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Trumpet Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia)

Sarracenias are one of the easiest carnivorous plant to grow, liking full sun in the summer, and a cold winter. It should be cold enough for them to stop growing – anything from an unheated conservatory to an unheated greenhouse, or outside. Frost is not a problem for the majority.

Full sun does mean just that – as long as they are in water they with withstand quite hot temperatures. A south facing window, conservatory , or bog garden are ideal (remember, most carnivorous plants like acid conditions and very poor soil -unlike almost any other plant)

Always use soft water, preferably rainwater. We keep ours standing in 2-4cm water from March through October, and then just damp through the winter. They do literally stand in water -not over a gravel tray. If you are growing them in a container with no holes, just keep wet. If outside it may flood and freeze in the winter, but that should be OK.

Never give any fertiliser through the root system. If the plant is grown in fly free conditions, it is best to feed live insects into the trap during the growing season. Live wax worms and meal worms can be obtained from . They will often get indigestion in the summer months, when they catch many insects very quickly. This causes a brown patch and it is a good sign of a healthy plant. It is difficult to avoid without blocking up the entrance to the trap with cotton wool. All the flies caught this year

Winter Care     
Many species and hybrids are OK outside, especially if in a sheltered position. This helps prevent botrytis. Otherwise a cold greenhouse or unheated conservatory are ideal. In winter, they will gradually die back. We cut the traps as they go brown, just cutting off slightly more than the brown part rather than the whole trap. Do this 2-3 times over the winter. As they are not growing, keep just damp rather than too wet. All will tolerate frost, but we try to keep S. psittacina frost free, to prevent it having quite such a deep dormancy. Some species produce flat winter leaves (phyllodia). Some will keep their traps over winter.

We use a mixture of 6:2:1 Sphagnum peat: perlite: sharp lime free sand. Parts by volume. Re-pot every two years to achieve maximum growth, but will tolerate being left for four years. Old compost , ericaceous compost or houseplant compost will not do. Most composts contain lime, which they hate, and/or fertiliser. As their roots are designed to take in fertiliser, the nitrogen can burn the roots.

Grow from seed (takes 5-7 years for mature plant, but isn?t difficult). Stratification (place pot in fridge for a few weeks) helps germination. The seed will be quite obvious in the round seed pod. Harvest when it has gone straw coloured and is just beginning to split (seed is brown when ripe) Either sow immediately or dry and keep in the fridge over winter. A quicker way is rhizome division or rhizome cuttings. Divide the plant just before it comes into growth in early spring. It should split quite easily if it has naturally divided.

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