Fat plants

Sarracenia

Sarracenia



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To the genus sarracenia belong eight species of carnivorous plants, all originating in North America; only one species, Sarracenia purpurea has been introduced in Europe, and has grown wild, if we can see some specimens in the alpine areas.
These are particular plants, given that they get the nitrogen they need directly from the digestion or decomposition of the small insects they catch; the entire plant is completely transformed into specialized organs precisely 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, high from a few centimeters to almost a meter (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, with showy brown, red or purple veins; more the plant is cultivated in a bright and sunny place, and 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 come to complete vegetative rest in winter, then they 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 their exotic appearance, are well suited to living in the garden throughout the year; they prefer sunny or well-bright positions. Although they can withstand very high temperatures, it is not advisable to leave the plants exposed to the sun, as in the wild they develop in damp and marshy areas, for this reason, while throughout the year they are left completely exposed to the sun in the summer is good. shade the plants lightly, so that they receive the light screened.
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 the saracenias are used to very humid areas, both as regards the growing substrate and 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 keep the fresh and moist substrate, usually using hydroculture vessels, or however the carnivorous vessels are placed in a large and deep vessel, which is placed in a large saucer, within which a few centimeters of water, from March to September.
The environmental and substratum humidity is very important, as it must imitate that of a marshy area, therefore the soil must be constantly humid, but not soaked with water or with completely stagnant water; therefore we avoid leaving so many water in the saucer, and during the cold months, when the plant is dormant, we simply leave the moist soil, without water in the saucer, as it will tend to evaporate very slowly from the substrate.
These plants originate from 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, positioning the saracenias in a semi-shaded area.

Sarracenia: Carnivorous plants and fertilizers



Carnivorous plants like sarracenia get the nitrogen they need, and other micronutrients, from the small prey they catch, slowly digesting them; this is because in the areas where they are widespread in the wild the soil is constantly washed away with water, and therefore contains negligible quantities of minerals, macroelements and microelements, and therefore the plants, in order to survive, have been forced to look for other sources, which were they not the land.
For this reason, the carnivores we grow in pots do not need fertilizers of any kind whatsoever, on the contrary, often the presence of mineral salts in the growing substrate, or in the water of the watering, leads to the rapid deterioration of the plant, and often even to death.
Therefore it is very important to grow these plants in a substrate without fertilizer; peat is generally used, mixed with little sand to lighten the soil. We avoid growing carnivorous plants in the soil for sale in nurseries, such as universal or other soil, as these substrates are prepared by adding fertilizer, as they are generally used to cultivate other types of plants and not carnivores.
So let's get peat, simply peat, without fertilizers, soil improvers or anything else; in addition to being free of fertilizers, peat also has a pH suitable for the cultivation of most carnivorous plants, including sarracenia.
To avoid that our plants perish it is also important to avoid watering them with calcareous water, therefore we will always use rainwater or distilled water; the presence of limestone in fact leads to a rapid increase in the pH of the substrate, which is not acceptable to the saracenias.