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Northern Pitcher Plant

Sarracenia purpurea

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Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) at DeWayne's

Northern Pitcher Plant

Northern Pitcher Plant

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  12 inches

Flower Height:  24 inches

Spread:  12 inches

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  4a

Other Names:  Purple Pitcher Plant, Turtle Socks


This carnivorous plant consists of a rosette of ascending basal leaves that are tubular in shape; reddish-purple blooms rise on stalks from the center of the rosette in late spring to early summer; prefers full sun, wet conditions and mossy acidic soil

Ornamental Features

Northern Pitcher Plant features showy fragrant nodding crimson flowers with orange overtones and yellow anthers rising above the foliage from late spring to mid summer. Its attractive recurved leaves are green in color with distinctive burgundy veins and tinges of purple. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous deep purple in the fall.

Landscape Attributes

Northern Pitcher Plant is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and may require the occasional pruning to look its best. It is a good choice for attracting bees to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Northern Pitcher Plant is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Container Planting
  • Bog Gardens

Planting & Growing

Northern Pitcher Plant will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity extending to 24 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 12 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more. As an herbaceous perennial, this plant will usually die back to the crown each winter, and will regrow from the base each spring. Be careful not to disturb the crown in late winter when it may not be readily seen!

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided. This species is native to parts of North America..

Northern Pitcher Plant is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Naturalizing  Container  Bog 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Fall Color  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features