Carnivorous Plant Devours Insects!
We are amazed and delighted to be able to offer this exciting mix! Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia species) are perennials that may remind you a bit of Jack-in-the-Pulpit, with long, slender leaves that curl into a chalice shape and often have a “hood” or “lid,” either over the top or arching outwards. They are beautiful in all shades of yellow, crimson, purple, lime green, and near-black. And they are also deadly, if you happen to be a noxious insect!
Here’s how this carnivorous plant works: the curled foliage holds water from rainfall and sprinklers in its base. The sides are naturally very slippery. The leaves release a sweet nectar aroma that certain insects cannot resist. They march in, slide down the slick leaves, and meet their doom in the standing water! Isn’t Nature incredible?
And there is so much more to Pitcher Plants than the novelty of their dining habits. These perennials are magnificently beautiful, with contrasting veins, elegant arching and sinuous forms, and even nodding blooms (think Fritillaria or Helleborus) on long stems held well above the leaves! Not all of the foliage forms pitchers — some of it remains open to take advantage of photosynthesis. Often you will see outer leaves held wide like ears on the sides of the plant!
This mix is incredibly varied, and if you and your neighbor each sow all the seeds, chances are you will have somewhat different looking results! The size range we give for these plants it deliberately broad, for there is no telling what particular varieties you will be growing. We only know that you will be awed by them!
You might think that a wildflower such as Pitcher Plant would thrive in a wide range of settings, but it’s actually fairly particular about its soil and moisture. The rule of thumb is “wet feet, dry ankles.” This means that while this perennial thrives in boggy conditions, it also appreciates dry topsoil. Mulch it in well, keep the surface of the soil dry to normally moist, but make sure there is plenty of water beneath the soil line. For most of us with poor soil drainage, this is a godsend!
Pitcher Plants thrive in full sun to part shade, depending on species and climate. They need acidic soil, and will spread by rhizomes over time. The young plants and new spring foliage are often bright red, and may take a season or two to reach carnivorous size.
There are many species in this mix, most of them North American natives. Here are a few to look for:
S. alata – Known as the Texas Pitcher or the Pale Pitcher Plant, this southern U.S. native offers tall, slender, pastel-toned pitchers (often with spidery maroon veins on the interior) with neat “lids.” The blooms often appear before the new growth in early spring, and tend to sport cream to pale yellow petals, held downward on long, slender stems.
S. leucophylla – The Crimson Pitcher Plant is native to the southeastern United States, found in the piney woods. The foliage is light green with the top few inches a mass of mottled freckles of dark purple and white. The flowers are a russet shade of red, nearly mahogany, and quite showy in spring.
S. flava – Another native species, Yellow Trumpet Pitcher Plant is a fabulous bright shade of lime to chartreuse, topped by yellow blooms in spring.
S. purpurea – Distributed widely throughout the U.S. and Canada, this cold-hardier Pitcher Plant is also known as Side-saddle Flower. It looks a little different from some of the others, being much shorter, with wider leaves. And although it still forms a shallow cup that traps insects, many of the leaves are open to take advantage of photosynthesis. The overall color is reddish purple, quite hairy and rough, with brilliant bright red to purple blooms on wiry maroon stems held above the plant and downturned, as if parachuting toward the rosette of foliage. The flowers appear in late spring or early summer, depending upon how far north the plant is grown.
Pitcher Plant seed is not the easiest you will ever sow, but it’s fun and distinctively different. Sow the seeds from mid- to late winter in peat or sphagnum moss pots. (You may want to mix in some grit to improve the air circulation before sowing.) to try. Place the seeds on the top of the mix, because they need light to germinate, and let the pot sit in chlorine-free water, such as rainwater collected from your garden or even bottled distilled water. Place a screen or other protective covering over the pot, or set it in a Easy Tunnel, coldframe, or greenhouse. Germination will occur in early summer.
Once the seedlings have about 5 leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into a larger pot, a terrarium, or other temporary home. They need and love light at this stage, and if you have grow lights or kitchen fluorescents, go ahead and set them beneath the light, giving them up to 16 hours a day.
Transplant the seedlings into the garden in spring when they are showing good growth. They will colonize where they are happy into large, breathtaking plantings! Enjoy this lifetime perennial! Zones 5-8.
(P)Pkt of 10 seeds
Variety:’Webbed Goblets and Chalices Mix’
Item Form:(P)?Pkt of 10 seeds
Zone:5 – 8
Bloom Start to End:Mid Spring – Mid Summer
Seeds Per Pack:10
Plant Height:15 in – 24 in
Plant Width:8 in – 12 in
Additional Characteristics:Easy Care Plants,?Flower,?Pest Fighter,?Variegated
Foliage Color:Bronze,?Bronze Green,?Brown,?Burgundy,?Chartreuse,?Gold,?Light Green,?Medium Green,?Mix,?Olive Green,?Purple,?Variegated,?Yellow
Light Requirements:Full Sun,?Part Shade
Moisture Requirements:Moist,? well-drained,?Wet
Resistance:Cold Hardy,?Deer Resistance,?Disease Resistant,?Heat Tolerant,?Humidity Tolerant,?Pest Resistant
Soil Tolerance:Clay,?Normal,? loamy,?Poor,?Sandy