It’s hard to imagine that this is actually a plant. It looks more like a starfish! The parrot pitcher plant has long, narrow traps that sprawl outward in a ground-hugging rosette, each terminating in a hollow, round "atrium"-like structure tipped to a point like a parrot's beak (psittacina, its Latin name, is from the Greek word for parrot). Light windows, like those of the white-top pitcher, dot the unusual bulb-shaped tops. Though truly bizarre, a beautifully grown Sarracenia psittacina is indeed as ornamental and satisfying as any other pitcher plant. In fact, it's often confused for its distant relative, Darlingtonia californica, the Cobra Plant.
Sarracenia psittacina, blessedly, is
easier to grow than the Cobra Plant, but you will need to be patient. It is one of the slowest growing Sarracenia, much like the northern purple pitcher, though it often retains leaves from the previous year so it's almost always presentable. At our nursery in Oregon, it’s usually the last plant to break dormancy. It displays its full
potential when summers are hot and the growing season is long. Some growers report that S. psittacina does best as a semi-aquatic in a pond-like setup, mimicking its natural environment by being submerged for part of its growing season. In mid
to late spring, you might see yellow flowers. If you do, you know you
have a very happy plant!
Plants You Receive
Plants are shipped in 4-inch pots with proper growing media. Each plant is a division from select mother plants in our collection. Pitchers are expected to reach 4 inches during their first season after division. The second photo is representative of plants for sale in early season.
All cold hardy plants are grown outdoors at our nursery in Oregon and experience the changes of the seasons. Care instructions are provided.
Please watch the monthly video
for examples of how your plant may look at this time of the year and important growing tips for the season.
Type of Plant
Cold hardy perennial for outdoor growing.
Central Florida through North Carolina.
Size of Adult Plants
12-16 inches tall.
Full sun, 6 or more hours of direct sunlight.
Use mineral-free water or water low in minerals (less than 50 parts per million). Keep the soil wet by setting the plant in a dish of standing water.
Use 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite (or washed river sand). Avoid fertilizers, regular garden soil, and compost.
April - October. Pitchers will brown at the onset of winter dormancy.
Hardy of winter frost. Mulch in USDA zones 7 and colder.