From:Austin, TX Region: Southwest Topic: Butterfly Gardens Title: Locating milkweed to feed larvae of Monarch butterfly Answered by: Nan Hampton and Samantha Elkinton
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?
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
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
Information for constructing a butterfly observation building December 19, 2008 - I am looking for information on the construction of an indoor butterfly observation building and am having no luck. Thought I would take a chance and ask you.
view the full question and answer
Bright yellow butterfly in Austin October 10, 2008 - What is the name of the small bright yellow butterfly that is dancing all over Austin at this time of year? view the full question and answer
Winter trim-back of plants in butterfly garden January 05, 2007 - I had a wonderful butterfly garden this past spring, summer, and fall. This was its first year of planting. Should I trim the plants that have died back due to frost? I'm worried about destroying ... view the full question and answer
Maintenance of milkweed from Austin September 12, 2013 - I help plant and maintain a Monarch Waystation Garden in San Leanna, Texas (South Austin). Should milkweed plants be cut back during the winter? Last year we cut them back a bit late and some died c... view the full question and answer