Pitcher Plant Care


  • Types of pitcher plants
  • How to grow a pitcher
  • Caring for pitcher plants

Pitcher Plant Care

The jars look like exotic, rare plants, 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 obtained from other sources. These plants are carnivorous and have fleshy funnels or tubes that serve as traps for insects and small animals.

Growing pitchers as houseplants is common, but growing them outdoors requires some skill. Learn how to grow an interesting conversation pitcher in your home interior or garden.

Types of pitcher plants

About 80 species of pitcher plants are found in the names of the genus. Sarracenia, Nepenthes and Darlingtonia .

Not all of them are suitable for outdoor cultivation, as Nepenthes are tropical pitcher plants, but purple pitcher plants ( Sarracenia purpurea ) have a zonal tolerance of 2 to 9 and are highly adaptable to a wide range of areas. Northern pitcher is another name for a purple type that grows wild in Canada. It is suitable for regions with a temperate and cool climate.

Pitcher yellow ( Sarracenia yellow ) is found in Texas and the wetlands of Florida.

Parrot jar ( Sarracenia psittacina ) and green spotted jug (syn. yellow jug) are warm season plants. Both are listed as endangered species and are not available for sale. They also cannot be harvested from the wild.

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

Growing pitchers should start with species that are native to your area or that can adapt to the climate you live in.

How to grow a pitcher

Growing pitchers is easy if you pay attention to some key points. The unusual shape and carnivorous nature of the pitcher is the result of a lack of nutrients in their native soil. In the regions where they grow, there is no nitrogen, so the plant catches insects to collect their nitrogen.

Growing outdoor pitchers and caring for pitchers starts with the site and the soil. They don't need rich organic soil, but they do need a well-draining environment. Potted pitcher plants should be in well-drained soil. Use any type of houseplant pot and provide a low-fertile mix in which the plants will grow. For example, a potted jar grows well in a mixture of peat moss, bark, and vermiculite. The pot can be small and they can work well even in a terrarium.

Outdoor specimens live in slightly acidic soils. Pot plants need to be kept moist and can even grow in water gardens. The plants need waterlogged, moist soil and will grow well on the edges of a pond or bog garden.

Pitchers feel great both in the sun and in light shade.

Caring for pitcher plants

Care for pitcher plants is minimal. The best temperature for indoor grown pitchers is 60 to 70 F (16-21 C). Houseplants should be fertilized early in the growing season with a good orchid food and every month until fall.

Most of the plant's nutrient requirements come from insects, which they catch with pitcher-shaped organs. Thanks to this, caring for pitcher plants outdoors does not require a lot of fertilizer.

Outdoor plants naturally lose some of the pitcher-shaped leaves. Cut them off when they die. New leaves will form from the base of the outlet. Caring for pitcher plants also includes protecting plants in the ground from freezing by spreading mulch around the base of the rosette.