Growing One of the More Unusual Perennials: The Pitcher Plant
One of the most unusual types of perennials you can grow in a garden is the pitcher plant. These plants can be grown most easily in zones 6 through 8, but will adapt to colder zones if protected with a mulch in the winter. There are eight different species of these plants in the U.S.,... Read More
ranging in size from four inches to three feet! They all have one thing in common: They eat bugs. The plants secrete a wonderful smelling nectar (wonderful to the bugs, that is). Once the bug enters the pitcher, it's nearly impossible for it to get out. The sides of the plant are slippery and lined with tiny hairs that point downward. The bug is then ‘digested’ by the liquid, which contains enzymes that break down the prey so the plant can absorb it.
Pitcher plants have wonderful colors ranging from green to red to yellow. Ideally your pitcher plant should receive a few hours of sunshine each day so it can achieve this wonderful color.
The biggest challenge to growing these beauties is maintaining the right soil conditions. Plants need to be grown in a simulated bog formed from a mixture of sphagnum moss, medium orchid bark, and charcoal. Be sure the mixture is not allowed to dry out during the growing months.
In the winter the plants will go dormant. You should cut back the plants to the ground. They can be divided carefully just after the ground thaws, but before they start growing again for the new season.
Another bonus of these plants is that they yield some of the most unusual flowers you can find. The flowers look almost fake, but be assured, they're real.
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