Pitcher plant - Sarracenia care and culture

Sarracenia also called as pitcher plant, trumpet pitcher, is a genus in the Sarraceniaceae family. This genus comprising 8 to 11 species, was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

 Sarracenia also called as pitcher plant, trumpet pitcher, is a genus in the Sarraceniaceae family. This genus comprising 8 to 11 species, was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.


 Sarracenia is indigenous to the eastern seaboard of the United States, Texas, the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada, with most species occurring only in the south-east United States (only Sarracenia purpurea occurs in cold-temperate regions).

Pitcher plant - Sarracenia care and culture

 They are herbaceous perennial plants that grow from a subterranean rhizome, with many tubular pitcher-shaped leaves radiating out from the growing point, and then turning upwards with their trap openings facing the center of the crown. The trap is a vertical tube with a 'hood' (the operculum) extending over its entrance; and below it the top of the tube usually has a rolled lip (the peristome) which secretes nectar and scents. The hood itself frequently produces nectar too, but in lesser quantities.

 Pitcher plants capture and digest insects and other small animals in their pitchers. Nectar is produced by glands around the top of the pitcher, luring animals to the opening with its sweet smell. Stiff, down-pointing hairs line the pitcher, encouraging the animals to slide in and impeding their escape. Enzymes dissolved in water in the base of the pitcher digest the animals, making nutrients, particularly nitrogen, available for absorption by the plant. (Soils of bogs and other permanently saturated wetlands are typically low in nitrogen.) Butterflies have been seen robbing nectar from white-top pitchers without getting caught in the trap. They perch on the lip of the pitchers and, using their long proboscis, probe the inner surface of the pitchers where tiny glands produce a sweet, honey-smelling nectar.

 Flowers are produced early in spring, with or slightly ahead of the first pitchers. The flowers of almost all species are scented. The scent varies, but is often strong and sometimes unpleasant. Sarracenia flava has an especially strong odor resembling cat urine. The flowers generally last about two weeks.

 Sarracenia reproduce sexually and also vegetatively by spread of underground stems (rhizomes). The unusual shape of the flowers, with their drooping petals and umbrella-like style disk, promotes cross-pollination by insects. When an insect, usually a bee, pushes its way past the petals to reach nectar on the interior of the flower, it brushes against one of the stigmas, which are at the pointed tips of the “umbrella,” and deposits pollen gathered from a previously visited flower. Once inside the petals, it picks up pollen from the anthers and from the inner surface of the umbrella and then carries it to the next visited flower, usually avoiding the stigmas as it leaves the flower. Since it would be a disadvantage to the plant to “eat” its pollinators, many pitcher plants, such as white-top pitcher plant, produce flowers before their pitchers are well developed. Others hold their flowers high above the pitchers on long stalks. Pitcher plants are usually 4 - 5 years old before they flower and may live to be 20 - 30 years old.


 Cultural information should only be used as a guide, and should be to be adapted to suit you. Your physical location; where you grow your plants, how much time you have to devote to their care, and many other factors, will need to be taken into account. Only then can you decide on the cultural methods that best suit you and your plants.


 Whatever the cultivation method is, it is necessary to offer the Sarracenia as much light as possible all year long:

 In apartment or veranda, the pots will be placed closer to the windows. Be careful, however, of the risk of burns against windows exposed to the South. A supplement with horticultural fluorescent tubes (available in pet shops, the aquarium section) may sometimes be necessary.

 In greenhouse cultivation, if the light never fails, the danger can come from the excessive rise in temperature in summer. A shading net or a layer associated with effective ventilation are the solutions to be used to reduce this increase.

 Outside, in pots or peat bog, pitcher plants will not lack light or ventilation. Moreover, under the action of the sun, the traps will be strongly colored. It will however be necessary to preserve them from too windy areas. In winter, the plants can be frost-free or protected from cold with a plastic tunnel, a mini greenhouse.

Pitcher plant - Sarracenia care and culture


 Sarracenia like warm to hot when in active growth. In the summer, 35 ° C is the threshold not to exceed too long or too often especially if the humidity is low. In winter, it is advisable to the plants grown in pots at 3 to 8 ° C. Underground rhizomes tolerate light frost.


