Pitcher Plant Care – Indoor Growing Guide(Soil, Water, Temp)

If you are searching for pitcher plant care, want to learn about how this carnivorous house plant can be grown indoors. These plants generally feed on outside insects so they don’t need a lot of sunlight to survive which is why it has different caring needs. Let’s now see pitcher plant care indoors.

pitcher plant care

Pitcher Plant Care – Pitcher plants are houseplants that can grow indoors and outdoors but Care is different in both environments. Caring approach is vary because Outdoors it needs no food requirement as the pitcher attracts insects easily and gets food from them. But for Indoors it needs special care that includes feeding them bugs every 3-5 times a year which they generally use to get nutrients from and that is why this carnivorous plant doesn’t require fertilizer for further growth, it self fulfills it when insect traps in its stomach.

There are many types of these plants which vary in requirements. Pitcher plant indoors care wants special attention with that it needs soil that is not soggy, water and temperature which suits its growing pattern. They have liquid inside its stomach which has enzymes that digest the dead insect’s body. It has a unique way of trapping prey with its beauty and the poisonous nectar. Let’s now learn about various Caring aspects of the Pitcher plant and why people want the carnivorous plants in their household.

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Quick Facts:

Family Nepenthaceae(Asia) and Sarraceniaceae(North American)
Type Carnivorous Plant
Light Requirement Full Sun, Bright Light
Water Keep it Moist
Fertilizer Non Used, External Prey for Food
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Toxicity Non Toxic to Cat, Dogs
Pruning Once or Twice Every year With old leaves


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Pitcher Plant Care

Pitcher plant care indoors is easy and providing nutrients, good soil, light and knowing about the dormant stage of it would make it easy for you to care for the pitcher. Pitchers come in many varieties including S.minor, S. flava, S. rubra and so on. Let’s know find one by one the pitcher plant(Sarracenia) caring Requirements:


Pitcher plants Commonly known as Sarracenia are grown in poor soil, they even adapt to grow without additional Nutrient rich soil. That is why they are not grown in natural made soils or any potting mix. If you are growing a pitcher plant indoors then use peat or sphagnum moss with perlite in a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1. This can work in many carnivorous houseplants. Pitcher plants don’t like soil which has lime or highly nutrient dense soil. 

Some Recipe for Pitcher plant soil:

  • Use 2:1 Ratio on Sphagnum Moss with perlite
  • Use 3:1 Ratio on Peat moss and Perlite
  • Use a 4:1 ratio in sphagnum moss with silica sand.
  • Use a 3:1 ratio on using peat moss and silica sand.


These mixes work best in most carnivorous plants, if your plant doesn’t feel good over the year then you need to give dead insects manually to feed the plant.

You can buy these Soils from below Link:

  1. Buy Sphagnum moss – Shop from Amazon
  2. Buy perlite – Shop from Amazon
  3. Buy silica sand – Shop from Amazon


Watering Requirements

Before watering your pitcher plant(Sarracenia), first you need to know that these plants are sensitive to tap water. As it comes with chemicals that cleans the water but it affects the growth of the plant and may turn the leaf color & some might droop. Using clean distilled water or rainwater would make your pitcher more happy.

When giving water to your pitchers, make sure you give them full until the water drains from the bottom hole of the pot. You should never overwater or make the soil soggy because pitcher plants don’t like this. They can’t stand in wet soil that stays for longer. It can impact on the roots of pitcher which could lead to browning or yellowing of leaves.

For those using a pot with a saucer, You need to take out the water from the saucer if it’s filled fully when giving water till the bottom soil gets wet. Also I recommend checking the topsoil by using your index finger or wooden pencil for 2 inches if the soil is dry then only give water to your plant otherwise if the soil is already moist you should not give water that time.

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When growing carnivorous plants, they generally grow in an environment which has 65-80 degree F temperature and most of the pitcher plant grows in these conditions. These plants are highly tolerable and can also grow in different ranges of temperature as they adapt the ability to grow without sunlight and make their own food by using the dead bugs by trapping them in their hollow stomach.

