Care for the Pitcher Plant

Overview

The tropical pitcher plant, or nepenthes, is a bug-eating carnivorous plant native to regions in Asia, Australia and Madagascar. This showy plant usually grows as a vigorous vine, though some variations grow as rosettes. Pitcher plants grow long, sword-like foliage with pitcher-shaped flowers that are naturally modified, carnivorous leaves. These flowers grow in an array of colors depending on native variation and range from 5 to 9 inches long.

Step 1

Use a moisture-retentive planting location. Plant the pitcher plant in a plastic or glazed ceramic container. Select a container with no drainage system. Avoid wood, concrete, cement or terra cotta containers to prevent plant infection. The common chemicals that are used to treat these types of containers are poisonous to the pitcher plant.

Step 2

Prepare the soil for the pitcher plant. Mix equal parts of organic peat and fine sterilized sand. Purchase sandbox sand with low sodium content to avoid damage to the plant. Plant the pitcher plant in the non-drained container with the prepared soil. Plant the pitcher plant only as deep as the root system, ensuring the entire system is covered in soil.

Step 3

Irrigate the pitcher plant regularly to provide a constantly moist, humid environment. Mist indoor pitcher plants daily to promote humidity and moisture levels. Water the plant with distilled water or rainwater to reduce the amounts of sodium and chemicals offered to the plant. Prevent drought conditions by watering excessively before long periods of absence. Avoid fertilizing the pitcher plant, as the excess nutrients may kill the plant.

Step 4

Position the pitcher plant in a partially shaded spot that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight each day. Select a location that provides dappled sunlight. This will reduce the potential for sun damage to the pitcher plant's foliage. Choose a warm location that is free from direct temperature variations such as heating vents and air conditioners.

Step 5

Inspect the plant daily for signs of spider infestation. Look for small webs on foliage and flowers. Treat the plant with an insecticide to rid of insect infestation. Choose an insecticide designed for carnivorous plants. Dust the plant regularly to prevent fungal and bacterial diseases.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting container
  • Organic compost
  • Sand

References

  • Bug Biting Plants: Carnivorous Plant Care Guide
  • Lord Whimsy: Pitcher Plant Care Sheet
  • Plant Care: Pitcher Plant
Keywords: pitcher plant care, carnivorous plant, nepenthes

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.