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Sarracenia Plants Characteristics, History, Types, Cultivation, Pests, Diseases

carnivorous plant Sarracenia cares

Sarracenia is a genre containing 8 to 11 species of North American pitcher plants, colloquially called trumpet pitchers. The group fits into the family Sarraceniaceae.

Sarracenia is a type of carnivorous plants native to the eastern coastline of the United States, Texas, the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada, with most species arising solely in the south-east United States, only the species Sarracenia purpurea arises in cold-temperate regions. The plant’s leaves have grown into a pipe or pitcher shape in order to trap insects.

The plant attracts its insect prey with secretions from extrafloral nectarines on the edge of the pitcher leaves, as well as a mixture of the leaves’ pigment and aroma. Oily foothold at the pitcher’s border, triggers bugs to fall inside, where they die and are absorbed by the plant with proteases and additional enzymes.


Sarracenia characteristics

Sarracenia are herbaceous perennial plants that grow from an underground tuber, with many cylindrical pitcher-shaped leaves exuding out from the growing point, and then spiraling upwards with their trap preambles fronting the center of the crown. The trap is a perpendicular tube with a “hood”, called operculum, spreading over its entry; and underneath it the top of the tube ordinarily has a turned rim (the peristome) which stashes nectar and perfumes. The hood itself often creates nectar too, but in minor amounts.

The interior of the pitcher tube, dependent on the species, can be separated into three to five different zones:

  • Zone 1: the operculum, or hood. It shelters at least part of the pitcher aperture, stopping rain from extremely stuffing the pitcher, which would end in the loss of prey and weak the digestive liquid. The operculum similarly assists to escort prey to the pitcher opening, operating a mixture of color, fragrance, and downward-pointing hairs to lead insects toward the trap entry.
  • Zone 2: is the peristome and rest of the trap entrance. This zone is constituted primarily of the peristome, which makes abundant quantities of nectar, tempting insect prey to land or sneak onto the risky foothold surrounding the pitcher trap.
  • Zones 3: this zone features a leaf surface with non-existent footing, as well as a covering of ultra-fine, downward pointing hairs. Insects that have made it this far lose any chance of escape. It is also dotted with digestive glands, which secrete digestive enzymes into the digestive fluid.
  • Zone 4: This is the final zone in most species. It is full with digestive fluids, and quickly absorbs nutrients unconfined from the insects by the work of the digestive enzymes and bacteria in the pitcher fluid. Zones 3 and 4 are combined in some species.
  • Zone 5: Only found only in Sarracenia purpurea, is smooth, glabrous, lacks glands, and does not serve as an absorptive zone. Its function is unknown.

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Trap Mechanism

Anbau der Sarracenia-Pflanze
Tubular plant is a carnivorous plant in the form of a glass.

All Sarracenia trap insects and other prey deprived of the usage of moving parts. Their traps are stationary and are founded on an amalgamation of lures of color, perfume, syrup and inescapability. Most species use a combination of odor, waxy deposits and gravity to fall insect prey into their pitcher.

Once inside, the creature discovers the foothold very greasy with a waxy surface covering the walls of the pitcher. Further down the tube, downward-pointing hairs make departure unmanageable, and in the bottommost region of the tube, a pool of liquid comprehending digestive enzymes and dampening agents rapidly sinks the prey and starts absorption. The exoskeletons are typically not processed, and over the sequence of the summer fill up the pitcher tube.

Only Sarracenia purpurea usually encompasses important quantities of rainwater in its tubular pitchers.

Flowers and seeds

Flowers are formed early in spring, with or somewhat ahead of the first pitchers. They are held individually on long stems, commonly well above the pitcher traps to avoid the trapping of possible pollinators. The flowers, which depending on species are 3 to 10 centimeters in diameter, are dramatic and have an intricate pattern which averts self-pollination. It involves of five sepals controlled by three bracts, plentiful anthers, and an umbrella-like five-pointed style, over which five long yellow or red petals hang. The whole flower is held upside-down, so that the umbrella-like style catches the pollen dropped by the anthers. The primary pollinators are bees.

The flowers of nearly all species are perfumed. The odor differs, but is regularly strong and from time to time nasty. Sarracenia flava has a particularly strong redolence reminiscent of cat urine.

Growth Cycle

Pitcher production begins at the end of the flowering period in spring, and lasts until late autumn. At the end of autumn, the pitchers start to weaken and the plants produce non-carnivorous foliage called phyllodia, which play a role in the economics of carnivory in these species. Since the supply of insects during winter is reduced, and the inception of cold weather slows plant metabolism and other processes, putting energy into producing carnivorous leaves would be uneconomical for the plant.


Seven of the eight species are limited to the south-eastern seaside plain of the United States. One species, Sarracenia purpurea, remains north and west well into Canada. The characteristic habitat is warm-temperate; all Sarracenia are perennial and require a distinct summer and winter. A few subspecies or diversities such as Sarracenia rubra, alabamensis, jonesii, and Sarracenia purpurea variation of montana can be found more inland in mountains.

Sarracenia have a tendency to inhabit eternally wet bogs, everglades, and verdant plains. These habitats tend to be acidic with low pH and earth made up of sand and sphagnum moss. Regularly, the loam will be pitiable in nutrients, mainly nitrates, and often unceasingly filtered by moving water or made unobtainable to the plant roots by the low pH. The plants gain their benefit from their skill to extract nutrients from insect prey in this mineral-poor environment. The plants prefer strong, direct sunlight with no shade.

