Sunbelle Exotics, Inc.      

Specializing in Nepenthes and Sarracenia



What is a pitcher plant? A variety of carnivorous plants that capture prey with a specialized leaf that does not move (passive trap).  We are offering two types; the North American Pitcher Plants (genus Sarracenia) and Tropical Asian Pitcher Plants (genus Nepenthes).  Even though they are both called pitcher plants, they are very different and not related.  Both types use a modified tubular leaf that attracts its prey, using slightly different methods.  Typical of all carnivorous plants, they grow in a nutrient poor soil.

Are they like a Venus Fly Trap? Jack in the Pulpit? type of orchid?  No.  Venus Fly Traps are also carnivorous, but they enclose around their prey using an active trap.  They are not pitcher pants.  Jack in the Pulpit are not carnivorous, but in fact, a flower.  Pitcher plants are not related to orchids.  

How often do they flower?  The colorful pitchers are not flowers, they are a specialized leaf.  The pitcher production for Nepenthes is year round, for Sarracenia spring, summer, and fall.  In addition to their pitchers, Sarracenia produce beautiful flowers in spring.  Nepenthes flowers are not as colorful, typically are small, fox-tail spikes, usually green, brown and dark red.  Pitcher plants are grown mainly for their foliage.

How long do the pitchers last? This depends on several factors; the type of plant and the growing conditions.  This could be anywhere from a month to a year.  It is not a sign your plant is dying when a pitcher fades.  Consider the trap as you would any other leaf; the plant will grow a new one. 

How often do I need to feed my plant?  Good news.  You should not feed your pitcher plant any fertilizer, nor should you worry about feeding insects to your plant.  While they could benefit from an insect snack every now and then, it is not necessary.  They do a good job of catching bugs on their own.  Do not feed any carnivorous plants "human food" like hamburger, hot dogs, chicken, you get the point. 

Will my plant die if it doesn't eat bugs?  No.  Insects are not vital to the survival of the plants; they are a supplement.  The pitcher plants photosynthesize like all green plants. 

Do they eat mosquitoes?  No they don't.   Wish they did!

Do the lids close when they catch a bug?  No.  This is a passive trap, no movement involved.  The lid is part of the allure of the pitcher and also functions to prevent rain from filling up the traps.

WHAT IS A NEPENTHES?                                        WHAT IS A SARRACENIA?

HOW TO GROW NEPENTHES                                 HOW TO GROW SARRACENIA