Most pitchers would be growing in a stable temperature with moderate humidity. If you are someone having a pitcher plant indoors you need not to care much as the room temperature is ideal for their growth.


Pitcher plants that are cared for indoors require good humidity and your plant will perform better in moisture. When growing in low humidity the pitcher or its leaves may not grow well or no new picther will grow until there is enough humidity to cool the plant. There are some cases where heat, or a low humid environment causes leaves to drop or die back. You can always use a pot with a saucer where you store water for your plant. There are other ways like misting directly to your plant leaves and some with the topsoil. 

For indoors a humidifier can work in rooms, this can be turned on whenever there is too much heat or days are hot. For a few hours you can turn off and on the humidifier multiple times so your plant gets enough humidity. 

The best way is to wet your pitcher plant and move your plant to a south facing window area where it can receive sunlight which prevents the plant from getting overwatered. This cannot be done if you are an office going person as your plant needs some water every few hours. In those cases a humidifier or saucers works.

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These plants don’t really care about external fertilizer or natural ones because they get all the required nutrients from the prey they catch in their cylindrical stomach. Pitcher plants(Sarracenia) that are growing indoors need extra attention because in a clean area these carnivorous plants don’t find bugs, insects that they can feed on. Your best chance is when growing indoors take a dead take and insert in its mouth then the plant will absorb it in its own. The enzymes present in its stomach will digest it and that way your plant will get nutrients. 

Generally, a normal indoor to outdoors plant has many options to get fertilized by various plant foods. But pitchers are different; they feed on dead insects. You can hoverflies, ants, fruit flies, gnats, spiders, any kind of insect. The plant has a mechanism to absorb nutrients of any insect that falls in and gets trapped on the interior liquid of pitchers.

If you don’t have an option & many who don’t want to kill any insects then the best option is using a liquid fertilizer & mix 1/4 part of fertilizer in 1 gallon & spray to your plant or direct pour into the soil. This will help the plant to survive without insects, but they surely need support like dead insects to get nutrients.

Another option is to put your pitcher plant outdoors for some hours for 2-3 days. Once the plant catches any prey then move back your plant back to its place for a month because 1 insect may give it energy to stay green for a month. 

How do you know if your pitcher plant got an insect? It is easy, you just have to look inside the pitchers(leaves) that look like vessels or have a cylindrical shape. If any insect inside of it exists then your plant doesn’t need any extra bugs to feed on. That’s how your pitcher plant gets nutrients. Know more about pitcher plant fertilizer.

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Light Requirement

Sarracenia or pitcher plants’ light requirements are often full sun but some varieties of it need bright light to grow. Many People who were growing it indoors in low light see slow growth and weekend stems. That is why these plants needed more light so providing a pitcher plant with a good direct sunlight area would benefit it and you can see faster growth and more greener leaves. I experienced it that pitchers would grow best if they received a minimum 7-9 hours of sunlight everyday. These light requirements make our pitcher so healthy. 

pitcher plant care indoors requires artificial light or a spot in your house which has more than 8 hours of sunlight from the window. Sunlight would definitely make it more bright, alive and good growing. If you don’t have a good area then using an artificial light would also work. 

Fluorescent lights are turned on everyday for more than 14-16 hours which is useful for growing any carnivorous, indoor and outdoor plant.

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There are 2 ways to propagate pitcher plants, By using the stem cuttings and direct planting the seeds into the soil. 

So what is the best way to grow pitcher plants?

Well that depends on your patience. If you can wait for like 2-3 years then seedlings and seed propagation can be a learning experience for you and you can see how these Nepenthes can grow from baby plant to a mature tall plant with modified vessel leaves.

Gardeners like me who want to have multiple of these pitchers want to follow a stem cutting method which can ready your plant in a few months.

Seeds :

They require the plant to get mature for 5-6 years then it starts to flower and produce pollen from male pitchers. The female part needs pollen to pollinate so this process is tricky because you need both female and male pitcher plants. Then manually you can put pollen into the female part which leads to flowers and seeds being produced.

