Asked by: Banda Felicite
asked in category: General Last Updated: 28th April, 2020

Will monarch caterpillars eat giant milkweed?

I questioned whether native butterflies would lay eggs on the giant milkweed and whether the caterpillars would feed on such a large import, but the answer is yes on both counts. The monarch and queen butterflies will use this import as a host plant, too. There is enough leaf space to feed all who want to partake.

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Keeping this in consideration, will monarch caterpillars eat milkweed stems?

As you can see in the photo above, yes the caterpillars will eat the stems, but they will not last long with a hungry Monarch caterpillar. The only plant that the Monarch caterpillar eats is milkweed. Cut a stem and put it in some water and let the caterpillars have a feast.

One may also ask, what if Monarch caterpillars run out of milkweed? They really only eat milkweed, which is why the Monarch butterflies find the milkweed to lay their eggs on it. But if you run out of milkweed, at least the older caterpillars will eat butternut squash (and pumpkin I think), and will grow enough to then turn into chrysalises and then butterflies.

Beside this, can monarch caterpillars eat other plants?

Actually, no. Monarch caterpillars do only eat plants in the Milkweed family (Asclepias spp), so if we want to help them out in our wildlife gardens, we still need to add these plants to our gardens. Monarch caterpillars do not feed on tomato plants, despite what may seem like circumstantial evidence to the contrary.

How do you take care of giant milkweed?

Calotropis Gigantea Growing Tips:

  1. Overwinter in pots for annual zones. Be wary of overwatering.
  2. Mix perlite or sand into potting soil to improve drainage.
  3. If you don't want additional seedlings next spring, simply cut off the seed pods before they pop open or tie organza bags over them to collect milkweed tree seeds.

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