Eight species of carnivorous plants belong to the sarracenia genus, all originating in North America; only one species, Sarracenia purpurea has been introduced in Europe, and has become wild, some specimens can be seen in the alpine areas.
These are particular plants, since they obtain the nitrogen they need directly from the digestion or decomposition of small insects they capture; the whole plant is completely transformed into organs specialized in the capture of insects. The leaves of the sarracenia they are arranged in loose basal rosettes, and transformed into particular organs, called ascids, they are thin tubes or cones, from a few centimeters to almost a meter high (depending on the species and the place where it develops), full of water and with the upper end partially covered by an operculum. The leaves of the sarracenia they are bright green in color, with showy brown, red or purple veins; the more the plant is grown in a bright and sunny place, the more the foliage takes on a lively color.
The inside of the pitchers is full of water, where the preys of the plant remain trapped and drown, to be later digested by the plant itself.
In spring or summer the sarracenias produce long petioles on which particular yellow, red or brown flowers bloom; these plants enter complete vegetative rest in winter, then dry up the aerial part, and the rhizomes enter dormancy, they will awaken in spring, producing new shoots and new traps.
How to grow sarracenia
These plants, despite the exotic aspect, adapt well to live in the garden, all year round; they prefer sunny, or in any case very bright positions. Although they bear very high temperatures, it is not appropriate to leave the plants exposed to the sun ine state, since in nature they develop in humid and marshy places, for this reason, while for the whole year they are left completely exposed to the sun in summer. shade the plants lightly so that they receive the shielded light.
The wild specimens widespread in Europe develop in the Alps, in America these plants are present in the region of the great lakes, between the United States and Canada; it is easy to understand that sarracenias are accustomed to very humid areas, both as regards the cultivation substrate and as regards the air; in fact the availability of water is one of the fundamental questions for the good cultivation of a carnivorous plant. It is fundamental to always and constantly keep the substrate fresh and humid, generally we use hydroculture pots, or in any case we place the carnivorous pots in a large and deep pot, which is placed in a large saucer, where a few centimeters of water, from March to September.
The humidity of the environment and of the substrate is very important, as it must imitate that of a swampy area, therefore the soil must be constantly humid, but not soaked with water or with completely stagnant water; therefore we avoid leaving lots of water in the saucer, and during the cold months, when the plant is dormant, we simply leave the soil moist, without water in the saucer, as it will tend to evaporate very slowly from the substrate.
These plants originate in areas with a cool climate in the winter months, so we can leave them outdoors all year round, because they do not fear the rigors of winter; more than anything else we will have to worry about the very hot climate in the summer months, placing the sarracenias in a semi-shaded area.