What In The Milkweed?!

I’ve discovered some weird and wondrous things searching for monarchs in our milkweed patch, but I’ve never come across this U.M.O in our Minnesota garden.

Mystery in the Milkweed Patch. Have you seen these before?
Clay Pots for Smurfs?

These twin globes are securely attached to the bottom of this common milkweed leaf and look/feel like dried mud. However, their identical shapes and suction cup appendages suggest otherwise.

What lurks beneath the common milkweed? You tell me...
Here’s lookin’ at you

I honestly have no idea what these little brown globes could be, so I’ve assembled a short list. It needs a little work:

  • mini-wasp nests
  • clay pots for smurfs
  • googly eyes
  • insect eggs
  • insect chrysalides
Update: Thanks to everyone in the community who shared their experience to help me identify the foreign object on my milkweed. Read below for answers:

Many of you reported that it was some sort of mud dauber or potter wasp. This is bad news for monarchs since the larva inside these domes feed on monarch caterpillars. To verify, I opened them up:

potter wasp larvae feed on monarch caterpillars
Out of Pot

While potter wasps are monarch predators, they are also beneficial pollinators in your butterfly garden. I welcome them as garden guests, but they’ll need to find a home outside of our milkweed patch!

What strange foreign eggs or objects have you found on your milkweed plants? Leave a comment below:


  1. Helen says

    Hi Tony

    I started taking my milkweed out for some sun and air
    But noticed that the leaves are bleaching out or fading from a nice glossy green to a dull almost bleached light green did I kill them?
    They aren’t growing like before. I wish that I could send you a picture.

  2. says

    Hi Helen,

    they need some time to adjust to being back outside. I actually cut back all the stems of our tropical milkweed and let them start putting out new foliage. I use the stem cuttings to start new plants.

    Your other option is to put them outside in shadier conditions and gradually move them into sun over the next few weeks.

    If these are mature plants, just pinch off the affected leaves and let new growth emerge. Good luck, Tony

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