Pitcher Plant Propagation: How To Propagate A Pitcher Plant
Growing a pitcher plant from seed is not difficult. However, it takes time and patience. You need to be patient while waiting for your seedlings to grow into full-grown pitchers. If you are impatient, then you will have problems with them not developing properly or even dying before they reach their full size.
The first thing you need to do is choose a good location where you want to start growing your pitcher plant. There are many different options available to you. Some of these locations include:
Planting your pitcher plant in soil is usually the easiest option since there are plenty of places in which you can sow your seeds. But if you don’t have any other place nearby, then planting your seeds in soil might be too expensive. Soil is also a very limiting factor when it comes to growing pitcher plant.
If you want to try out the idea of rooting your pitcher plant in water, then you should consider using a container instead of soil. Container gardening allows you to create a large area for your plants and gives them room to grow without having to worry about watering them regularly. The pitcher plant can survive and even thrive in a wide range of lighting conditions, including partly shaded areas.
Caring For Your Pitcher Plant
As with any other plant or animal, caring for your pitcher plant is the most important thing that you need to concern yourself with. After all, if you don’t water it on a regular basis, then it will die and there goes all your hard work down the drain. There are a few things that you should keep in mind when caring for your pitcher plant so that it will grow and develop properly.
One of the most important parts of caring for your pitcher plant is making sure that it has enough water. As long as you can see through the top layer of soil to the bottom, then it doesn’t need any water. If you can’t see the bottom of the pot, then it needs water immediately. But make sure that the soil never dries out completely, otherwise your pitcher plant will die.
Besides watering your pitcher plant, you also need to make sure that it gets enough sunlight. If you are growing your pitcher plant in a container, then you should move it to a location that receives a moderate amount of sunlight every day. If it doesn’t get enough sunlight, then the leaves will become discolored and begin to fall off. Besides looking bad, the leaves also don’t do a good job of capturing insects like they’re supposed to.
One of the best things about growing a pitcher plant from seed is that they are relatively easy to take care of. If you can make sure that they have enough water and sunlight every day, then they should grow into beautiful and interesting plants in no time at all.
Your pitcher plant will begin to grow and develop slowly at first. It will take its time as it grows from a seed into a full-grown plant. As it grows, you will start to notice how its leaves begin to take on a distinct triangular shape. The color of the leaves will be green with red veins running throughout them.
As it continues to grow, small spikes will begin to form along the edges of the leaves. These spikes are sharp and designed to catch and damage any prey that lands inside the leaves after falling into the pitcher. The spikes will fade in and out as they detect movement from small insects that have fallen into the pitcher.
You may notice that small droplets of liquid form at the bottom of the pitcher. This is nectar and is there to attract insects and other small bugs. It’s color ranges from bright red to a very dark purple. The sweet scent of the nectar will also draw bugs to it and once they crawl inside to get a sip, they will inevitably fall into the pitcher and be devoured by the plant.
The process by which the plant digests its food is quite fascinating. The insects that are attracted to the sweet nectar end up drowning in it. Bacteria and other helpful microorganisms in the nectar begin to break down the insect and release nutrients that the plant absorbs and makes its own. This is how it gets the majority of the nutrients that it needs.
After a few days, you may notice small white larvae inside the pitcher. These are what is left of the insects that have been digested by the plant. The pitcher plant is actually not a big fan of these and will push them out of the pitcher and down into the soil below as extra fertilizer for itself.
During the winter months, the pitcher plant will begin to form flowers. They’re not very big and are a light purple in color. These are most visible right around the time of year when the leaves fall off of the plant. The flowers have a very distinct and sweet scent that can be smelled from several feet away.
After they’ve spent some time on the plant, the flowers will begin to wilt and die. By this time a small fruit should have begun to develop. It’s very small and flat with three distinct ridges running along the sides of it. The fruit will be a dark purple in color. It should be shaken off of the plant and allowed to dry out for several days before being eaten.
Once dried out, it can be eaten. It has a sweet taste and is full of nutrients that will give you a quick burst of energy when eaten. It also takes quite a long time to grow. A single pitcher plant can take several months to grow from a seed to a fruit-bearing plant and it may not produce fruit every single time.
You’ve come to learn quite a bit about this plant over the years. It’s really the only thing that you’ve dedicated any significant time to learn about in this world and it has rewarded you greatly with its usefulness.
The only other living creatures that you’ve encountered in this forest are the small gray field mice that live in the underbrush and among the roots of the trees. While they aren’t threatening by themselves, a mouse can still chew through the skin on your hand if it catches you off guard.
The trees in this forest are tall and thin. They grow very close together and their leaves do not provide very much coverage. The forest is very dimly lit even in the daytime hours and you can never really escape the shadows that the trees cast no matter where you go.
The forest is always quiet. You don’t know what kinds of animals and insects live here, if any at all. You only ever really see the field mice and they’re much more interested in staying out of your way then they are in interacting with you.
