Here it is – the entire Sarracenia collection in full splendour!
Here’s my very basic attempt at creating a montage of the greenhouse, but it shows what needs to be seen. It houses the majority of my Sarracenia flava clones. These are (clockwise from lower left) Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora, Sarracenia flava var. cuprea (left middle), S. flava var. atropurpurea (top left), S. flava var. flava, S. flava var. rugellii, S. flava var. ornata and S. flava var. maxima (greenish plants mixed in together at top right). Two-thirds of the right side of the greenhouse are S. flava var. atropurpurea “FRT1-1” and S. flava var. cuprea “F1” that David Martin gave me when he closed up shop. David’s hybrids are on the floor and stopping me from getting into the greenhouse! Those trays I made last year sure make a difference when it comes to watering.
You might have gathered that I am rather partial to the reddish varieties of S. flava. Although I treasure all my S. flava, the stars of the collection are these S. flava var. atropurpurea. I am very lucky in having 5 clones at maturity (ie. flowering), plus another 5 coming on as seedlings. The best plant I grow is a new one that John Creevey bred a few years back – it is the tallest, deep maroon one at top left. It came from a cross between FRT 1-1 and John’s giant flava var. rubricorpora. Both parents seem to be gulf coast (Florida panhandle) plants, as the pitcher throat (or column) leans forwards over the pitcher opening. The reddish veined plants at the back are Phil Reytter’s two var. atropurpurea clones. Sarracenia flava var. cuprea “F1” is at front left, and Gotcha! heavy vein coppertop is front right.
As the greenhouse is only 6 x 6 feet, I can’t fit in everything. As a result, I have an overflow area (not that these plants are any less special mind)! This is an ecclectic mix of flytraps, some Sarracenia hybrids (front row to left of centre) and any Sarracenia species not inside the greenhouse.
One plant that does very well outside are my Sarracenia purpurea and S. rosea (although some clones of the later can be temperamental). The trick with them is to make sure their pitchers are full of water. If you have snails in the garden, it won’t be long before one drowns in a S. purpurea pitcher (though you can help matters along!). Once the first snail or slug drowns, the pitcher fluid will become quite rancid, attracting more and more victims and filling the traps. Once this happens, your plant will put on a sudden growth spurt – some of my plants literally doubled in size in the space of a few weeks! All S. purpurea complex plants hold their leaves well through our winter, even though the fluid in the traps can freeze solid!
Sarracenia purpurea complex plants definitely look best in larger pots, although you need to be careful they don’t get too crowded. The above plant was looking great a few weeks back, but suddenly began wilting. I managed to save one (!) growth point from a very nasty fungal rot (note the grey, fuzzy fungus on the bottom left image)! That worm will not have helped, either. As a result, most of the other plants are going under the knife this winter. Amazingly, S. rosea seem to be the easiest members of the Sarracenia purpurea complex to get in Australia – the S. purpurea offered by Living Traps and the plumper S. purpurea offered by Paradisea are both S. rosea. I have also acquired other S. rosea from various private collections, all of which were labelled as S. purpurea ssp. venosa. Check your plants when they next flower to see if your plant is as advertised!
True S. purpurea ssp. venosa are actually really hard to come by – I have three clones (a veined one is at bottom right), compared to some half a dozen S. rosea (two clones are at top right). S. purpurea ssp. purpurea beyond the Triffid Park clone can also be hard to find – the Triffid Park clone is at top left. To the front of it is an all red form from Steve Amoroso in Sydney (the only plant I have ever seen), centre is a “veinless” clone from Phil Reytter (available most years at the AUSCPS sale day at Mount Tomah) and to the right of veinless is a clone often sold by Paradisea. This last plant, although easy enough to get hold of (it you are patient!), is wonderful – it starts out as a fluro green plant with maroon veins, but gradually fills in to solid maroon just before winter. The all green Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea var. heterophylla can be brought from Triffid Park, but can be very slow to establish and grow to any significant size. Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa var. montana is now grown in Australia by a few members of the AUSCPS, and I have an all red S. purpurea ssp. venosa that looks a lot like a montana, but I want to see a genuine, mature plant in the flesh before I make any firm decision.