What's The Pitch On Pitcher Plants?
Pitcher plants (Sarracenia spp.) and their friends, the sundews (Drosera spp.) are the most common insectivorous plants in North America. Insectivorous you say? That is right, Sarracenias have evolved to catch insects to supplement their diet. This is to take advantage of the wet, low nutrient and mineral content of the acidic bogs where they can be found growing. These herbaceous perennials have modified leaves, resembling tubes or pitchers, that allow for insects to fall in, become trapped and ultimately digested.
All that being said, Sarracenia are very easy to grow. They can be grown outside year round as long as they are able to go dormant and rest for the winter. Large plastic or ceramic pots are our favorite way to garden with Sarracenia. This actually allows for you to include many companions of Sarracenia, which include mosses, sedges, and native orchids. If you are lucky enough to have the space, an in ground bog is the ultimate sanctuary for them.
Bog Container Gardens
Require sandy or peat-sand bog conditions with mostly full-sun exposure. Adequate moisture and extreme lack of nutrients are a must for this plant to grow. Added nutrients (aka. fertilizer) will kill carnivorous plants.
Winter Care For Your Bog Garden
Perhaps the most common question is... What do I do with my bog garden in the winter? Again, Sarracenia do best with a cold period lasting the duration of the winter. Placing the plant outside with a good layer of pine needle mulch is critical for zones 7 or colder. However, a non heated sun room in your house or greenhouse would also be appropriate. Remove mulch in early to mid-April when you start to see new growth. It is this point, that you can clean up and trim the dead leaves and pull weeds out.