Caution buying Butterfly Plants at Big Box Stores

DeLand/Deleon Spring, FL(Zone 8b)

While l I was at our big box store here in Deland I was looking at the Milkweed as my plants are looking pretty
sad and I thought instead of sowing seeds I'd just pick one up. I saw a Monarch and asked the clerk
what they did with the caterpillars as I have rescued them from various stores before.
She told me they usually died because the plants are now systemically treated from the grower,
They had found this out the "hard way" as they had tried to set up a butterfly display and someone
brought in caterpillars and they all died eating the plants.
So....warning....if you are purchasing plants make sure they are organically grown....
Better yet, if possible...grow your own.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Thank you for mentioning this on the forum mjs. I think this is an important consideration. Most of the plants that I start are from seeds...mostly out of necessity. The nurseries here don't carry most of the plants I need. I do have Common Rue (ruta graveolens) and Passiflora edulis in my garden and can purchase the plants at most of the nurseries here. I always ask if the plants have been treated with any chemicals or insecticides, etc. before making a purchase.

The last time I went to my nursery of choice to purchase Rue, there were Giant Swallowtail caterpillars on all of the small plants. I was so delighted and mentioned this to the owner. He responded by moving his hand toward the caterpillar and I thought he was going to squish it. I hollered "oh no"! He smiled at me and said don't worry. He gently touched the head of the caterpillar so the osmeterium came up just to show me. I told him I would like to purchase the plant. He chose another plant for me "this plant has three caterpillars on it, would you prefer this one"? Needless to say this is why it is my nursery of choice.

DeLand/Deleon Spring, FL(Zone 8b)

Lucky you to have a nursery that accommodates the butterflies !!

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Wow, mjsponies, thanks for posting that info! Very good advice to remember.

Vitrsna, that's a wonderful story...thanks for sharing it! I wish we all had such wonderful nurseries.

DeLand/Deleon Spring, FL(Zone 8b)

Interestingly enough, when I went by there today there was not a milkweed plant to be seen, not even on the1/2 off rack.
They had almost a 1/2 bench of them so I doubt they were all sold. Maybe they pulled's hoping.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Good going mjs...ask a few questions and you can make a difference! It looks like you made a difference here. They wanted to make a butterfly display but their plants were killing all the larva so i think you made a difference by prompting them to ask some questions of their growers. It would be interesting to see if they add more butterfly host plants in the future from a different or reformed grower after becoming aware that the potential purchasers are not clueless. :-D

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.