Stem Cuttings:

this method is best and easy, you just need to cut the top healthy stem by inches or determine by this that you want to have 2 nodes and cut from the below of 2nd node. The leaves of the cutting should be cut off half so it stills grows and get moisture for plants. Now plant it to sphagnum moss and hurry until you have successfully propagated the pitcher plant. 

Wait for some months and enjoy your new plant.


It is an easy method and you only need to prune pitchers or leaves that are dull, dried, crisp and not growing. Some of the leaves that are too old and won’t last should also be trimmed down. Before Pruning your pair of pruners or sharp scissors needs to be sterilized so all the fungal and bacterial infection can be cleaned. otherwise cutting would badly affect your plant and may infect them with fungal infection. After pruning, give your plant the water and it will recover from trimming shock, then it will grow again.

Pruning is also an important aspect in pitcher plants’ life because if they are not cut off then it uses the nutrients of the plant that is for other pitchers.

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California pitcher plant which belongs to the family of Sarraceniaceae is safe and non toxic to cats, dogs. There are some varieties of Asian pitcher plant that can be heavy to the stomach which lead to digestive issues if cats or dogs ingested it. There are no major side effects which makes things easy for us as now many after listening can grow these plants in their houses. 

I know this plant just because I watched a video where a man feeds flies to this pitcher plant which makes me curious about this plant. At that time I thought it may be highly toxic but after learning everything it cleared my doubt and I ordered the plant and now it’s growing in my garden successfully. 

According to the ASPCA, these pitcher plants are non toxic so you can grow them indoors. No worry about the toxicity.


How do you maintain a pitcher plant?

Pitcher plants are easy to maintain if grown outdoors. You need to take care of them specially inside the house as they require different needs to grow properly. Here are few steps you can follow to make your pitcher plant health with long-life.

Provide Insects for Nutrition: Your pitcher plants if grown indoors want someone that can feed them insects, bugs which fulfills the nutritional requirements. These carnivorous plants have digestive juice which has enzymes that help to digest and absorb nutrients from the prey. Outdoors these plants get lots of bugs which get trapped when they try to eat the tasty juice but they don’t know the opening of the pitchers actually are slippery which makes the prey slip into the digestive juice which traps them forever and that’s how plants get their food from the dead insects and bugs.

Your Plants require a stable temperature to grow. Pitchers are best grown in temperatures between 60-85 degree F. Also the room temperature is good enough for them to grow indoors.

Pruning eventually makes them avoid infestation of pests. When the plant leaves get brown, pale, dried you need to cut off all those pitchers and leaves that won’t grow back in winters. This way you make your plant avoid any external infestation.

Provide a better location for them. You pitcher plants want to stay in a location which gets full sun or at least 9-10 hours of light. If it is not getting enough light they become weak, and leaves may become less green.

How often do pitcher plants need to be watered?

Nepenthes, pitcher plants need a lot of water & you need to provide them water every 3-5 days when the soil is dry. On Sunny days your soil may get dried easily & have less moisture which leads to watering more often. Pitcher plants need a humid environment, moist soil and always water whenever the soil is 2 inch dry from the topsoil. These carnivores like humid areas where they only need to focus on insect trapping and water needs are provided by moisture in that area.

How long do pitcher plants live?

The pitcher plants can live up to 50 years but the pitcher would only stay there for a year or 2. The plant itself produces only 9-10 pitchers every season that needs to be feed when grown indoors. These plants take a lot of time to flower like when they have a significant height and it takes about 6-10 years. The new stems are continuously growing and each year you may find one. The lifespan is around 40-50 years of the pitcher plant itself. Pitchers are the only ones that live for a year because once they feel winters it gets stuck and dies back. But the plant is still alive and produces more pitchers or leaves in the new season which makes the life of the plant more than a few years.

Can I feed my pitcher plant dead bugs?

Yes, I myself feed my pitcher plant any of the dead bugs which are easy to carry and drop to the mouth of pitcher leaves. You can use any insect like spider, house flies, gnats and ants as a prey and feed your plant. It has digestive enzymes which digest the body of insects and create nutrients for self. 

Wrap Up

I hope you get the answer on “Pitcher Plant Care” and Also check my other article on why pitcher plant pitchers turning brown & how to solve it.


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