Pinguicula vulgaris, or Butterwort, is a small plant with rosettes of light green to yellow green leaves that is native to the Northern United States and Eurasia. Small insects are trapped on their leaf surfaces with mucilage secreted by microscopic glands. Since they absorb the insect nutrients, they are considered to be carnivorous! They do well in terrariums with other carnivorous plants such as Dionaeas and Droseras.
Blooming Time: The small ¾ inch (2 cm) flowers have a slender spur that is violet to purple.
Culture: Pinguicula vulgaris need full sun to partial shade and prefer to be planted in an acidic, well-drained 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 will 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 as this will also damage the plants. During the winter months, restrict the water somewhat, but never allow the plants to dry completely.
Propagation: Pinguicula vulgaris is propagated from seed, from offsets or by single leaves laid on moist sand.
Pinguicula vulgaris was featured as Plant of the Week October 17-23, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late 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.