Newly emerged butterfly

My butterfly emerged yesterday but did not fly away. I was worried last night so I put it in a covered jar with some sugar water in a lid and a piece of bread to stand on. I soaked a small portion of the bread with the sugar solution. This morning it is still alive and flexing the wings, so should I take it outside when the sun gets warmer? I am in Hawaii.

Karen says:
Yes, I would take it outside and let it fly away. It sometimes takes a while for the wings to dry after it emerges and for the butterfly to fly.

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Newly emerged butterfly

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Buterfly returned after flying away
by: Anonymous

We found a butterfly in our living room. Then we thought it had died. I touched it and it flew away, but a few hours later it returned flying over my head.

My question is...as I lost my son six months ago and am still grieving his loss, do you think this could be a sign from God?

Karen says:
I am very sorry for your loss. I think that God speaks to us in many ways and very often through nature. I cannot tell you whether this was a sign, but if you were comforted by the sight and return of this butterfly than I believe that God was a part of this little miracle :)

Milkweeds I grow in California
by: Carole, Spring Valley, CA

I don't know if I answered the question about which milkweeds do best in So Cal.

The milkweeds that have done the best for me are Asclepias curassavica and A. physocarpa. (I also have the form A. curassavica 'Silky Gold' which has gold flowers.)

The curassavica is also called Mexican Milkweed. It and the physocarpa seed easily here.

Asclepias physocarpa "Family Jewels Tree"--it's tall enough that the Monarchs sometimes also make a chrysalis on it. It's a tender perennial, and I have lost some in the winter, depending on how cold it is in that part of the yard.

I have Asclepias fascicularis which is a native, but the gophers really love it, and it went dormant again when it cooled off here. We've had strange weather--with it being 20 degrees hotter and then cooler than normal, back and forth.

Asclepias tuberosa (which is native to the Midwest) is doing okay here. (It's the only one that I know of that has been used medicinally--although it's not one I've used as an herbalist.)

I also have 2 Sarcostemma cynanchoides--Climbing Milkweed, Asclepiadaceae, native to CA. It's a vine with very narrow leaves. At least 2 of the guys I've hired to pull weeds have tried to pull it out! So far, they are both still alive. The new one I put where I can watch it better, and that one is doing well. The leaves and stems look like they wouldn't be big enough to support a hungry caterpillar.

I got Tweedia caerulea-Blue Flowered Milkweed--Asclepiadaceae last year. So far, it hasn't grown much, but is still alive. Hopefully I will get flowers and then seeds. Volunteers often seem to do much better than transplants.

Karen says:
Thanks so much for the detailed information Carole!

Names of California Milkweeds?
by: Anonymous

Carole,
Could you please tell me the names of the 3 milkweeds you have in your California garden and which one is the monarch's favorite?

I think the website visitors from California would be very interested in this information!

Thanks,
Karen

Butterfly returning to same plant & re Asclepias
by: Carole

I don't think that's always the case or those of us who have started planting the right kinds of plants for butterflies in the last few years would never get a lot of butterflies in our yards.

On another subject--I have one CA native milkweed--Asclepias fascicularis--which not only the butterflies love, but the gophers, too. I bought 2 plants in the last year and put one in the ground and the other in a pot. I'm afraid the gophers have moved into the part of the yard where I put this and may have already eaten that one. The one in a pot is doing just fine.

I had rosemaries and oleanders on that slope for years, but they started looking bad. On the other hand, the gophers didn't bother them! Having a new area for planting, I put in native and other drought tolerant plants. It's much prettier now--and the birds and butterflies really like it.

I have a Passionflower vine for the Gulf Frittalaries, Cassias or Sennas (the name has changed--not sure which is right) for the yellow sulphur butterflies, and then the 3 kinds of Asclepias plus Sarcostemma cynanchoides, called Clmbing Milkweed which is another CA native.

I've seen pictures of it online, and hopefully will have that blooming in my yard some day soon!


New butterfly
by: AnonymousLani

Thanks Karen! I waited until it was warm and he fluttered happily away. What a great moment!
Is it true that monarch butterflies return to the same bush where they hatched to lay eggs?

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