Last spring, Lisa and I put together a butterfly garden. We saw some swallowtails, some rice papers, some blue waves, and a bunch of others. However we had tons and tons of monarchs who not only visited the flowers but laid eggs.
We’ve had monarch caterpillars on our milkweed plants for over a year and the most we had at once was seventeen in December. The caterpillars seem to hangout for like ten days to two weeks. Then they go and find a safe place, form a “J” shape and within a few days they form into a chrysalis.
In the summer it seems to take about two to three weeks for a chrysalis to hatch. You can tell a chrysalis is about to hatch because it looses its green color and turns black and orange. Now that its winter the chrysalises take five to six weeks.
When ready a butterfly emerges. It happens pretty darn fast, within a few minutes, but then it takes two to three hours for the caterpillar to unfurl their wings and let them dry.
It’s been a delight having the caterpillars and butterflies around this past year and pretty darn cool that they are still here even though its winter!