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Growing Pitcher Plants

There are two families of pitcher plants - the Nepenthes and the Sarracenia.   If you’re growing these in outdoor ponds, then the Sarracenia (North American natives) are likely the ones you want to grow.  If you want to grow them indoors, then the Nepenthes (tropicals) are what you’re looking for.

The Sarracenia are bog plants, growing from a rhizome and the leaves roll themselves into tubes as they grow.  Insects crawl down into these tubes and are “eaten” by the plant.   The details are below

How To Grow


Sunlight:  a minimum of 5-6 hours of full sun a day.
Water Needs:  Not constantly waterlogged but never allowed to dry out.
Soil: Slightly acidic is best so a mix of sand and peat works very well
Hardiness: Usually a USDA 6 to 7 mulch heavily in other regions
Propagation: Division or Seed
Flowers: rolled leaves, upright, various colors, some fragrant


If you get the soil right, the watering right and give this plant a minimum of 5-6 hours of full sunlight a day, you’re going to be pleasantly pleased with how easy it is to grow.

Commonly Available  Plants


Sarracenia alata   (Pale Pitcher Plant)  Can reach 24-28 inches tall.  Light yellow-green flowers, not fragrant.  No shade.  Most leaves/flowers in late summer.    

S. flava (Yellow Pitcher Plant)  flowers large, yellowish, spicy fragrance.  Spring leaf production is heavy and slows down for summer. One of hardiest


S. leucophylla (White-topped pitcher)  Lovely marbled red/green veins with burgundy leaf/blossoms  Late summer into fall production. 

S. minor  (Hooded Pitcher plant) -  leaves are yellowish and one of the latest to bloom.  Very tender. 

S. purpurea  (Purple Pitcher plant)  This is the most commonly seen form.  Leaves form rosettes and are green with red veins (the leaf turns purplish in the cold fall weather)  Best for beginners as it’s easy to grow, forgiving and hardy.


sarracenia flava
Sarracenia flava
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