Six on Saturday – Mangoes and Monarchs

This is the first Monarch butterfly caterpillar in my garden. I have been attempting to grow its host plant, Tropical Milkweed, from seed since last summer. It seems planting the seed in late summer is the wrong season and late spring is the time. The Milkweed isn’t very big and this caterpillar is in its final instar before pupating (I measured and the length is right). During the final instar they eat like crazy, so I put some canned pumpkin out and the catepillar ate that until it dried out and then went back to the Milkweed. I pulled up another Milkweed and he or she ate that one, too. The final instar is supposed to last 3 to 5 days and I have been watching 4 days, so I hope the transition is soon.

I am joining the Six on Saturday crew today – six items of interest from your garden. To see more posts, visit

Before I wrote my post this morning I went to the beach for a dose of Vitamin Sea. Here is a shot of the Sea Oats..

The Mangoes in my garden are teasing me and not quite ripe yet…here is their current condition. They look like weird Christmas ornaments. I put net bags over the fruit to keep squirrels and greyhounds away. One of my dogs loves fruit and is tall enough to reach them.

The other Mango, Nam Doc Mai, put on a huge flowering and growth spurt and has dropped most of its fruit. This one in known for flowering more than once a year. So, hopefully another flush will happen.

Finally, a dreaded insect in the garden. The Lubber Grasshopper. These things have been eating holes in the Bromeliads. They can be drowned in soapy water or squashed. Vile things.

That sums up this Saturday in my garden. I bought a few butterfly plants last weekend and planted some new seed for some obscure plants I could not buy – Mountain Marigold (Tagetes lemmoni) and Perennial Leonitis (Leonitis leonurus)

If anyone grows these two I would love to hear about it!

Happy Gardening.


24 comments on “Six on Saturday – Mangoes and Monarchs

  1. Roguegarden says:

    Congratulations on your Monarch caterpillars. I, too, have been struggling to grow milkweed in my garden. I expected it to germinate readily and spread everywhere, but alas. Wonderful to be able to grow tropical fruit in your garden. Speaking of which, how is your papaya coming along?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, it seems strange something called a weed is difficult to grow.. hopefully easier when they get established. I had the Hairy Balls Milkweed one year and didn’t really like it tons of aphids. The Papaya is putting up new shoots, I don’t expect a lot of growth until our rainy season starts in June. I have another one I planted last year from seed and it is doing well.


  2. I did not know caterpillars ate pumpkin. I’ll need to keep that in mind. I found tiny ones yesterday which is good news after the freeze and it was predicted that there would be a drop in the population here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A friend who raises a lot of Monarchs told me they can only eat pumpkin in their fifth instar. We will see how this guy does. I fed him another milkweed seedling and more pumpkin, he is chowing down. People also feed them butternut squash.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow what a beautifully coloured caterpillar. You are lucky being so close to the sea and to grow mangoes. We love them,. Buy them rock hard over here and have to wait a week or so for them to ripen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. fredgardener says:

    I succeeded here in 2019 to grow asclepias, on the other hand no monarch butterflies of course … I started seedlings again for this summer ; unfortunately the seeds are a little old … we’ll see if it works.
    Regarding the leonotis leonorus, it works well here too: you will see the flowers are very pretty, tall and the seed heads are also beautiful . Bees and butterflies love them. (I have to order these seeds again for next summer…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that is interesting. You were growing the Tropical Milkweed A. curassavica? I was astonished to find out how many Milkweeds there are and knew Swamp Milkweed wouldn’t work here. I think this will be a perennial if I can get it going. There are numerous Monarchs in the garden and they have eaten four plants to the ground. I can tell 3 are coming back the fourth was pretty woody, so we will see.
      I have been growing L.nepetifolia as an annual and learned the leonurus is perennial here and decided to try it. There is also a white one, but I could not find seeds. Did you know people smoke it?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cavershamjj says:

    That caterpillar is quite something!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pádraig says:

    It’s amazing the camouflage that insects have to keep them safe. The Monarch looks amazing and will look even better next week!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    It is cool that you have monarch caterpillars. I’m beginning to understand the ecology of the land and while I used to be chagrined at holes in my plants, now I’m cheering because I want to boost the food chain. “If you build it, they will come!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It seems the ones that have been eaten are regenerating, so far, so good. I may dole out pumpkin for a while..


  9. tonytomeo says:

    They like pumpkin? I would not have thought of actually feeding them. They find what they want in the garden or move on.


  10. Karen says:

    I’m with you about Lubber Grasshopper. We were at a friends home and had to scurry in the front door so that the grasshoppers didn’t invade her home.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Megan Hall says:

    I recently planted a leonotus, and grew it at a previous house too. It’s a lovely plant, and handles considerable dry heat (don’t know about humidity as we don’t have much). It needs cutting back after a while (a year or two? can’t remember clearly).
    I like the idea of a dog eating mango! And I feel the same way about the sea…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Cathy says:

    Oh, I do hope you manage to see your caterpillar transform. Interesting that it liked the pumpkin!

    Liked by 1 person

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