DIY / Grow

Raising Butterflies

Learn how to raise butterflies from egg to adult.

Raising Butterflies

A butterfly is an insect that goes through a complete metamorphism transforming from an egg into a caterpillar into a butterfly.

The butterfly life cycle is approximately 3 weeks. Females lay eggs 5 to 7 days after emerging from the chrysalis. The eggs hatch after three days. Caterpillars emerge from the eggs and eat for 10 to 12 days before forming chrysalides. Adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalides in 7 to 10 days.

  • 3 weeks total, 30 minutes daily
  • Eggs
  • Glass aquarium or jar
  • Milkweed
  • Twigs
  • Cheesecloth or screen
  • Rubber band
  • Butterfly cage



1. Remove the eggs from the bag and place them on a small container. Mist lightly and periodically until they hatch, about three days.

2. Prepare a container (aquarium or glass jar with screen or cheesecloth as a lid) for the caterpillars to live in.

3.  Go outside to gather milkweed and twigs to create the optimal environment for the caterpillars.

4. During the life of the caterpillars be sure to keep the environment clean and full of fresh milkweed.

5. The caterpillars will begin to form cocoons. Keep the cage misted and humid. Be sure that the cocoons have an adequate amount of space when they are hanging so that when they hatch their wings don’t hit the bottom.

6. A butterfly cage is recommended to keep the butterflies for a couple days to observe the colors and anatomy.

7. Send the butterflies off with good wishes!


Order eggs in advance and start them three weeks before you plan to have full grown butterflies. Prepare glass cage and butterfly cage. To order monarch butterflies, visit