Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Milkweed Plants are Awesome

We planted a butterfly garden in May as part of a unit on butterflies. The best part of that garden is the milkweed plant. The garden is just outside our school room window, and we often just sit and watch the butterflies float around. We've even seen them lay eggs a few times. It's awesome!

Then one day last week, we noticed the milkweed was covered in little caterpillars. They devoured the entire plant in just a couple days. We didn't want them to leave in search for food, so we ran out and bought two more milkweed plants (one of which happened to have it's own batch of baby caterpillars on it already). As the more mature caterpillars were finishing up the second plant, they slowed down, hung upside down, and formed their chrysalises. Aren't they gorgeous?

Sometime this weekend, we should see the butterflies emerge. This is the second time our boys have witnessed this process. The first time, we used caterpillars purchased from Insect Lore, which was well worth the money. However, I must say that watching it happen in nature is a bit more exciting (and certainly cheaper).

The boys have learned so much from these experiences.
I just love that look of wonder in their eyes.


  1. What an awesome experience for your boys! I would love to know what other plants you planted as we plan to do a Butterfly unit soon as well.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Our butterfly garden had milkweed, salvia, pintas....there may have been more, but those are the ones that have survived. We went to the local nursery and told them we wanted flowers that would attract butterflies. Of all the plants in our garden, I see butterflies on the milkweed most often. The downside is that the caterpillars will eat all the leaves! It will come back, though. :)

  3. Oh, this is wonderful! It is motivating me to post some of the pictures I took yesterday of a caterpillar crossing our street. And I was thinking how wonderful it would be to do a mini-unit on caterpillars and butterflies. Great minds ;o) Have a wonderful start to your school year!