HARDY NORTHERN PURPLE PITCHER PLANT Sarracenia purpurea
Surprisingly, this exotic-looking perennial is hardy and grows wild in much of the US and Canada! This large pitcher is upwards, often partially full of rainwater. The red veins in the pitcher are baited with nectar, louring insects, and have been found in Canada snacking on salamanders! Inside the pitcher, tiny hairs point downwards, preventing the preys escape, and ultimately travelling downwards, to be digested by the pitcher plant! These plants grow well in common peat moss, or a sand peat blend (70% peat moss).
Plants should be watered with rain water or bottled water, as they dislike municipal treated water. The growing medium must remain lightly moist at all times, never to dry out. Grow in a very bright location, but shelter from the hot midday sun. If growing indoors, these plants require a cold/dormant period for about 3 months. Place the container in a cool garage or refrigerator for this period.
Type: Hardy perennial
Location: Part sun, part shelter from hot midday sun.
Hardiness zones: 3-8
Germination: As with many perennials, these benefit from a period of moist cold to help them begin to grow. This is done by giving them a cool 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:
Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Fill the container sphagnum peat moss, or a mix that contains mainly peat moss. Place the seeds on the surface of the pre-dampened mix, and gently water with a spray bottle. Cover with clear plastic, and place your container in a cool area (but not freezing) for 6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature, and in bright light for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Most seedlings will sprout within 2-3 months of the warming period, though some may take a little longer. Once plants sprout, slowly remove the plastic, a little bit each day. Always keep the soil slightly moist, never letting it dry out.
In the winter, plants need about 3 months dormancy period, to rest. If growing your plants indoors, place the pot in a cool location for this cold period.