Euphorbias & the Monarch Butterfly

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  • #12816

    HeatherCrofskey
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    Hello All, does anyone know if any of the Euphorbias would be useful for the Monarch caterpillars please? Found a very informative site for nectar sources & it listed E. variegata. Must say haven’t seen any Monarchs on the small growing E. plant I have in the garden(name escapes me for now). Any other food plants for the caterpillars you know of which will attract the Monarchs would be much appreciated. Or are they only interested in the swan plant? Enjoying the Monarch Trust Forums very much, thanks to Jacqui!! Am a "newbie" at this Forum participation! Many thanks. Heather

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  • #16036

    Shaun
    Participant

    Hi Gilly, forgot to check back on this thread. 🙂

    No sign of life from the buddleias yet but I live in hope. I have them all stuck firmly in damp dirt and check them to see if they need more water everyday. Some are looking rather sad but, as you said, they can do that and then come to life! Fingers crossed.

    Thanks again. 🙂

    Shaun.

    #16017

    HeatherCrofskey
    Participant

    Hello Gilly, thank you for your very kind offer. I would love some Tweedia seeds. Jacqui has my address. I see on one site I visited that Queen Anne’s Lace is an excellent source of nectar for the butterflies. I grew it for one season but was a bit on the large size for the space I had available. I now grow Orlaya grandiflora which is the miniature version of Q.A.L.(it still grows 18″-24″ tall by 18″ wide!), and suits my spaces admirably so hopefully the butterflies will be attracted to it. I think I have some seed from last year if you would like some. Just noticed this afternoon that the self-sown Orlaya grandiflora is already up in the north-west garden! Happy days, Heather

    #16016

    HeatherCrofskey
    Participant

    Hello Shaun, no, I didn’t know the moth plant was a cruel one!! Thank you for the history which I find fascinating. Even though I’m a geriatric one can always learn something, which is so exhilerating! Will plant only butterfly & caterpillar friendly plants! In the past few days have transferred more than 50 caterpillars to my 3 largest swan plants. They had munched their way through 5 0r 6 young plants which I had hoped to grow on throught the winter! I have plants growing in 6 or so different positions around the garden & the 5 east-facing plants are the last to be “found” by the butterflies whilst the north-west ones have been stripped by the caterpillars first! Happy days, Heather

    #15975

    Gilly
    Participant

    Heather, I have some tweedia seeds if you want some….

    Misfit… I don’t grow moth vine but if I am short on swan plant, I pick it for the cats and I do remove the flowers….any sign of life on your buddleia cuttings yet? 🙂 🙂 😉

    #15970

    Shaun
    Participant

    Heather, do you know why Moth Vine (also known as Cruel Plant or Moth Catcher)is so called? The flowers are actually moth/butterfly traps, they catch the moths and butterflies by the mouthparts so that they can’t escape and finally die of dehydration and exhaustion. Hence the name, they are often covered in moths. They *do* catch monarchs too. If you are going to grow this in a monarch-friendly garden please snip all flower-buds off before they form.
    From what I can tell, it’s not much better than pumpkin as an alternate food source (but some first-hand reporting would be good). In other words, it’s only 4th instar caterpillars that really have any chance of surviving through to become healthy adult butterflies when feeding on it.

    Cheers,

    Shaun.

    #15967

    HeatherCrofskey
    Participant

    Hello Gilly, great! Thank you for that. Have tried pumpkin some years ago, but there seemed to be a lot of mal-formed butterflies about so I blamed the pumpkin & stopped feeding them on it. Will source some moth vine & tweedia over the next months. Once again many thanks. Heather

    #15963

    Gilly
    Participant

    Hi Heather! To my knowledge Euphorbia is not a food plant for the monarch caterpillars. The caterpillars will eat moth vine and tweedia and you will see in a previous posting that they will eat pumpkin.

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