Help...milkweed with no leaves. Caterpillars hungry!

My milkweed has been almost bare for a long time now that the monarchs have been laying eggs and the caterpillars have devoured them. I kept thinking the leaves would grow back, but they haven't, expect for a few new leaves at the top. The rest of the stalks remain bare. Meanwhile the monarchs keep leaving more eggs on the what few leaves are there.
I didn't think I was suppose to cut them back to encourage growth, but am I wrong? They've been bare for many many months. Now I have lots of new baby caterpillars and they're going to run out of food.
Also I started some new seed plants and cuttings that I rooted, that I'm having trouble with. After fighting off the aphids, now there seems to be something turning the leaves whitish and leaving some sort of spider web looking stuff on them and they are dying. I didn't want to spray anything toxic since I'm growing them for the butterflies and caterpillars. Any suggestions on what I can do?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, I haven't had this many caterpillars/butterflies in my own garden, but it sounds like this is why you don't have any leaves.
I'm guessing you need more milkweed, and/or fewer caterpillars/eggs. If you don't let the plant(s) retain some leaves, it might not make it to whatever season doesn't have caterpillars (don't know what that is where you are, but it looks like the migration is south in the fall and north in the spring).
It doesn't sound like an issue with encouraging the plant to grow. It seems like the plant is trying to (at the top rather than along the stem, but that should be OK), but gets munched before it gets very far.

Spider mites? If so, it seems like something as simple as spraying off the plants with water might help, according to: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2012.html
Maybe there are other things which cause this symptom.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
search for a stand of milkweed. cut milkweed. put the extra caterpillars into a box with a screen top and feed em. keep cutting and feeding until they make their cases. let them out when they emerge from the pupae. lots of people do this just for fun. but you can save a lot of em this way. Ingrid
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.