Carnivorous Pitcher Plants in Hawaii

Carnivorous Pitcher Plants are Waking up at Garden Ponds

At the first sign of waking up from dormancy, the pitcher plant sarracenia Leucophylla sends out their unusual and beautiful flowers to be pollinated.  Once the flower’s petals have drooped, the plant will begin to send out its pitchers (its ‘mouth’). 

It makes sense! The reason the flowers form first, is so that the plant does not accidently eat its pollinator.  The pitchers develop and open, working to attract many insects into their pit fall traps – including flies, ants, and wasps.

The insects will slip into the cocktail of digestive enzymes and be slowly absorbed by the plant.  Carnivorous plants may be ‘fed’ insects, collected, and dropped into their pitchers, blurring the line between plant and ‘pet’.  A curious hobby!

We have a gorgeous selection of pitcher plants waking up here at Garden Ponds Nursery. Flowers are popping up on many of the sarracenia Leucophylla and the pitchers are not far behind. If you haven’t yet added the shorter and more vibrantly colored sarracenia Purpurea to your collection, come and see this deeply colored red and green beauty.

If you have carnivorous pitcher plants that are currently dormant with multiple growing tips in one pot, December-February is an ideal time to repot or divide tubers.  Cut back brown pitchers and divide growing tips or rosettes into two or more pots with a mixture of peat moss and perlite.

It is a great joy to watch as the dormant north American pitcher plants wake up!  Come and get one in its early stages to watch and delight in the wonder of carnivorous plant keeping.

Garden Ponds is located in Kilauea, next to the Kauai Mini Golf. We are open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (Saturdays we are open 10-5).  Give us a call at 808-828-6400. To read more blog posts visit

Sarracenia Leucophylla fully awake with pitcher and blooms on display at Garden Ponds Nursery in Kilauea

Leucophylla Purpurea a shorter, stouter carnivorous pitcher plant showing off its glorious color variations of greens, reds and burgandy.

Sarracenia Leucophylla shown ‘awakening’, with flower buds popping up ahead of bug-eating pitchers. Flowers usually are a sign up waking up: this carnivorous plant doesn’t want to accidentally eat its own pollinator!