Carnivorous plants: Sarracenia purpurea

Carnivorous plants: Sarracenia purpurea

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Classification, origin and description

First name: Sarracenia purpurea L.
Kind: Sarracenia
Family: Sarraceniaceae

Origin: it is a species native to North America and its range extends north to the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada. Outside its territory of origin, sarracenia was introduced in some European countries, where it naturalized. These include Switzerland, where there has been a population in the Jura Alpine massif known for over a century, in Ireland, Great Britain and Germany.

General description

The type of capture is passive: it attracts insects through a narcotic nectar, and then drops them into the funnel formed by its petals and leaves at the bottom of which there is a liquid in which bacteria and enzymes will begin a slow digestion.
The leaves are modified into pitchers similar to long wineskins with the apical part transformed into a cap. The trap consists of the 10-30 cm high pitchers, arranged in a rosette, green in color with reddish streaks that tend to form a bright red-purple color. To attract prey, use the sweet-tasting nectar that is produced above all in the cap of the pitcher and in the mouth. The hood is small and does not cover the mouth of the pitcher which is filled with rainwater. The preys first fall into the pitcher, then drown and finally, decomposing in the water, they are digested by the plant. Unlike other Sarracenia species, S. purpurea does not release enzymes to complete catch digestion. The stem that carries the flower (scape) reaches 60 cm in height. The flowers are globular and dark red in color.

Sarracenia purpurea (By Pouzin Olivier - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: it must not drop below 0 ° C for several consecutive days.
Light: full sun.
Environmental watering and humidity: during the vegetative rest keep the substratum slightly damp to avoid frosts when the temperature drops below 0 ° C, even if short frosts support them. From the vegetative restart always keep a few centimeters of water in the saucer. It is advisable to use distilled water, from reverse osmosis or rainwater.
Substrate: the optimal substrate for sarracenia must be composed in equal parts between acid blonde sphagnum peat and perlite. A good quality peat must have a pH between 3.5 and 4.5, 1% nitrogen, 1% organic substance. For some years now, alternative substrates have also been experimenting with excellent results, such as coconut fiber.
Fertilizations and special precautions: no fertilizers are required for these plants.


It reproduces by seed, division of the rhizome or ascidian cutting, although this technique is very difficult and little used both for the poor results and for the long time necessary to obtain an adult plant.

Diseases, pests and adversities

The most common pests on these plants are aphids, mealybug and red spider mite. The death of the plant, if not treated in time, can also occur due to rhizome cancer.

Video: Wild Carnivorous Plants - Red Sarracenia purpurea (August 2022).