Pitcher Plant Quick FactsOrigin: Southeast United States
Trap Type: Digestive Tube Traps
Favorite Food: Fire Ants & Love Bugs
Dislikes: Getting Stepped On
Care Level: Easy
Scientific Name: Sarracenia
Make Sure to Check Out our Scarlette Belles, they are extremely hungry!
The pitcher plant is one of the most famous carnivorous plants. They are known for their large size and can grow up to three feet tall! The name pitcher plant comes from the fact that their long tubular traps resemble pitchers of water. Some kinds of pitcher plant species actually fill up with water to aid in capturing and digesting their food. They can catch and eat any kind of bug and love larger bugs--crickets, grasshoppers, and even wasps and bees, but please do not hand feed these dangerous bugs to your pitcher plant.
The most common pitcher plant species are the North American pitcher plants. These plants grow mostly in the Southeast United States, but can be found all the way up the East Coast and across the Midwest. They like humid boggy conditions and a pitcher plant will prosper in sandy acidic soil. A pitcher plant will produce a tall beautiful flower in the spring which can grow into a seed pod containing hundreds of seeds. In a thought of mercy, the pitcher plant will grow its flowers earlier in the spring than its traps so it does not devour the friendly bugs who pollinate the flowers.
A pitcher plant works by creating an unescapable trap for a bug. First, a bug smells a nice nectar smell and is drawn towards the beautiful green, red, yellow, and even purple colors on the plants. As the bug lands on the neck of the pitcher, it becomes shaded by the hood, losing track of where the light is coming from. Sharp downward pointing hairs act as bayonets inside the pitcher plant that force the bug down the tube. The wall underneath these hairs is very slipperly, eliminating any chance for escape. As the bug slides down the long tube, it gets wedged against the narrowing tube. As it comes to rest, it will be slowly digested and become a tasty meal for the pitcher plant.
Pitcher Plant Rubra
The Rubra is a very hardy upright pitcher plant that is common throughout the Southeast United States. It produces 4-8 pitchers at a time that can grow up to 18" tall as the plant matures. Pitchers are mostly green, but can turn yellow and reddish depending on the growing condition. Pitchers are long and narrow with a triangular hood on top. The rubra makes a great indoor or outdoor pet plant and is easy to keep alive anywhere. It is great at catching bugs and is a perfect variety of the upright North American pitcher plant.
Pitcher Plant Scarlet Belle
The Scarlet Belle pitcher plant is a unique hybrid variety that combines the best traits of two spectacular pitcher plants. It is mostly upright, but grows outward as well. The colorful pitchers are hooded completely around the opening, meaning that a bug must crawl up inside the hood to become trapped in a scarlet belle. The plant's unique color and odors will make sure that the little insects will crawl right in. The Scarlet Belle is one of the most unique pitcher plant varieties and will look great anywhere.
Pitcher Plant Purpurea
The purpurea pitcher plant (or purp as we like to call it) is a unique variety as it is grows outward instead of upward. This hardy species is one of the most widespread in the United States. It can grow to nearly a foot in diameter with 4-8 traps at anytime. Unlike other pitcher plants, since the purp grows outward, the opening is exposed to air and rain. This is beneficial as the trap will fill with rainwater to help in catching and digesting bugs. The colors of the purp are quite magnificent and each leaf can can be filled with greens, reds, yellows, and purples. The purp is very hardy and can live for years in most indoor or outdoor environment.