The Story of Mr. Caterpillar and the Jalapeno Plant

This is a sad story about Mr. Caterpillar.

A few weeks ago we went up to the roof and noticed one of our jalapeno plants was bare.  A few days before it was filled with peppers and leaves, and then suddenly it was close to being empty.

We looked on the plant and I shouted “OMG!” and then “LOOK!” and then Matthew shouted “OMG”.  There was one giant caterpillar staring at us on the plant.  After us both squealing with fear as I took him off the plant, squirming in my fingers (!), we threw him in a bowl to examine this massive guy.  This was a Tomato Hornworm caterpillar moving around with a look of warning at us.  

Mr. Caterpillar didn’t just eat the jalapeno plant, he ate multiple jalapenos, with seeds!   I’m sorta ruining the story here but a caterpillar eating jalapeno peppers usually doesn’t have a good ending. 🙁

 Even though he ate our jalapeno plant I still wanted to save him so he could turn into a beautiful moth. I put him in the bowl with some grass and things that I thought he would like to eat (like tomatoes). 

Unfortunately because he ate so many of our jalapeno peppers while on the plant, he turned to a blackish color and died a few days later.  RIP Mr. Caterpillar.  I gave him a proper loved burial in the garden.

In other news, how’s our jalapeno plant doing? It’s back!  I’ve said before that jalapeno plants are warriors and they really are.

And just a few days ago there were peppers back to be picked!


I’d like to dedicate these peppers to Mr. Caterpillar.  Love you always, even if you eat our plants.


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  • So sorry to hear about your Jalapeno plant, Pamala. I must admit though I found this episode quite heart warming. Nature is truly amazing isn’t it? Too bad about the caterpillar. I’m glad to hear you gave it a proper burial and that your plant was replenished.

    Here in PA, I have noticed some tomato hornworms grown to be hummingbird moths. The first time I saw one, it scared the bejeebies out of me. As a Long Island girl, I had never seen one before, tomato hornworms yes, hummingbirds or their counterparts never!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Pamela…

    • Hi Pamela,
      Just a note to thank you for visiting my blog. Have you tried planting milkweed on the roof? I grew quite a few in pots this year and the butterflies LOVED it! (we were blessed with a few Swallowtail and Monarch caterpillar sightings too)

  • Well, I hate these little buggers. I have been lucky not to have seen many this season (or they have been lucky they haven’t seen me). Serves him right. 🙂

  • Poor little guy! You’re sweet for taking such good care of him. Bet he appreciated it!

    Jealous of your pepper plants! I was able to get 3 small ones this entire season from mine because the deer eat everything. It was fun trying though!

  • Amazing how quickly plants bounce back even after major setback, I see many flowers on your pepper plant so you will be getting good harvest. No idea tomato hornworm would eat pepper.

  • It’s funny, but in all my tomato-growing years I’ve only seen one tomato hornworm. It sure scared the heck out of me when I saw it! This poor little guy didn’t know he was supposed to stay away from the hot stuff. You were a good Samaritan to try and save it!

  • Jeez. That plant is a warrior, but poor Mr. Caterpillar. Did you know that some caterpillars are poisonous? picked up a cute yellow furry one with black spikes not to long ago. Turns out they give jelly fish like stings. Luckily, I didn’t touch the stingers!

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