Alphabetical Plant Listing

Sarracenia (Pitcher Plants)

Pitcher Plants, Trumpet Pitchers, Carnivorous Plants (Sarracenia)


Spectacular and fascinating, Sarracenia (Pitcher Plants) is a genus of carnivorous plants, including 15 species and subspecies found naturally in North America. Most species inhabit very wet peaty bogs or swamps in the southeastern United States. Only S. purpurea occurs in cold-temperate regions in the northeastern USA and southern Canada.

Sadly, Sarracenia species are threatened in the wild by development and the drainage of their habitat. Estimates indicated that 97.5% of Sarracenia habitat has already been destroyed in the southeastern U.S., which is the home of all but one subspecies of Sarracenia.

Cultivated by gardeners and carnivorous plant enthusiasts, Sarracenia are easy to grow and make a terrific addition in neutral to acidic bog gardens or water gardens.

Sarracenia Plants

  • Sarracenia are herbaceous perennial plants that grow from fleshy roots (rhizome) and form whorls of hollow, modified leaves - the pitchers - that radiate out from the growing point, and then turn upwards with their trap openings facing the center of the crown. Insects are attracted by nectar that is secreted at the opening of the tubular leaves. They slip or crawl down into pools of digestive enzymes at the bottom of the pitchers. The exoskeletons are usually not digested, and over the course of the summer fill up the pitcher tube.
  • Depending on the species, Sarracenia range from 6 in. (15 cm) to over 3 ft. (90 cm) tall. They may be upright and resemble trumpets, or they may look like jugs and lie on the ground.
  • Sarracenia are available in a wide range of colors including green, yellow, burgundy, brilliant red and some pitcher plants boast dramatic red-veining.
  • Showy solitary flowers in red, pink or yellow, usually 2-3 in. across (5-7 cm), are produced early in spring, with or slightly ahead of the first pitchers. They are borne on long stalks, generally well above the pitcher traps to avoid the trapping of potential pollinators.
  • The flowers of almost all species are scented, some are strongly fragrant and sometimes unpleasant.
  • After a bloom period of 7-8 days, the petals drop and the ovary, if pollinated, begins to swell. On average, 300-600 seed are produced, depending on species and pollination. They take 5 months to mature, at which point the seed pod turns brown and splits open, scattering seed.

 

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 10
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Sarracenia - Pitcher Plants
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6" - 3' (15cm - 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Poorly Drained
Landscaping Ideas Bog Gardens

Andersphoto, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 10
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Sarracenia - Pitcher Plants
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6" - 3' (15cm - 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Poorly Drained
Landscaping Ideas Bog Gardens
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