Anyone who has watched Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed knows just how fast the leaves disappear.
The photo below shows bare stems of my milkweed plant after hungry caterpillars devoured the blossoms, leaves and some stems!
Yes, Milkweed Propagates From Cuttings!
Because it had been cold, I decided to take a couple of cuttings from the milkweed growing in my front garden bed. I wanted to see if it would root, just in case the plant froze. And yes, it did!
I planted those stems, once they grew plenty of roots, and went out to cut a few more.
Little did I know that those second cuttings also contained eggs that turned into little caterpillars. They began eating my cuttings.
Once the leaves were gone on my two cuttings, I took the caterpillars outside to put them onto the milkweed in the backyard.
First New Milkweed Plant From Cuttings
This little milkweed plant came from my first cuttings taken in January. This plant currently has no leaves either, thanks to the caterpillars.
Once the leaves were gone from the new plant, I took the caterpillars to a final plant. After this one, I had no more milkweed.
Alternative Food for Monarch Caterpillars
If you search online, you will find that there are options for feeding these caterpillars when their food supply (milkweed) is gone.
I am not raising caterpillars in my house. These are wild, and although I felt badly that they ate all the leaves from ALL of my plants, I did my best.
I did see them chowing down on the butternut squash shavings, but one of the bigger guys crawled away. I can only hope he will create a cocoon some place.
We Need More Milkweed
I have previously purchased milkweed plants at the local Home Depot. Currently, I don’t have a car so I haven’t been to the store. I called a local nursery but she said it’s too early for the growers to provide them with milkweed. Hmmmmm….
My goal is to create more new milkweed plants myself, by propagation. I know the cuttings will root in water, because I’ve successfully done so. All I need to do is wait for the plants to grow back their leaves and get into good shape. Then I will begin to create new plants from cuttings.
This one is ready for the garden.
I hope to fill my front garden with milkweed and maybe the future caterpillars will have plenty to eat.
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