Types of Sarracenia

Kinds of carnivorous Sarracenia cares
Known as “white tube plant”.
  • Sarracenia Alabamensis: Also branded as the cane-brake pitcher plant, is a carnivorous plant in the genre Sarracenia. Like all the Sarracenia, it is native to the New World. The subspecies of Sarracenia alabamensis is found only in central Alabama, while subspecies wherryiis found in southwestern Alabama, eastern Mississippi and Florida.
  • Sarracenia Alata: Amongst members of Sarraceniathe floral tinting of Sarracenia alata is curiously diverse. Flowers can be cream to white, greenish, yellow or reddish. As the floral color differences happen inside populations hundreds of miles from any other Sarracenia species, these disparities cannot be credited to hybridization.
  • Sarracenia Flava: The yellow pitcherplant, is a carnivorous plant in the family Sarraceniaceae. Like all the Sarraceniaceae, it is native to the New World. Its range extends from southern Alabama, through Florida and Georgia, to the coastal plains of southern Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Populations also exist in the Piedmont and mountains of North Carolina.
  • Sarracenia Jonesii: It is a stemless herbaceous perennial that requires full sunlight to grow. It has deep cylindrical pitchers that are green colored with burgundy veins. Flowers are usually burgundy, as well; 5-petaled and spherical and create a sweet-smelling perfume. The pitchers are slim with a horizontal cover to avoid too much rain water from incoming the tube, they invite flies and other small insects to feed on it, tempting them with colorful leaves and sweet smells.
  • Sarracena Leucophylla: It has drowsy, brownish-red flowers and bunches of vertical, deep, pitcher-like leaves. Each leaf is tinted at top with reddish-purple veins on a white background and topped by a stiff, disk-shaped, wavy-edged hood. It is very variable with respect to its height, with plants in some localities reaching almost 1 meter in height, while in others, plants can be diminutive. A seldom seen 30 centimeters tall dwarf form is endemic to Garcon Point in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
  • Sarracenia Minor: Also known as the hooded pitcherplant, is a perennial, terrestrial, rhizomatous, herbaceous, insectivorous plant in the genus Sarracenia. Like all the Sarracenia, it is native to North America. The typical form is a relatively small plant with pitchers about 25 to 30 centimeters in height. An especially large form, with pitchers up to 90 to 120 centimeters high, grows in the Okefenokee marshes, at the border between Georgia and Florida.

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Sarracenia Care


Sarracenia grow best outdoors as a container or potted plant on a sunny deck or patio. You may also grow them in a pond or fountain, but keep their crowns above water. Because of their specific soil requirements, avoid planting them directly into the ground.


This is a sun-loving plant and it just can’t get enough of it. During the growing season (months from April to October), the pitcher plant must get full sun, or at the plain least very bright light, for the pitchers to shape and progress appropriately. South facing windows with full display would be this plants first and major choice.

East and West may be proper as a last resort, but it will need direct sun for at least a few hours a day. You may just scrape by with a sunny site on a window ledge, but in nearly all cases you’ll need somewhere with direct daylight exposure for a flourishing plant.


If you water properly there would, in theory, be a continuous foundation of dampness nearby the plant which gives a natural buff to the adjacent humidity levels. This means there is nothing supplementary you need do here except if you have a very dehydrated home or place your plant in extremely dry air such as over a heater. In this occurrence artificially raising the humidity level will be required to stop the tips of the pitchers from becoming crunchy.


Sarracenias like warm to hot temperature when in active development so a typical home is perfect, and in Winter they like the cold. Unlike almost every other houseplants, they can, and sometimes prefer, take mild frosts when dormant.


Keep the plant permanently wet. Sarracenia requests to be wet or at the very least humid almost all year round. Do not let it dry out at all; the only omission is during the resting period in the cold months of the year at which point you need to reduce watering to prevent the stem from decomposing.

You can water very comprehensively, so the bottom third, or even half of the pot, stands in the excess water. Sarracenia tend to have a dryness and this united with the hopefully sunny spot you’re trying to grow it in will mean regular watering is a must.

Also, use the right type of water; carnivorous plants need acid water and using neutral or basic water for extended periods will kill your plant. The most normally available foundation of acid water is rainwater. Once or twice, when in an emergency, you can use basic water for the plants because it’s better to use the incorrect water than no water at all.

You may be able to use tap water but only if you live in a very soft water area, hard water must be avoided as it contains too many minerals. Mineral water shouldn’t be used or water from fish tanks or ponds due to the high concentration of nitrates.

Speed of growth

Hybrids of the Sarracenia insectivora plant

Tubular plants can be hybridized by rubbing the pollen of one flower with another.

With warm temperatures, excellent light levels and ample water these plants grow really fast to the point where they can develop several leaves (pitchers) each week.

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There are many diversities and hybrids which all have dissimilar growing traits. In general, your plant will be categorized as either a tall or short growing variability. Most shop or store brought Pitcher Plants will be the short objectively compressed growing variability and they’ll unlikely to reach more than 25cm.


Given a Winter Rest, in Spring the plant will come back to life and shortly after “waking up”, it will frequently create some fascinating, complex-looking flowers that begin high above the plant and last for a few weeks. These die down and are slowly substituted by the pitchers. On our own plants’ flowers have also appeared in mid to late Summer if they’ve been treated well. They’re sometimes scented although at times the smell can be unpleasant. If you find it too overpowering then you can simply cut the flower stem off.