 Pitcher plants are usually placed on a shelf or tray containing rainwater for much of the year. If we choose terracotta containers, a significant part of the water will be absorbed by sweating and thus wasted. In addition, an accumulation of salts will occur and may not be of the best effect to be harmful to the plants. We will therefore choose plastic containers with enough drainage holes. This type of pot has several advantages: ease of cleaning and disinfection (10% solution of bleach), almost unbreakable, reusable, lightweight and offered in a wide range of sizes. Colors range from black to white, green and the inevitable terracotta. The roots, unlike those of non-carnivorous plants, do not much heat, our choice of color will have to take into account and move towards a clear shade by always favoring the largest pot possible. Without falling into excess, it should always be borne in mind that the larger the container, the lower the thermal inertia. Clearly, as soon as the plants are grown in pots and especially in full sun, they require large pots and large volumes of water.

Substrate, growing media:

 Like many carnivorous plants, Sarracenia are peat bogs and acidic plants. The soil is usually composed of a mixture of sand and peat and the water is often not far away. These soils contain virtually no minerals and the water is very soft and acidic. These plants should never be placed directly in the ground. The basic material for making a good substrate will be peat. Whatever the materials chosen, they must be mixed dry before use. It is wise to moisten with rainwater a few days before use. Cultivation in a sphagnum and perlite mixture gives excellent results as well, but plants tend to lie down because this type of substrate is very light and does not fix the rhizome well.


 After several years of cultivation, the rhizome grows and comes against the edge of the pot . Likewise some roots come out through the drainage holes. It's high time to repot. This operation must be carried out in the spring when temperatures are around 18, 20 ° C and should only be applied on adult rhizomes and in excellent health. This is the perfect time to split the plants. The operation is not delicate but it is important to take some precautions not to put the life of the plant in danger.

 After buying a potted plant, it is necessary to repot Sarracenia like other carnivorous plants in larger pots. In this case it is better to keep the root ball and root almost intact and place it in the center of the new pot after digging a hole able to receive the root ball with the help of the old pot.

 First choose a new pot, the size of the new pot will have to be at least 2 times that of the old one. Then take the clod out of the pot, flip the pot by holding it with one hand without tightening, remove the pot by pulling it up. Then remove the substrate, rinse rhizome and roots thoroughly by successive immersions or by using a jet of water without too much pressure. When all the substrate has been removed, the roots and general condition of the rhizome should be inspected. The dead or necrotic roots must be cut without tearing them off. The soft parts of the rhizome will be cut with a sharp tool in small pieces until one reaches a hard part. Fill the new pot with new substrate, install the plant taking care to direct the head of the rhizome towards the center of the pot and to drive the roots. In the end, the rhizome should protrude slightly from the surface.


 Pitcher plant, as most of the carnivorous plants need very humid conditions to thrive. The quality of the water is a determining factor of success. During the entire growing season, from March to October, the pots will be permanently immersed in saucers or trays containing 2 to 5 cm of water or more depending on their height. Watering is limited to keeping the saucer or the bins full of water. In order not to pack the substrate quickly and to thwart the growth of the plants by compacting the roots, it is important not to water from above. The water must be obligatory and acidic (pH less than 7). Tap water can be used for a short period (2 to 3 weeks) without any danger for the plants.

Pitcher plant - Sarracenia care and culture


 No fertiliser of any kind should be provided to your pitcher Plants. They're experts at dealing with nutrient poor situations and this is why they've evolved to capture insects. All the nutrients they'll need will come from their own ability to trap pray within the pitchers and you don't need to give them anything extra. If you never get any insets in your home, then consider putting your plant outside for a few weeks or so during the Summer and they will catch ample food during this time.

Rest period:

 A rest period, when pitcher plant growth stops, is mandatory. The absence of this rest period is one of the main causes of failure with Sarracenia. As winter approaches, it is therefore very desirable to reduce the humidity level, the temperature and the amount of light.

 The saucers or tablets will be emptied of their water, the substrate will just be kept slightly damp by watering the plants from above when the mixture starts to move away from the edge of the pot. The ideal photoperiod is about 7 to 8 hours, something to consider when using artificial lighting. On the temperature side, a frost-free hold (3 to 5 °) is sufficient, the Sarracenia are very comfortable with such conditions. To eliminate the maximum risk of disease or mold due to possible excess moisture, mechanical or natural ventilation is essential.

