Looking after a Pitcher plant
Pitcher plant – Nepenthes distillatoria

They have become a popular gift in the last year or so. The carnivorous Pitcher Plant is hardly the usual suspect to adorn our homes. Here is a rough guide to looking after a Pitcher plant and getting the most out of this carnivorous houseplant.

What do Pitcher plants eat?

Insects: They are carnivorous, so they require living organisms as to attain nutrients. They will eat any flying or crawling insect that is unlucky enough to fall into one of its pitcher-like structures that grow on the tips/tendrils of certain leaves. The walls inside of each pitcher are slippery and contains digestive juices, so once an unfortunate victim has climbed/flown into one, it has next to no chance of getting out.

Pitcher’s living conditions

In their natural habitat, they are neighbors with Orchids (although Pitcher Plants are a lot tougher), so they prefer a warm and humid environment, out of direct sunlight, but in a light position. Most varieties can tolerate temperatures as low as 10C. They do like a little air movement if possible. Keep your pitcher plant near a window or doorway. To simulate the humidity that it would thrive on in the tropics, you can mist the plants with tepid water or place the pitcher on a tray of wet gravel.

Growing medium & repotting

Pitcher Plants like a reasonable loose mix of bark chippings and compost. They will also benefit from a little moss (try and get it from a sustainable source). Good drainage is important. Some growers suggest using a little charcoal to keep the compost ‘sweet’ and prevent it from getting too wet.

Giving your Pitcher plant extra food

It’s a good idea not to leave your Pitcher Plants welfare purely to fate (passing insects) and build up a feeding routine. Feed your plants Spring to mid-Autumn, once a month with a good multi-purpose plant food.

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