Q/A #111 - Sarracenia with Curvy Pitchers

June 21, 2023

Q/A #111 - Sarracenia with Curvy Pitchers

I have a bad history of killing things (except my husband) and I'm loving keeping the two Sarracenia I got from you alive! The White Sparkler I recently received last month is farther along than the initial Golden-Red Jubilee I received earlier last month too. 

The White Sparkler arrived with one cute little pitcher already open, and the stalks (right word?) are nice and straight. A week later, another pitcher opening has appeared and the tallest stalk is curvy. Am I doing something wrong? Is this typical? These are my first pitcher plants and I don’t want to kill them. I live close to Atlanta, Georgia.
( Submitted in June 2020.)

Before repotting into bigger pots. White Sparkler in front.

White Spakrler before repotting into bigger pots.

After repotting into bigger pots.

After repotting into bigger pots.


Oh dear. One word, Sun! 

Sarracenia pitcher plants need the same amount of sun you would have to have for a vegetable garden. They need to be in an area that gets unobstructed sun for no less than 6 hours a day in the growing season. I always like to say they need the same amount of sun as tomato plants. Your plants should have tinges of red in them. Instead, they are very pale, and the floppiness is from light deprivation.

With that said, sometimes those curvy pitchers happen to late-season Sarracenia in spring. Your plants are late-season varieties, which means they will produce their best pitchers in August and September when summer cools down. In spring, their pitchers tend to be thin, but they will still have color in them. Quick fluctuating weather in spring can also cause curvy pitchers. One day the weather is cloudy and cool, and the next day its hot and sunny. That rapid change causes plants to release moisture quickly, and the pitchers end up curvy. So, that's one contributing factor, which is absolutely out of your control. But, the lack of color is in your control. 

Move them to an area with full sun and you should see a nice turn around in the new growth. The current pitchers may burn a little when you do that, but it's of no consequence since we're still early in the growing season. If the old pitchers start looking too bad, just cut them off. They will be replaced by newer growth that looks normal. Both of these species produce their best looking pitchers toward the end of summer.

Do the same with the Venus flytrap. It looks like you have a Red Dragon, but it's not very red. It should be deep maroon.

When you get a chance take a look at our Volume #1 video.

While it was in direct sun this afternoon it bent in half. It felt very flaccid. I thought it was getting too much sun and wilting so I moved it to shade. Those aluminum foil water trays were only temporary.

And that trap..... I didn’t get it from you guys. I know they need sun too so I put it out front and all the bigger traps burned off. Now it’s just stumps and very tiny traps that won’t open. Maybe I’m just a plant killer. I have a fake succulent that’s doing quite well!

Sorry Lynn, I'm not letting you off that easy. ? When people say they are plant killers it's only because they haven't learned what they need to know to be successful. The problems you're having is because the Venus flytrap was not in the proper conditions to start with. This is what happens with this plant all the time, and this is why people tend to kill them so often. 

Venus flytraps need strong sunlight. When they are grown in low light, they develop weak leaves. When they are then moved to full sun, they burn. This will even happen to a cactus if treated that way, and I've seen that happen to cactus that were kept in the shade. However, no one ever questions that a cactus should be in full sun. 

What I always tell folks that purchase Venus flytraps at stores is just to cut all the leaves off when you bring it home. Sitting in those little containers they've been deprived of light for weeks, and are very soft. Cutting the leaves off stops the transpiration and allows the plant to recover.

Just move those plants to their new sunny spot, and leave them. Just make sure they have their water trays. Any foliage that burns, just cut it off. Give them two to three weeks and you will see an amazing transformation of color as the new healthy foliage grows out.
Be sure to watch the Volume #1 video. It will really help as you see how we treat the plants in our nursery.

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