Monarch caterpillars not eating milk weed

by Jeana
(Houston, Texas)

I bought milk weed from two different nurseries for my caterpillars. They were not eating the first plants I got, so I bought more which they have almost stripped now, yet they will not get on the first set of plants I bought.

Is there something out there that nurseries put on plants so the caterpillars won't eat them? (there were no caterpillars when I bought the plants - had to go to a different nursery to find those.) Also, my other thought was that my mother put some liquid foliar feeding on the plants not too long ago. I tried to wash the leaves but I'm thinking that may be the problem also. Any ideas? Thanks!

Karen says:
That is very interesting. Is it possible that the plant was mislabeled and not really a milkweed or do you recognize it as a milkweed?

As far as the nurseries putting something on the plant (chemical?)....I suppose that is possible although I have never had that problem with the many milkweed plants I have bought from nurseries. I also wouldn't think the plant food should make a difference.

If you are sure this is a milkweed plant, maybe you could try giving the plant a good "shower" outside to wash off anything that might be offensive to the caterpillars.

I would guess the common milkweed plants would be up in Texas. Could you look for some on the roadside and bring home leaves for your caterpillars to eat?

I hope this helps.

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