There is a path that runs through the forest, though you rarely ever use it. It’s narrow and overgrown with weeds and grass, almost as if it’s been abandoned for years. Still, every once in a while you’ll see the odd set of animal tracks going down it, though you’ve never seen whatever might have made them.
The river that runs through this forest is wide and deep. It’s murky water is dark and obscured by foam and bits of plants that drift along its current. There are no fish in this river and the water is so murky that looking into it is like looking into a bucket of mixed milk and water. You can’t see below the surface.
You’ve thought about building a raft or some sort of boat, but you don’t know how long the river might be. It could be hours, it could be days. You’re not sure you’d be able to navigate it effectively anyway, so you might end up going in circles.
The river can also only be crossed at one particular spot, which is fairly muddy and not ideal for making a track to the other side. Still, if you really wanted to, you could probably make it work.
One problem that you don’t have to worry about is food. The river is teeming with fish as big as your arm. They look a lot like the fish back home. They must be the same species, though these ones are a lot bigger than the ones you caught back home.
They don’t seem to be afraid of anything and they’re just swimming around minding their own business. It makes you wonder if anything ever eats them around here. Well, besides you at least.
You suppose you have your meal for tomorrow settled then.
You set up camp for the night and make sure to keep a good fire burning. The nights have been getting colder as of late and you wouldn’t want to get caught out in the open without a fire to keep you warm.
You decide to catch three of the fish and save the rest for tomorrow. It isn’t much but with the fruit and nuts that you’ve gathered, you should have a pretty filling meal, enough to get you through the day at least.
You cook the fish the same way your father taught you, by cleaning them first with water (no use wasting a perfectly good fire), then singeing them lightly over the flame and finally wrapping them in large leaves from some of the nearby trees. After a few minutes they’re ready and you sit down to eat.
You haven’t had fish in a while and this is definitely the best way of having it. The meat practically falls apart as you take the first bite and it’s just so juicy. There’s no shortage of water thanks to the river, of course, but you drink slowly anyway since you don’t want to have to get up in the night to pee.
The sky is clear tonight and there are more stars here than you’ve ever seen. The moon is three-quarters full and its light shines down on you, lighting up most of the area around you. You feel a cool breeze on your skin and try to remember if you packed any of your clothes since you don’t have a shirt on. Oh well, it’s fine if you’re careful not to let the fire go out.
You lie down next to the fire and stare up at the stars. There’s so many of them that if someone were to stand beside you, they’d literally be lost in the crowd. There’s so much out there that you still haven’t seen. One day perhaps you’ll get the chance.
You hope you do at least.
You wake up to another beautiful morning, though calling them mornings is starting to feel like an exaggeration since it’s after noon by the time you wake up nowadays.
After eating your fill of fish and some fruit, you decide to set off down the river once again. You’ve been down here a little over a week now and the river hasn’t narrowed at all. You can only hope that it doesn’t get any wider either. You have a feeling that if it does, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble trying to ford it or even find a safe crossing.
You walk for hours without stopping. Your legs are starting to feel like jelly now thanks to the constant exercise without rest, but you know you have to keep going.
Sources & references used in this article:
In vitro regeneration of pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana Hook. f.)—A rare insectivorous plant of India by TS Rathore, P Tandon, NS Shekhawat – Journal of plant physiology, 1991 – Elsevier
Multiplication of the endangered Indian pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana) through enhanced axillary branching in vitro by PG Latha, S Seeni – Plant cell, tissue and organ culture, 1994 – Springer
Propagation protocol for North American pitcher plants (Sarracenia L.) by DD Thomas – Native Plants Journal, 2002 – npj.uwpress.org
Root nutrient uptake enhances photosynthetic assimilation in prey-deprived carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes talangensis by A Pavlovič, L Singerová, V Demko, J Šantrůček… – Photosynthetica, 2010 – Springer
Feeding enhances photosynthetic efficiency in the carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes talangensis by A Pavlovič, L Singerová, V Demko, J Hudák – Annals of Botany, 2009 – academic.oup.com
Nutritional benefit from leaf litter utilization in the pitcher plant Nepenthes ampullaria by A PAVLOVIČ, Ľ SLOVÁKOVÁ… – Plant, cell & …, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
Photosynthetic light response in three carnivorous plant species: Drosera rotundifolia, D. capensis and Sarracenia leucophylla by BM Bruzzese, R Bowler, HB Massicotte, AL Fredeen – Photosynthetica, 2010 – Springer
Population Growth of the Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia Purprea L., at Cranberry Bog, Licking County, Ohio by KE Schwaegerle – 1983 – kb.osu.edu
Status of Nephenthes khasiana Hook. f.(Pitcher plant) in Meghalaya: A review by KC Momin, TS Mehra, S Dobhal… – Journal of …, 2018 – phytojournal.com