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Nature’s Nutrients Milkweed

I bought this brand of milkweed at the Fullerton,  California store because the label shows that it’s pollinator friendly.  I raise Monarch butterflies. When I fed the leaves to my caterpillars, they began to die.these “pollinator friendly” plants have been treated with pesticides! Why are you selling these plants?
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Posted 2019-06-16T15:04:11+0000  by Emiko Emiko
I tied to post to this thread earlier, but clearly my post is not listed here. I too have successfully raised a lot of monarchs. I needed a fresh food supply to place in my habitat for the next crew. I had the same issue as Joele from Mission Viejo. Once I moved my 12 healthy caterpillars into a habitat and onto Nature's Nutrients Silky Gold from Home Depot in Fairfield, CA, they had an immediate reaction after eating the smallest amount of the leaf material and began to die very quickly.  I took my plants back and made the Fairfield Home Depot aware that these plants need to be pulled from the shelves. We also shared caterpillars with a friend further north. When she moved them to a Nature's Nutrients plant from the Rohnert Park, CA Home Depot, her's died as well. They have a very immediate reaction, then they stop eating/pooping and start to shrink up until they die. I lost all 12 last week. 
I contacted Atlman Plants in Vista (headquarters) who is the supplier on the plant label. I spoke with the horticulralist. He is the same man I spoke to last year when I had an issue with Smart Planet milkweed. Turns out, they are both grown by Altman. He told me last year and again this year that they do treat the plants, "or there would not be anything left to sell by the time they get to the store." I was told that the chemical should be inert by the time they get to market, but it "doesn't always work."
Every person who plants these in their garden will be kiling the very monarch caterpillars we're all trying to save. And yes, right on the package it says "Pollinating flowers/feed the pollinators."  On the price tag it says "#1 Butterfly Weed 'Silky Gold.'  There is not one word about pesticide use.
He suggested I plant them and cover with nets, then cut back and they should be OK for next season.
Home Depot needs to pull all of these plants and reject them immediately, or it will be a much bigger blow for the monarch.

Best Answer

Posted 2019-06-27T03:01:55+0000  by Stano



Hi Emiko.

Thank you for your question.


I am so sorry to hear about your Monarch Caterpillars.  It is not uncommon for the caterpillars to die which can be caused for a number of reasons. 


I did speak with the lead Garden Consultant at the Fullerton Home Depot who stated that the plant suppliers for The Home Depot do not use pesticides or Cardenolides on any of our pollinator plants.


There are also a number of other predatory insects that will bit the defenseless caterpillars and kill them. Big bugs have little bugs upon their backs to bite them.


The little bugs have smaller bugs, and so on. The  Paper Wasps which are the worst and other Hornets and Yellow Jackets are very predatory and are known to attack your type of caterpillar. 


Wasps are a necessary part of the garden but unfortunately, their children have to eat…caterpillars.


The Praying Mantis is another skilled predator that is common in Orange County tht will also eat Monarchs and their Caterpillars.


A soil bacteria from your potting soil could also be the culprit.  A wind borne spray near your planting area could also be suspect.  Orange County also has Fire Ants which are very predatory.


One sting from a Fire Ant can sicken and even kill your Monarch Caterpillar. 


Pesticides such as fly sprays, plug-in insect controls and flea collars on pets will kill caterpillars. Sun-screen and cosmetics on hands can also affect them.


Please take the time to inspect the area where you have your Milk Weed plants to see if any of these other hazards may be present.


Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.



Posted 2019-06-18T17:45:44+0000  by Rick_HD_OC
This response makes me angry!! I'm in Mission Viejo  Ca and I contacted Home Depot Corporate a week ago about this same thing. I have been raising Monarch caterpillars for years and I know when a plant has pesticide on it. This isn't caused by any other cause. I bought plants and watched caterpillars vomiting green and dying. I tried for a week washing these plants but only did the same thing happened every time I re-introduced them to caterpillars in an enclosure. I returned these plants this morning and the garden manager acknowledge the problem and said I have to contact corporate again to complain that he had no power to change the situation. There is a law as of 2019 that milkweed plants sprayed with insecticide be properly labeled which they are not! Also, Home Depot has vowed not to use vendors that use insecticides. These plants are called natures nutrients and have pictures of caterpillars, bees, and butterflies. Its the whole reason for Home Depot to sell them and they are poisoning Monarch Caterpillars  
Posted 2019-06-18T17:59:15+0000  by JOELE
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