, and add seed. Fresh seeds begin to emerge as seedlings anywhere from 1 week to a month, depending upon species.

I have found it easier to avoid the fluff getting loose everywhere, by bagging each pod I want to keep in an organza bag.
That will also stop the voracious caterpillars from eating the seedpods, which they will. Oh, and don't forget the notorious black and red milkweed bugs. The organza bag over pod will help stop them too.

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=is...gKg20E#imgrc=_


Whatever you do, let nature take it's course. Don't ever spray anything on the milkweed, as you may harm ladybug lions (nymphs of ladybugs) who eat milkweed bugs. You could also accidentally spray off a monarch caterpillar.

If the milkweed bugs become too intense, I just squish them between my fingers, as a group. They gravitate to fresh pods and new stems/flowers.

As mentioned, good luck, and glad you are looking into butterfly gardening. They need all the help they can get

Last edited by TerraDown; 05-29-2018 at 07:14 AM..
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Old 05-29-2018, 06:45 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
10,287 posts, read 4,862,753 times
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I have those black/red bugs! I was wondering why they were only on the milkweed. I do see those pods and I will plant the seeds. What size pot? I don't have any left so I need to pick some up. Will regular potting soil work?


I'm enjoying saving an endangered species. Never knew they were endangered and I thought they were only out in the western part of the country. I may have seen some National Geographic where they discussed the annual migration from Mexico north or was it the other way around? Anyway, it gave me the impression that they were not in Florida.
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:00 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
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Last edited by chiluvr1228; 05-29-2018 at 07:00 AM.. Reason: Look at the gold at the top - just amazing!
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:08 AM
 
Location: S. FL (hell for me-wife loves it)
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Like the monarchs, the milkweed bugs gravitate to 'Pleurisy plant' (a common name for milkweed/asclepias)
because of the white sap, which after ingested by the two insects, gives them protection from predators.

Any soil will do, a good potting soil is fine. They make deep roots, so buy a planter pot that is taller more than wide. As soon as you see roots peeking out the bottom of said planter, plant in the ground, if you are able.

*There are now considered two 'species' of monarchs. The original which makes her wonderful migratory journey from Canada back into Mexico...and the sub species, which inhabits S Fla. The pennisula is so long, that many Scientists believe they actually do not migrate at all, but live here year round.

If you do this right Ms. Chili, you will also draw in Queen butterflies, Cuban butterflies, and many other lovely winged jewels. Don't forget our native Gulf fritillaries.

Last edited by TerraDown; 05-29-2018 at 07:21 AM..
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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I planted tropical milkweed plants for the monarchs last year and this year I have hundreds of plants coming up from the seeds they spread. That is terrific what you are doing, and I recommend getting some tropical milkweed seeds to increase your milkweed supply.
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:19 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
10,287 posts, read 4,862,753 times
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Terra - I did touch one with my pinkie, ever so lightly. I hope that didn't cause damage but I was so in awe of it I was like a little kid. Someone stepped on one in the lanai that was on the ground and I felt awful when I saw it. I've reminded everyone to be careful when they go out the front door.


My sister lives across the river and I gave her 5 of my caterpillars a few weeks ago for her one milkweed plant. Unfortunately she told me yesterday she has some kind of large frog/toad that she thinks may be eating the caterpillars. I know the birds won't bother them but we have Bufo toads here that are huge and poisonous. The more people I can get to plant milkweed the better so I'm going to talk to a few neighbors too.
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Old 05-29-2018, 09:59 AM
 
26,632 posts, read 19,039,583 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiluvr1228 View Post
Terra - I did touch one with my pinkie, ever so lightly. I hope that didn't cause damage but I was so in awe of it I was like a little kid. Someone stepped on one in the lanai that was on the ground and I felt awful when I saw it. I've reminded everyone to be careful when they go out the front door.


My sister lives across the river and I gave her 5 of my caterpillars a few weeks ago for her one milkweed plant. Unfortunately she told me yesterday she has some kind of large frog/toad that she thinks may be eating the caterpillars. I know the birds won't bother them but we have Bufo toads here that are huge and poisonous. The more people I can get to plant milkweed the better so I'm going to talk to a few neighbors too.
i doubt a toad would be able to climb the milkweed to get to the caterpillars...
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