The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: Should I put water in my pitcher plant leaves?

Nepenthes tobaica
Nepenthes tobaica

Sarracenia purpurea
Sarracenia purpurea
A: There are two carnivorous plant genera (Sarracenia and Nepenthes) that are frequently bought by newcomers to carnivorous plant cultivation. Quite frequently, I am asked if the pitchers of these plants, especially ones newly purchased, should be given a bit of water.

Sure, you can do this if you want. I don't know of anyone I trust who does this, but if you want to it won't hurt. Most of the experienced growers have so many plants, they don't have the time for this kind of shenanigans. But if you want to do it, knock yourself out. I recommend that you only use purified water.

If you grow your Nepenthes correctly, its pitchers should start producing their own fluids within a month or so. If they don't, your humidity may be too low. Increase it.

Short little Sarracenia purpurea and Sarracenia rosea don't seem to produce too much water---in the wild they get it from rain. It doesn't matter if their pitchers dry out, but if you want them to digest food they need fluid filling their pitchers to about 1/4th their height. Since these plants do much of their digestion via bacteria, you should probably keep the pitchers filled with a bit of water at all times so the bacterial populations are healthy. I admit that when I feed these plants, I splash a little water into each pitcher. But I'm just guessing on this.

Page citations: personal observations.

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018