Purple Pitcher Plant: Care & Growing Guide

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How to Grow Purple Pitcher Plant

Native to North America, the unusual specimen known as the purple plant may be a new discovery for many gardeners. The plant calls boggy and boggy places home (such as the edge of ponds or swamps) and can be easily identified by its saturated burgundy hue.

Each mature purple plant produces a single 3-inch flower, which begins as a "downward" head and eventually reveals yellowish pollen stamens.

Best planted in early spring, purple seedlings grow slowly; some varieties can take up to five years to mature and flower. The "jars" mentioned in the common name of this plant are actually modified leaves. A rosette of these leaves radiates from the base of the flower stalk, and the jars themselves can grow up to eight inches long.

While decorative to the human eye, the shape of the jar also serves a practical purpose: its container-like structure holds water, where the carnivorous plant's prey ends up drowning.

Botanical NameSarracenia purpurea subsp. venosa
Common NamePurple pitcher plant,
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Mature Size6–18 in. tall, 12-24 in. wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeHumusy, consistently moist
Soil pHAcidic
Bloom TimeLate spring, early summer
Flower ColorPurple
Hardiness Zones6–8 (USDA)
Native AreaNorth America

Purple Pitcher Plant Care

Similar to the famous Venus flytrap, purple plants are a species of carnivorous plant. The swampy environment in which they normally grow in the wild is poor in nutrients, so plants need to supplement their diet with food beyond what their roots can extract, so their leaves do double duty as jars.

Insects and other small creatures are attracted to its color and smell. It's easy for an insect to descend into the plant pot, but difficult for it to get out, due to the waxy, slippery inner walls covered in stiff, downward-pointing hairs.

Faced with the need to climb "against the current", the victim insects end up getting tired and falling to the bottom of the jar, where they drown in the rainwater. Nutrients from decomposing bodies are eventually absorbed by plants.

To use the purple plant in your garden, use its natural habitat location hint. Carnivorous plants prefer wet conditions, so plant yours in a swamp, wet bog, rain garden, or by a lake.


As a general rule of thumb, most carnivorous plants grow best in full sunlight. Purple plants follow suit, growing best under at least six to eight hours of bright light a day. In warmer climates, it can also withstand some shade. If the plant shows soft leaves or pots, this is usually a sign that it is not getting enough light.


Purple jars work best in a soil mix that is always moist but also well-drained. To create a mix that they will really thrive in, combine sand, sphagnum moss, and peat soil in a shallow container.


Water your purple plant constantly so that the soil never dries up; It should always be damp, but never soggy or runny. Also, be sure to water the entire plant; It is important to water not only the ground and the base of the plant but also from above so that the leaves and jars of the plant are also moistened.

Temperature and humidity

Purple vases work best in moderate to warm temperatures ranging from 55 degrees Fahrenheit to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, tar plants love humidity. If your outdoor summer environment doesn't provide enough, consider spraying the plant regularly to make sure it stays moist enough.


Although not necessary, pitchers can benefit from two or three applications of a slow-release fertilizer per year; more than that, you risk damaging the plant. Look for a fertilizer mix formulated for bromeliads or orchids.

Common Pests/Diseases

The pests that most commonly cause problems for carnivorous plants are aphids, thrips, and mealybugs. You can spy on actual insects on plants, or you may simply notice signs of their presence, including a sticky sap-like substance on the stem or leaves, chewed leaves, or cotton on parts of the plant.

If you notice any signs of infestation, don't wait to act; just because the plant is carnivorous does not mean that it can protect itself against an infestation. Treat your plant with a mild insecticide or a horticultural oil such as neem oil.

In addition to various pests, jars can be susceptible to fungal diseases, especially considering the wet and swampy places they are normally found. Signs of a fungal infection include black or white soot anywhere on the plant. If you notice a problem, you can treat it with caution with a sulfur-based fungicide.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Carnivorous Plant

Source: The Horticultural Society of New York

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