american pitcher plant


In late October things start slowing down at the nursery because winter dormancy is starting for the temperate plants like Sarracenia and Venus flytraps.

Dormancy is triggered by exposure to the one-two-punch of colder temperatures and shorter photo periods. The plants stop growing so vigorously, pitchers and traps start dying back. Our forest of vivid reds, electric greens and bright white pitchers stars turning a crinkly brown. It’s our version of autumnal splendor and, while there’s still so much gorgeous color, the seasons are changing. Though we do see much beauty in the dead pitchers of dormancy with their twisted brown trumpets, delicately thin and brittle. It still makes us nostalgic for springs tender new growth and summers vivacious, crowded pots full of huge pitchers.

Autumn is here and we will enjoy the last of the colorful pitchers and remember that without dormancy our beloved plants couldn’t come back year after year, bigger and more colorful every time.

So remember, don’t cheat your plants! Give them their well earned winter break. Dormancy is inevitable. It’s for the best. And until spring….there’s always Nepenthes.


Beautiful fields of Sarracenia leucophylla, the White-Topped Pitcher Plant, in Baldwin Co., Alabama. Unfortunately upwards of 95% of native American Sarracenia pitcher plant fields such as these have been eradicated in the name of human progress and development in the South-Eastern US. Many botanic authors of yesteryear waxed poetically about the endless horizons of colorful Sarracenia pitchers once found in American swamps and forest edges. Truly, the loss of these ecosystems is heart-wrenching.  [not my photos]

anonymous asked:

hey there, how do you usually decide when pitcher plants need to be watered? I had some purple pitcher plants while I was at school, but they ended up turning brown and dying, even though I kept them pretty moist and gave them a couple ants every so often. I don't really understand what I did, but it was the first pitcher plant i had ever kept. also, is there a beginner species you recommend??

the pitcher plant you had was probably sarracenia purpurea (variety venosa), a popular and easy american pitcher plant species!! these plants are native to california, and die back during the winter (or at least slow down their growth significantly)!  (x)

a super easy carni species that i always recommend is Nepenthes × ventrata, a popular and easy asian pitcher plant species that’s most popular for it’s hybrid vigor which allows it to be sold in garden centers to be grown as a houseplant. this is an asian pitcher plant, which is tropical and grows year round. it’s also VERY hardy and will take 90% of your rookie mistakes (believe me mine is like, 3 years old now and has taken soooo much i feel so bad). (x)


Springtime Sarracenia pitcher plant flowers. Many people erroneously call the tubular, carnivorous leaves of pitcher plants “flowers”. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “Oh, those plants with the long tube flower things?” when discussing Sarracenia. In fact, the flowers of these plants are spectacular and one of the highlights of spring for me. These North American natives have flowers that range from white (S. alata), yellow (S. flava, minor, alata), pink (S. rosea), and red (S. leucophylla, rubra, psittacina, purpurea). Hybrids oftentimes produce flowers with color intermediate between their parents, producing beautiful colors of orange and rose. 

Sarracenia oreophila v. ornata. This American pitcher plant species is sadly critically endangered in its native habitats. This plant, along with S. jonesii and S. purpurea montana, is adapted to growing in hills and mountains of the American South-East. Unfortunately, the higher-altitude bogs which they are native to are extremely sensitive to climate changes, and poaching has already eliminated many populations. Never buy wild collected plants, and be sure to protect your local wild areas! 

Garden of doom

9 of 17: The North American Pitcher Plant uses a combination of color, scent, and nectar to lure unsuspecting insects into its funnel whereupon the insect is narcotized and trapped through other physical means such as gravity and sticky waxes. This carnivorous plant then slowly digests its prey. Photographed it the plant’s natural coastal habitat in Wilmington, N.C.

Camera: Nikon D810; 200 mm Micro; f/8; 1/200s; ISO 160.

Sarracenia x “Leah Wilkerson”, a beautiful hybrid that was originally found growing wild on bog that a single family has lived on for many generations. The plant entered cultivation within the last decade, and was named after the woman who owned the property at the time of its discovery by a hobbyist Sarracenia grower. Despite decades of man-made breeding work, this naturally occurring hybrid remains one of the most sought-after and stunning of the hybrid pitcher plants!