Nepenthese – pitcher plant

I am experimenting with ways to control pests on my indoor plants, and have read that some of the carnivorous plants are effective at trapping fungus gnats. The New England Carnivorous Plant Society hosted a plant show and sale at Tower Hill on September 9 and 10, so off I went to learn a little about these plants.

Unfortunately, I did not find any Pinguicula (butterworts) which are the best for controlling fungus gnats, but I was fascinated by these unusual plants. They have colors that range from brilliant to subtle, with a variety of shapes and textures that give us as much interest as the plants we’ve seen in our gardens all summer.

First Place awarded Sarracenia – pitcher plant

Nepenthes are reminiscent of an ornately carved meerschaum pipe, while the Sarracenia bear a resemblance to immature skunk cabbages. Although both of these are commonly called pitcher plants, they have different growing requirements. The Sarracenia should not be allowed to dry out, and likes to grow in standing water. Nepenthese want to be kept moist, but will rot in standing water.

Sarracenia with flowers, and a white Sarracenia in the background

There are many other genera of carnivorous plants: venus fly-trap (Dionaea), sundews (Drosera), butterworts (Pinguicula) and Utricularia (bladderwort) are just a few of the more commonly found plants.  Some of the Sarracenia pitcher plants are native to New England, and you might notice them in wet, boggy places.  The more delicate sundews are also found in bogs, and the bladderworts are found in shallow water.

There are many on-line resources for readers who want to know more about these fascinating plants. There are also a lot of resources through the New England Carnivorous Plant society at



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