Monarch nursery in my garden

A few years ago I received milkweed seed from a plant nursery giving it away for free. I spread some of the seed in various areas of my yard with no luck. But a year later – up pops one where none were spread in a place outside any garden bed. Nature is funny that way. The milkweed has come up every year since 2019. It has never bloomed in its shady spot.

But alas – its whole purpose was for this little guy found on 7/28/2021. Danaus plexippus Monarch butterfly larva

2nd Instar Monarch larva

I guess you don’t need a milkweed to bloom for a Monarch butterfly to make its nursery there. There are two larva, each on its own leaf.

Monarch larva (or caterpillars) have 5 stages or instars that grow over 9 to 14 days. The larva I found was in its 2nd instar and is probably 2 days after hatch? The second instar is noted for its yellow triangle on the head with two yellow lines surrounding it. I will go out each day at about the same time (8:00 AM) to monitor their progress. So stay tuned…


This year I became a volunteer for a program that is monitoring sites for not only the presence of milkweed and monarchs but also a study of the blooming plants within a site. I highly recommend this site as a guide to finding monarchs. Larva Guide-to-monarch-instars

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.