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

Will Butterfly Plant Survive in Mansfield, Texas
January 06, 2012 - I have a butterfly plant that was very successful (about 4 feet tall) right up until the cold snap three weeks ago. I've read they have a tap root, so I'm hoping it will come back next spring. Mea...
view the full question and answer

Will recycled tire mulch harm butterfly larvae?
December 05, 2012 - I discovered orange butterfly larva in the hardwood mulch under my Turk's Cap. Will it harm the larva if I switch over to recycled tire mulch?
view the full question and answer

Effects or insecticide on Monarch butterflies
July 28, 2013 - Thank you for fielding questions about plants!! Our nursery just informed us that their milkweed grower was using imidacloprid in their milkweed production. As a follow up to the question already in...
view the full question and answer

Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
July 30, 2012 - We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
view the full question and answer

Creating a garden based on fragrance
May 04, 2012 - I would like to know which Fragrant Flowers are easy to grow and hearty for the climate i live in. Eastern part of washington state. Desert like in summer, warm summers.
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center