Pitcher plants grow in diverse habitats worldwide. There are many different species and the requirements to grow them vary. Nevertheless, it is possible to follow some simple similar procedures to propagate these carnivorous plants from cuttings.
When to Take Cuttings
For the best propagation results cuttings should only be taken when the parent plant is most active and growing well.
All Pitcher Plants have definite active, growing seasons. For example, the Family sarraceniaceae, the majority of which are native to North and South America, are generally most active from May through October. For the best success probability, cuttings should be taken in May or June.
Even pitcher plants, of which there are about 120 species found in tropical environments, are hardier during certain periods. Cuttings taken during this time will ensure higher success for propagation.
What Plant Portion Works Best for Cuttings
The best cuttings for propagation are taken from the stems of most Pitcher Plants.
In specimens with a tall climbing stem, the total upper portion of the plant can removed provided the parent plant is left with an intact basal rosette. It is important to include two or three leaves in the cutting. These plants will only generate a new stalk from growth buds which are found at the tip of the vine or just above a leaf axis. For the best possible propagation results, a growth bud should be left on the cutting below the soil level.
In most species of pitcher plant, the stem should be lopped off high enough on the plant so the parent is left with at least four leaves at the base. Depending on the height of the parent plant, cuttings can be also divided as long as there is a minimum of one leaf and bud on each division.
Handling the Cutting
In all cases, the cutting should be washed with water and then dipped in a rooting powder following manufacturer’s directions. Too little or too much powder can impede growth and prevent successful propagation. Although it’s not imperative, it is often wise to treat cuttings with a fungicide in the cleaning water.
Soils for Cuttings
The best soils or potting media for cuttings is generally the same as that in which the parent Pitcher Plant is growing. This is most often a mixture of sphagnum or peat moss and perlite. An outstanding propagation soil is an orchid mix that can be purchased from a nursery.
Planting the Cutting
In all species of Pitcher Plants, the soil should be moistened. A hole made wider than the cutting should be formed and then the plant should be stuck in the hole. Once the plant is introduced, the soil should be pressed firmly around the stem to hold it in place.
It is very important to protect the cutting and provide as much warmth and humidity as possible. This can be done by enclosing the cutting pot in a plastic bag and placing it in a warm spot. Too much direct sun can burn and kill the cutting.