Butterflies in the Making

“Butterflies in the Making”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


My butterfly bush (Asclepias currassvica) has been blooming for weeks, but only flowers, no butterflies showing any interest in them.  I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t have any butterfly larvae showing up this year, but that fear was allayed yesterday when I spotted this.


Catepillars 1 (redu)


And this.


Catepillar 2 (redu)


These are the only caterpillars that don’t bother me when they show up in the garden because they will turn into beautiful butterflies.  They only stay on the butterfly weed bushes that I have growing in several places in the back garden, and I have never found them on any other plants.  They certainly can do a number on the butterfly weed though, as the next photo shows – plant stripped bare.


Butterfly Weed Stalk (redu)


But, I don’t worry about the butterfly weed.  Even when it is stripped bare by the caterpillars, it isn’t very long before they put out a new flush of leaves waiting for the next round of “butterflies in the making” to start munching.


  1. Robin said,

    June 20, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I’m not seeing future butterflies on my butterfly weed yet. Not seeing too many bees or butterflies this year. I hope that changes as the weather warms more.

    • Jan said,

      June 20, 2009 at 9:21 am

      Robin, it seemed that the butterflies were late showing up this year here, too. It may be because we had a cool spring. I still am not seeing that many, but I am sure that will change once these little guys morph into butterflies.

  2. June 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    So happy to see the caterpillars, Jan! We’ve not seen any yet here; the eastern Tiger Swallowtails are around, though, so that’s a good sign. of course, milkweed is slow to wake here, so the monarchs don’t come on til later in the season.

    • Jan said,

      June 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm

      Jodi, I’ve seen the Tiger Swallowtails and Gulf Fritillary butterflies only recently here. I was happy to see the caterpillars and had been looking for them for a while.

  3. Sheila said,

    June 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I haven’t noticed any activity on my butterfly weed yet, but I think I will take a closer look. Maybe I just haven’t noticed them!

    • Jan said,

      June 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm

      Sheila, I had been looking for caterpillars but evidently missed them until they were a good size. Though I have to admit with all our hot weather, I have not been out in the garden paying close attention to things as I usually do.

  4. June 21, 2009 at 1:19 am

    I never see what they eat – they do it in secret or at the neighbors, then they appear suddenly – I love it.
    So far I haven’t seen too many. Maybe because it is raining like crazy most of the time.

    • Jan said,

      June 21, 2009 at 4:50 am

      Ewa, these are the only ones I see in the garden. I guess one of the reasons is that they blend in so well with the foliage they are eating.

  5. Jennifer said,

    September 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I recently moved to Bush La and bought several butterfly bushes which proceeded to swiftly die within a week or two…I would love to get more of these bushes but do not know what I did wrong and would not want to spend the money just to have them die again. Do you have any suggestions I have heard ghat these bushes are supposed to be easy to grow…

    • Jan said,

      September 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Jennifer, I have never had much luck with butterfly bushes. I had a few that lasted one summer and came back the next year, but they died before summer was over. My sister also has not had any success with them either. I don’t see them growing in any gardens around here either. This summer has been terribly dry and newly planted plants had a rough time. If you want to try again, I would plant one very soon or wait until spring and then make sure it is well watered. I have had great success with a different butterfly bush – Buddleia lindleyana. Here is a post I did last year about this.

      • Jan said,

        September 8, 2011 at 4:57 am

        Jennifer, I just realized you may be referring to butterfly weed not butterfly bush. When I saw your comment, it was not in this posting. If it is butterfly weed as this post shows, I would try again with new plants. It probably was the super dry weather we had that would have made newly planted ones die. They don’t call this “weed” for nothing. It should grow well where you are once it gets established.

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