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.
Subsequently, question is, what type of milkweed do monarch caterpillars eat?
Monarch Caterpillars Eat Two Types of Milkweed Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a showy, bright orange perennial that gardeners usually prefer for their flower beds. But don’t limit yourself to these two common species; there are dozens of milkweed varieties to plant, and monarch caterpillars will munch them all.
Do all milkweed plants have pods?
Likewise, do Monarch caterpillars eat Honeyvine milkweed? The former is frequently cited as an important host plant for larvae of the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus L. (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), while the latter is rarely mentioned in this regard. Our results indicate that both common milkweed and honeyvine milkweed are suitable hosts for monarch larvae.
Monarchs caterpillars only eat milkweed. If monarch eggs are laid on plants other than milkweed, the caterpillars cannot survive and ultimately starve to death. Monarch caterpillars rely on milkweed plants and that’s why female monarchs choose to lay their eggs on milkweed plants.
Before we begin, meet milkweed, a beautiful plant, where monarchs lay their eggs. Want some for your yard? Investigate what species is right for where you live.
Myth #2: Monarch caterpillars eat more than milkweed.
The good news? Milkweed does NOT taste good.
Milkweed is a beneficial wildflower. It may have “weed” in the name, but there are over 100 species of milkweed native to the United States and none of them are considered “noxious weeds”. While milkweed can grow quickly, planting species local to your region and researching a bit about growing patterns is a good way to ensure it won’t take over your yard.
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on just one type of plant, and that’s milkweed (genus Asclepias). Unfortunately, milkweed often has a bad reputation. While awareness is rising around the importance of milkweed (as well as other native plants) for pollinators we want to clear up any misconceptions. Because the fact is, planting the right species of milkweed for your area can be a huge help to monarchs and a number of other species.
Honey vine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve): This vining milkweed has heart-shaped leaves, clear sap and small white clusters of sweet-smelling flowers. It tends to be weedy, with vines growing up to 33 feet long.
“They get stuck and they pick up this pollen,” Koehler said. “Then they go to another plant and they might slip again and deposit that pollen.”
Most milkweeds are full of a milky, toxic sap (though the sap of some milkweeds is clear).
According to Koehler, now’s an excellent time to sow milkweed. The plant’s seeds have a thick outer layer, which needs the repeated freezing and thawing it’ll experience during a Missouri winter to weaken and allow the baby plant to emerge in spring.
Last week, Koehler gave a virtual presentation on the many species of milkweed, their role in nature and the threats milkweed — and the monarch caterpillars the plants host — face.
Despite their varied habitats, milkweed species share a few key features.
“If a bird was to eat the caterpillar or butterfly, because of the toxin, it makes them sick and they regurgitate,” Koehler said. “They learn very quickly to pay attention to caterpillars and their colors to make sure they don’t eat this particular monarch caterpillar because they know it’s going to make them sick.”