En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Thursday - November 17, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Locating milkweed to feed larvae of Monarch butterfly
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Samantha Elkinton

QUESTION:

A monarch butterfly on her way south, stopped and laid her eggs on a tropical milkweed. The larvae have hatched and now I want to insure their survival, but I only had 1 plant which they have stripped. Do you know where I might find milkweed (any variety) either in the wild or for purchase in the Austin area?

ANSWER:

Our butterfly gardener says that there are two types of Monarchs in Texas. One is the well-known migrating butterfly, which lays eggs along the migration path south in the fall and usually does not survive the entire trip. The offspring, however, will continue to move south once they have reached the butterfly stage. Texas also has a nonmigratory population of Monarchs that can breed year-round.

You might be able to find some members of the Family Asclepidaceae (Milkweed family) with foliage still present. You probably can still find Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) along stream banks or other wet areas. Also, one of the Matelea spp. should still be around. I saw Pearl Milkweed Vine (Matelea reticulata) growing in my neighbor's yard today. The Scarlet, or Tropical Milkweed ) Asclepias curassavica, native to South America, is a popular nursery plant and is evergreen. It is likely that you could find it or some other milkweed plant for sale at an Austin nursery. You can visit the National Suppliers Directory on our web page to find nurseries in Austin that specialize in native plants.

If you can get your larvae fed and into the pupal stage (which lasts only about one week), the adults that emerge should survive to produce more monarchs.
 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Purple Passionflower as a native in Charlottesville VA
September 18, 2013 - Is it possible to grow purple passion flower as a perennial in zone 7? I am looking for hummers and butterflies to be attracted by the plant. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Optimum pruning time for butterfly garden
April 18, 2005 - I am planting a butterfly garden that I would like to be pretty as well as beneficial for butterflies. If I am going to have both host plants and nectar plants in the garden and the butterflies will b...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Bush Alternatives in New Egypt NJ
June 14, 2015 - I have a Non Native Butterfly Bush near my house. I heard that it could be invasive. What alternative plants could replace this bush as it is a butterfly magnet in late summer. Swallowtales and monarc...
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive plants for hummingbird and butterfly garden
January 20, 2009 - Hello :) I've been building a huge Hummingbird and Butterfly garden. Up until now I've only had the Milkweeds and Dill for host plants for the Monarch and Black Swallowtail Butterflies. I'd love t...
view the full question and answer

Making a perennial cutting garden friendly to butterflies.
February 05, 2016 - I would like to start a perennial cutting garden friendly to butterflies Where can I get a list of plants .
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center