Growing Pitcher Plants: Learn About The Care of Pitcher Plants

Growing Pitcher Plants: Learn About The Care of Pitcher Plants

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Pitcher plants have the appearance of an exotic, rare plant but they are actually native to parts of the United States. They grow in parts of Mississippi and Louisiana where soils are poor and nutrient levels must be acquired from other sources. The plants are carnivorous and have fleshy funnels or tubes that function as traps for insects and small animals.

Growing pitcher plants as indoor plants is common, but raising them outdoors requires a little know-how. Learn how to grow a pitcher plant for an interesting conversation piece in the home interior or exterior garden.

Types of Pitcher Plants

There are around 80 types of pitcher plants found in the genus names Sarracenia, Nepenthes and Darlingtonia.

Not all of these are suitable for outdoor growing, as Nepenthes are tropical pitcher plants, but purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) has a zonal tolerance of 2 to 9 and is exceptionally adaptable to a wide range of areas. The northern pitcher plant is another name for the purple type and grows wild in Canada. It is suited for temperate to cool regions.

Yellow pitcher plant (Sarracenia flava) is found in Texas and boggy parts of Florida.

Parrot pitcher (Sarracenia psittacina) and the green spotted pitcher (syn. yellow pitcher plant) are warm season plants. Both are found on the endangered species list and are not available for sale. They should not be harvested from the wild either.

Cobra pitcher plants (Darlingtonia californica) are native only to extreme northern California and southern Oregon. They are also more difficult to grow.

Growing pitcher plants should start with a species that is native to your region or adaptable to the climate where you live.

How to Grow a Pitcher Plant

Growing pitcher plants is easy as long as you pay attention to some key items. Pitcher plant’s unusual shape and carnivorous habit are the result of nutrient deficiencies in their native soil. The regions where they grow are nitrogen deprived so the plant catches insects to harvest their nitrogen.

Growing pitcher plants outdoors and pitcher plant care starts with the site and soil. They do not need rich organic soil but do need a medium that drains well. Potted pitcher plants need to be in well-drained soils. Use any type of pot for indoor plants and provide a low fertility mixture in which the plants will grow. For instance, the potted pitcher plant thrives in a mixture of peat moss, bark and vermiculite. The pot can be small and they can even do well in a terrarium.

Outdoor specimens live in slightly acidic soils. Pitcher plants must be kept wet and can even grow in water gardens. The plants need boggy, moist soil and will perform well at the margins of a pond or bog garden.

Pitcher plants thrive in full sun to light shade.

Care of Pitcher Plants

Caring for pitcher plants is minimal. The best temperature for pitcher plants that are grown inside is between 60 and 70 F. (16-21 C.). Indoor plants should be fertilized at the start of the growing season with a good orchid food and every month until fall.

Most of the plant’s nutrient needs come from the insects they catch in the pitcher shaped organs. Because of this, the care of pitcher plants outdoors does not require much fertilization.

Outdoor plants will naturally lose some of the pitcher shaped leaves. Cut them off as they die back. New leaves will form from the rosette base. Pitcher plant care also includes protecting plants in the ground from freezes by mounding mulch around the base of the rosette.

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7 Types of Carnivorous Plants with Pictures

The most amazing thing I’ve seen in my garden is watching a carnivorous plant capturing an insect for the first time in my backyard garden . That is truly a fantastic experience if you haven’t experienced this, brace yourself for the mind-blowing experience. Among the Plants family, types of carnivorous plants is a interesting category to look out for.

Because of the typical low soil quality, carnivorous plants evolved into supplementing its diets with insects and small rodents. How do these plants capture, kill, and digest these insects?

Carnivorous plants use their leaves as traps for prey often, their leaves are bright and colorful to attract insects and small animals. Their colorful leaves can be a great addition to your whimsical garden . These leaves capture the prey, kill, and digest them. Carnivorous plants can survive without insects and other smaller animals. Still, they thrive when they get the nutrients from their prey.

Suppose you want to go into carnivorous plant gardening but don’t know where to start. In that case, this article will give you a head start by listing seven popular types of carnivorous plants. There are about 1000 different carnivorous plants, which could become a problem without a little guidance.

