Taking Care of Milkweed when Raising Monarchs.

by Felecia
(Warren, OH)

I'm attempting to raise monarch butterflies. I picked milkweed leaves (7/8/2010), I tried the method of standing them up in a little water to keep the leave from drying out. It is now 7/13/2010 and the water has turned brown, is it okay. I also tried the method on putting the leaves in a plastic container with moist paper towels and it looks like mold or moss is growing on the paper towels. How long should I wait before I throw them out to start over OR is it to late in the season.

Karen says:

It is easier to pick a stem or branch of milkweed and stick it in water in a narrow necked vase. Make sure and re-cut the stem right before you put it in water and sometimes you have to cut it another time. Refresh the water every couple of days. Putting the stems on the paper towel is something I only do when I find an egg and are waiting for it to hatch (which usually doesn't take long. Then I find a branch or stem of milkweed an do as I mentioned above.
I hope this helps.

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Enclosing Monarchs
by: DJ

Around June I plant milkweed seeds in inch pots, I plant enough to put them in a enclosure I made and refill as needed . The plants do grow new leaves. When the caterpillars are bigger I take a piece of tulle and surround the large milkweed in the garden. I put a stick near the plant for support. I lay it around loosely and tuck the side edge together and pin with a safety pin. Then I tie a string around the stick and plant together and tie the top the same way. this worked well in that you can clean, check and remove when needed. When they have almost finish the plant I remove them to another. Keep in mind to keep like sizes together the larger ones will eat the smaller ones. When they chrysalis on top I cut the tulle with it hanging I hang it in another enclosure. good luck DJ

Containers for Milkweed
by: susie porcella

I use zip loc containers and make hole with a hole puncher. Use two - three punches depending on the size of your stem of milkweed. Also make the holes around the four corners. Tends to last a couple of days giving the caterpillars constant food. Until they eat it all depending on how many caterpillars you have.

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