Sarracenia Care

Overview

Sarracenia is a carnivorous plant that lives on a diet of insects. The plant is considered a "passive carnivorous plant," because it does not close to eat its prey. Instead, it traps insects inside its flower with downward-facing cilia and slick interior walls. The plant is found naturally in the southeast regions of the U.S., as well as in parts of Europe, where it originated. Sarracenia is a member of the pitcher plant family, so called for their tall, tubular flowers that resemble water pitchers. Keeping a sarracenia plant requires specific care.

Soil

Sarracenia plants grow naturally in marshes and bogs, and along the beds of ponds and lakes. At home, they do well situated around man-made ponds. If the sarracenias are planted in containers, Keith Williams--a sarracenia cultivator in the Netherlands--suggests using a mixture of peat moss, perlite and sand at a ratio of 4:2:1. This mixture provides a drain rate similar to that which the plants are used to in the wild.

Water Needs

If they are planted along the edge of a backyard pond, sarracenia plants do not require any additional water. Their roots drink from the wet soil surrounding the pond. In containers, the plants require frequent waterings. They grow best when the soil mix is kept wet during the spring, summer and fall. During the winter, the plant enters dormancy and requires its soil to be just slightly moist.

Light Needs

Sarracenia require full sunlight to grow properly. Ideally, their beds or containers are in areas of the yard that receive 8 to 10 hours of bright, unfiltered sunlight each day. Indoors, sarracenia only survives in a brightly sunlit window with southern or western exposure.

Containers

Because sarracenia prefers well-drained moist soil, it is important to choose a container that will facilitate this. The flower pot or container must have drainage holes on the bottom. A plastic or glazed pot helps to preserve the soil's moisture; terra cotta or any other porous material wicks away too much of the soil's moisture, which makes for a stressed and unhappy plant.

Repotting

Sarracenia plants are fast growers. Grown directly in the ground, they can remain in one spot permanently. In containers, though, sarracenia quickly become root-bound. The plants require new, larger pots every year. Repotting is best done during the spring, when the plant enters its new growth phase.

Keywords: sarracenia care, caring for sarracenia, growing sarracenia

About this Author

Cyn Vela is a freelance writer and professional blogger. Her work has been published on dozens of websites, as well as in local print publications. Vela's articles usually focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, parenting, gardening, and health and wellness. She studied English literature at Del Mar College, and at the University of Texas at San Antonio.