Why Grow Pitcher Plants?

Pitcher plants are a popular species to grow and repot in America because of their striking looks and exceptional abilities. Most people that grow pitcher plants love these plants because they feel these plants have everything a person could want.

These plants grow prolifically in the southeastern coastal plans of the United States. They prefer sunny, open wetland areas. There is a broad diversity of pitcher plant growth found in places like Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina.

One species of pitcher plants can be found not only in the southeast, but also in the north, the east coast, the upper Midwest, and even Canada. Because pitcher plants are so prolific in America, they are easy to grow and maintain when you repot them. That also contributes to their popularity in the United States.

Why Pitcher Plants Are Popular

Pitcher plants are popular because they are beautiful, carnivorous plants. With a pitcher plant, you’ll get a very efficient flycatcher and a plant that’s simple for a newbie to grow and take care of quickly. Plus, the eight different species of pitcher plants are all gorgeous.

We mentioned above that there are eight species of pitcher plants. If you’re wondering what those are, here’s a list:

  • S. Alta
  • S. Flava
  • S. Leucophylla
  • S. Minor
  • S. Orophilia
  • S. Psittacine
  • S. Purpurea
  • S. Rubra

Each one of these species varies from the others, although they all resemble each other. Also, some of these species are divided into further sub-species.

Many people love the carnivorous features of pitcher plants, making pitcher plants very popular. Pitcher plants have tall, narrow pitchers on them that work to attract insects. Those pitchers usually have bright colors and give off an odor that attracts the bugs. When a bug lands on the plant, it’s stuck because of the waxy coat on the plant and its transparent leaves.

Plus, the nectar bugs found in the pitcher plant is full of poison that intoxicates the bugs. Often, bugs will slip and fall into the pitcher. If that happens, the pitcher traps it with its pointy hairs and then digests the insects.

One sad fact about pitcher plants is that their natural populations are in decline. That’s because of new housing developments removing them from their areas. Some species of pitcher plants have been so affected by this removal process that they are critically endangered.

So, by growing and repotting pitcher plants, you’re actually contributing to keepint their population alive. That means you should get some intrinsically rewarding feelings while contributing to your growing and repotting of your pitcher plants. Growing and repotting pitcher plants means you’re helping to keep this beauitufl species of plants alive for future generations.

Pitcher Plant Hybrids

One of the most exciting things about North American pitcher plants is that they can be formed into hybrids. That’s a unique quality that’s only in a few types of plants. However, the fact that pitcher plants can be formed into hybrids is yet another reason why pitcher plants are so popular to both grow and repot.

You can cross your pitcher plants and create a lot of offspring. So, pitcher plants include several hybrid species. What’s even more interesting about these hybrids is that they tend to be extraordinarily beautiful.

Also, many hybrids of pitcher plants can be found in the wild. It’s quite natural for hybrid species of pitcher plants to form naturally. Some of these hybrids are so prevalent that they’ve been given names. The hybrid species of pitcher plants are often very prolific. That’s why many first-time growers tend to work with hybrid pitcher plants

If you wind up growing and repotting hybrid pitcher plants, the process of growing and repotting hybrid pitcher plants works exactly the same way as repotting non-hybrid pitcher plants.

Pitcher Plant Care - Growing Different Types Of Pitcher Plants - garden

Growing Carnivorous Plants

There’s something prehistoric and fascinating about carnivorous plants. They have an amazing ability to fend for themselves, which proves just how well plants can adapt to surviving in harsh environments.

Flesh eating is a prevalent practice in the plant world, with more than 500 different species of carnivorous plants in many varied habitats.

These include the well-known Venus flytrap, or Dionaea muscipula, which was named after Venus, the goddess of love and beauty .

They are all interesting in their own way, and each has a particular means of capturing insects.

Many varieties can be grown in the garden, but take care, as lots of people start with one plant and find them so captivating they end up collectors!

How they evolved

During the evolution process, as landforms changed, certain types of plants grew in peat bogs. The soil was very acidic and low in the nutrients vital for the survival of these plants.

But it was the ideal environment for insects, so the plants gradually began to evolve. They developed ways to lure and trap this unsuspecting prey, as well as the chemistry that was necessary to convert it into food.

