Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Mom.. I'm Hungry"

If monarch caterpillars could speak... that is what they would be saying this past few weeks.  Even after the cold days of January we have found monarch caterpillars on the poor remains of our milkweed plants.  And when the day warms up... they are very busy scouring the stalks for anything they can nibble on.  If they can find something remaining of your milkweed plants, they will even grow from their 1/8th inch to about 1 1/2 inches where they will then form their cocoon.  We have several like this hanging on horizontal surfaces in our back yard.  Most have turned quite dark; a sign they have frozen or otherwise died.
Given that the only plants the caterpillars can eat are some varieties of milkweed, times are tough during Houston's winter months.

Of course the most dedicated of the "Friends of the Monarchs" will find ways to provide assistance wherever possible. The problem is finding and keeping a supply of the plants, without spending $$$ helping Plants for All seasons build another addition to their nursery..

This is where "growing your own" can help.  Starting milkweed plants from cuttings, or seed is possible but requires some dedication.

In the last Horticulture Report for Norchester Garden Club, our Master Gardner describes some of the trick to the process. If you have an interest you can find a COPY HERE where you can read or download its two pages.

No comments: