Purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea) are small, hardy carnivorous plants. These distinctive pitcher plants live longer than all other Sarracenia plants, according to Barry Rice, a horticulturist with the International Carnivorous Plant Society. Native to the United States, these plants get their nutrients from trapping tiny insects as well as from the soil. Caring for purple pitcher plants is relatively easy, but note that they only live two years at the most even with the best care.
Purple pitcher plants need acidic planting medium that retains water but it not hard. These plants will grow well in sphagnum moss or equal amounts of peat moss and sand.
Pitcher plants grown in containers should be planted in containers that do not have drainage holes, as they prefer very wet planting medium. Outdoors, the pot can be planted directly into the ground, where the walls of the pot will keep the water in the soil contained.
Purple pitcher plants thrive in very soggy, low-lying, marshy areas. In the home garden or indoors, they are often grown in terrariums where the humidity can keep the soil continuously moist. Use distilled water, as tap water may contain harmful chemicals, and water enough so that the planting medium remains moist at all times.
Northern purple pitcher plants are hardy to USDA growing zone 3. The seeds must lie dormant during extended cooler periods followed by moist, warm temperatures in order to germinate. In fact, it is sometimes difficult for the seeds to germinate, so these plants are often propagated by division during early spring.
Sarracenia purpurea plants thrive in full sunlight, so place your plant in a location where it will receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day, and preferably eight to 12 hours.
Never fertilize the purple pitcher plant. Instead, make sure the planting medium is kept moist and drop a tiny insect into the pitcher part of the plant every so often.