While it may be tempting to feed insects to your meat-eating plants, an overabundance of food can actually be harmful to the plant.

An engorgement of insects toa carnivorous plant is like a fertiliser boost for any other plant, so allow them to feed naturally.

TIP Growing these plants is a great way to interest kids in gardening.

Venus Flytrap

This grows naturally in North and South Carolina in the USA and there is only one species in the genus.

The hinged leaves are edged with stiff spines and glands that secrete nectar.

There are tiny sensitive hairs inside the leaves and when they are touched, the leaves spring shut and trap the prey. The insect is then dissolved by enzymes .

The trap reopens and any remains are either washed or blown away.

Repeated false alarms are harmful to the plant, so don’t touch the leaves.

How to grow

It likes temperate, tropical and subtropical climates. Grow it in pots in full sun.

POTTING MIX is made from three parts peat moss to one part coarse river sand.

MULCH with sphagnum moss, which serves as
a moisture indicator. When the moss turns brown, the soil is lacking in water.

WATER with distilled water regularly and stand the pot in a tray with about 20mm of water at all times.

TIP Cut the trap off at its base when it dies and a new one will quickly grow.

Venus Flytrap grows naturally in North and South Carolina in the USA and there is only one species in the genus

Monkey Cups

There are about 140 species of nepenthes and they’re commonly called tropical pitcher plants or monkey cups, as they grow so big that monkeys drink from them.

They catch their prey in modified leaves or pitchers by luring insects, and even small frogs, with nectar found around the rim.

The insects slip down the waxy insides and drown in a deadly mix of digestive fluids.

How to grow

The majority of nepenthes need warmth and humidity.They can be grown outside in tropical regions or in a hothouse in temperate areas.

The highland species will grow outside in temperate climates. Plant in pots or hanging containers so they get the morning sun.

POTTING MIX is made from two parts sphagnum moss to one part orchid bark. Don’t pack down the mix, as they love free drainage.

FEED with a fertiliser high in nitrogen at half strength if they’re in a hothouse. If grown outdoors, they don’t need fertilising.

WATER from the top every few days. Don’t stand the pot in water or the roots will rot.

Monkey cups catch their prey in modified leaves or pitchers by luring insects with nectar found around the rim

Pitcher Plants

Native to North America, there are eight species in the Sarracenia genus. They produce stunning flowers and can grow vertically or prostrate.

These plants catch prey in leaves that form a funnel. The insects crawl into the pitcher, attracted by the sweet-smelling nectar.

Once inside, downward facing hairs and a slippery wax coating prevent their escape. Their fate is sealed when they fall into a pool of digestive liquid at the base.

How to grow

Sarracenia will grow in temperate and tropical areas in pots or bog gardens.

They can be placed in a pond as long as the rim of the pot is above the water level. Position them in full sun with protection from frost.

POTTING MIX is made from three parts peat moss to one part coarse river sand.

MULCH the mix with damp sphagnum moss.

WATER freely in summer with distilled water and
use a pot tray. They are dormant in winter, so remove the tray and water just once a week.

Pitcher Plants catch prey in leaves that form a funnel


The sundew, or Drosera, derives its name from the beautiful display itputs on when its sticky tentacles are wet from
the dew and shimmering in the morning sun.

These plants secrete a sticky substance on the end of fine hairs that attract and catch insects.

On landing, an insect is glued to the plant by these hairs and, within minutes, escape is impossible .

The secretion then acts as an acid, dissolving the insect’s internal organs into a form that the plant can use to feed itself.

There are about 104 species around the world and over half of them are native to Australia.

How to grow

Sundews are easy to grow, especially if you find one suited to your climate.

Raise them in pots and find a spot for them in bright, filtered sunlight.

POTTING MIX is made from three parts peat moss to one part sand.

MULCH the mix with damp sphagnum moss.

WATER by placing the container in a tray of water. Remove the tray in winter and water once a week.

Sundew plants secrete a sticky substance on the end of fine hairs that attract and catch insects

Watch the video: Interesting facts about carnivorous plants Venus fly trap. Pitcher plant Reading Knowledge