Sarracenia purpurea
Sweet Pitcher Plant

Sarraceniaceae

Sarracenia purpurea

Sarracenia purpurea, or Sweet Pitcher Plant, is an evergreen, perennial pitcher plant native to the Eastern United States. The hollow leaves that trap and digest insects arise from creeping rhizomes and are 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) tall. The plants are native to bogs and are well suited for culture in terrariums. They are very cold hardy and will live outside in USDA zone 3.

Blooming Time: The flowers are purple to greenish purple and are up to 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) across.

Culture: Sarracenia purpurea need full sun to light shade with an acidic, moist to wet soil. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of fine sand and sphagnum. In a terrarium, you need to add at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of horticultural charcoal before adding the soil mix. If grown in containers, the container should be placed in trays with at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water at all times. They should be watered with distilled water or rainwater because they will not tolerate the chemicals in city water or the hardness of our well water. Do NOT fertilize or this will also damage the plants. (Plants only produce pitcher leaves in the absence of nitrogen and other nutrients.) During the winter months, restrict watering somewhat, but never allow the plants to dry completely.

Propagation: Sarracenia purpurea are propagated by division or by seed. Seed germinate in 30-90 days at 75-80°F (23-27°C).

Sarracenia purpurea was featured as Plant of the Week September 5-11, 2003.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.