 Some species produce, at the approach of winter, phyllodes, flat leaves devoid of traps that maintain a chlorophyllin activity. They should not be cut before the appearance of the new spring leaves. These characteristic phyllodes can be very useful for the identification of certain species. It is accepted that the absence of traps on these leaves is due to the scarcity of insects during the cold period.



  1. Sarracenia alata - Yellow trumpets - Pale pitcher plant - Pale trumpet
  2. Sarracenia flava - Yellow pitcher plant
  3. Sarracenia leucophylla - Crimson pitcher plant - Purple trumpet-leaf - White pitcher plant
  4. Sarracenia minor - Hooded pitcher plant
  5. Sarracenia oreophila - Green pitcher plant
  6. Sarracenia psittacina - Parrot pitcher plant
  7. Sarracenia purpurea - Purple pitcher plant - Northern pitcher plant - Turtle socks
  8. Sarracenia rubra - Sweet pitcher plant - Red pitcher plant



Abelia,7,Abutilon,2,Acalypha,1,Acampe,1,acianthera,1,Acineta,8,Acriopsis,1,Ada,3,Adenium,3,Adromischus,1,Aeonium,2,Aerangis,30,Aeranthes,8,Aerides,19,Aganisia,2,Agapanthus,10,Agapetes,1,Agave,9,Aglaonema,75,Aichryson,2,Air plants,82,Akebia,2,Aldrovanda,1,Alocasia,37,Aloe,1,Amesiella,3,Amydrium,3,Anathallis,4,Ancistrochilus,1,Angraecopsis,1,Angraecum,31,Anguloa,2,Annual,18,Anoectochilus,3,Ansellia,1,Anthurium,30,Ardisia,1,Aronia,1,Arpophyllum,1,Arundina,1,Ascocentrum,5,Aspasia,5,Aster,6,Astrophytum,2,Asystasia,1,Aucuba,1,Austrocylindropuntia,1,Barkeria,8,Beallara,1,Begonia,1,Benzingia,1,Berlandiera,1,Bifrenaria,5,Bletilla,1,Bougainvillea,5,Brachtia,1,Brasiliorchis,1,Brassavola,5,Brassia,21,Bryobium,1,Bryophyllum,1,Bulbophyllum,41,Cactus,51,Cadetia,2,Caladium,105,Calanthe,21,Calathea,16,Campsis,1,Capanemia,1,Carnivorous plant,12,Catasetum,62,Cattleya,58,Cedrus,3,Celosia,3,Ceratocentron,1,Ceratostylis,2,Cereus,2,Chiloschista,4,Chlorophytum,1,Chondroscaphe,3,Chysis,2,Cirrhaea,1,Cischweinfia,1,Clematis,1,Clowesia,1,Cochlioda,2,Codiaeum,1,Coelia,1,Coelogyne,35,Coilostylis,1,Coleus,1,Comparettia,2,Conifers,39,Cordyline,3,Coryanthes,2,Cosmos,1,Crassothonna,1,Crassula,1,Crotalaria,1,Cuitlauzina,2,Cyclamen,23,Cycnoches,7,Cymbidiella,1,Cymbidium,53,Cypripedium,14,Cyrtochiloides,1,Cyrtochilum,2,Cyrtorchis,2,Darlingtonia,1,Darmera,1,Degarmoara,1,Dendrobium,213,Dendrochilum,5,Dendrophylax,1,Dieffenbachia,27,Diodonopsis,2,Dionaea,1,Diplocaulobium,1,Disa,2,Disocactus,1,Dockrillia,8,Domingoa,1,Dracaena,6,Dracula,13,Dryadella,3,Dyakia,1,Echeveria,43,Echinocactus,2,Echinocereus,2,Embreea,1,Encyclia,24,Ensete,1,Epidendrum,12,Epigeneium,3,Epilobium,1,Epipactis,5,Epiphyllum,2,Epipremnum,5,Eria,1,Erycina,2,Erythronium,1,Esmeralda,1,Euchile,2,Eulophia,1,Euphorbia,1,Eurychone,2,Eustoma,3,Fernandezia,2,Fittonia,3,Galeandra,1,Galeottia,1,Gardenia,8,Gastrochilus,3,Gerbera,6,Ginkgo,1,Goeppertia,17,Gomesa,3,Gongora,2,Grammatophyllum,3,Graptopetalum,1,Guarianthe,3,Gymnocalycium,2,Gynura,1,Habenaria,2,Haraella,1,Hatiora,1,Haworthia,1,Hedera,1,Helcia,1,Herb,334,Heuchera,222,Heucherella,12,Hosta,114,Houlletia,1,Hoya,2,Humulus,1,Hybrid,27,Hydrangea,28,Hylostachys,1,Hylotelephium,2,Hymenorchis,1,Hypoestes,4,Ionopsis,1,Isabelia,2,Isochilus,1,Jasminum,6,Jatropha,1,Jumellea,2,Juniperus,1,Kalanchoe,32,Kefersteinia,3,Laelia,15,Larix,4,Lepanthes,2,Leptotes,1,Liparis,1,Lithops,27,Lockhartia,1,Ludisia,1,Lycaste,3,Macodes,1,Macroclinium,5,Mammillaria,2,Masdevallia,124,Maxillaria,43,Mazus,1,Mediocalcar,1,Meiracyllium,1,Mentha,1,Mexicoa,1,Microterangis,1,Miltonia,14,Miltoniopsis,12,Monstera,1,Mormodes,4,Musella,1,Myoporum,1,Myrmecophila,1,Mystacidium,3,Nageia,1,Nandina,7,Neobathiea,1,Neobenthamia,1,Neofinetia,1,Notylia,2,Odontoglossum,19,Oeoniella,1,Oestlundia,1,Oncidium,37,Ophrys,11,Opuntia,4,Orchid,1544,Orostachys,1,Others Genus,246,Othonna,1,Otoglossum,1,Pabstia,1,Pachyphytum,1,Paphinia,2,Paphiopedilum,77,Papilionanthe,2,Parodia,2,Pecteilis,1,Peperomia,2,Perennials,881,Peristeria,2,Pescatoria,8,Petrosedum,3,Petunia,8,Phaius,5,Phalaenopsis,65,Phedimus,5,Philodendron,52,Pholidota,2,Phragmipedium,16,Phyla,1,Pilea,12,Pinus,25,Platanthera,6,Plectranthus,9,Plectrelminthus,1,Pleione,18,Pleroma,1,Pleurothallis,10,Plumeria,1,Podangis,1,Podocarpus,2,Polystachya,14,Ponthieva,1,Pothos,1,Promenaea,2,Prosthechea,18,Pseudolarix,1,Psychopsiella,1,Psychopsis,5,Pteris,1,Pteroceras,1,Puna,2,Rangaeris,2,Renanthera,4,Restrepia,8,Rhaphidophora,5,Rhipsalis,14,Rhododendron,40,Rhyncholaelia,2,Rhynchostele,8,Rhynchostylis,2,Robiquetia,1,Rodriguezia,4,Rodrigueziopsis,1,Rossioglossum,4,Rudolfiella,1,Ruellia,1,Saintpaulia,1,Salvia,36,Sansevieria,1,Sarcochilus,4,Sarracenia,9,Scaphosepalum,1,Schlumbergera,10,Schoenorchis,1,Scindapsus,2,Scuticaria,1,Sedirea,1,Sedum,148,Selaginella,1,Selenicereus,1,Sempervivum,9,Shrubs,132,Sievekingia,1,Sigmatostalix,3,Sobennikoffia,2,Sobralia,1,Solenidiopsis,1,Sophronitis,1,Spathiphyllum,1,Spathoglottis,10,Specklinia,1,Sporobolus,1,Stanhopea,13,Stauntonia,1,Stelis,1,Stenoglottis,1,Streptocarpus,1,Strobilanthes,1,Succulents,290,Sudamerlycaste,1,Symphyglossum,1,Thaumatophyllum,2,Thunia,1,Tibouchina,1,Tillandsia,82,Tolumnia,7,Trachelospermum,1,Tree,50,Trichocentrum,7,Trichoglottis,4,Trichopilia,8,Trisetella,1,Tsuga,1,Turbinicarpus,2,Vanda,8,Vandopsis,1,Vanilla,1,Vines and Climbing Plants,83,Vitis,1,Warczewiczella,2,Warmingia,1,Wisteria,1,Zamioculcas,1,Zelenkoa,1,Zygopetalum,13,Zygosepalum,2,
Travaldo's blog: Pitcher plant - Sarracenia care and culture
Pitcher plant - Sarracenia care and culture
Sarracenia also called as pitcher plant, trumpet pitcher, is a genus in the Sarraceniaceae family. This genus comprising 8 to 11 species, was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
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