If you have a soggy area or damp soils, don’t drain it! We have marginal aquatic perennial plants for wet soil that are great for landscaping everything from rain gardens to bog gardens. These garden perennials love moist spots and will make you fall in love with perennials that dry soil gardeners only dream of growing. Damp soil plants range from carnivorous plants like sarracenia and bog plants like hymenocallis that need full sun.
In early summer of 2016, after my first couple of months working at Plant Delights Nursery, I bought my first pitcher plant, Sarracenia ‘Hurricane Creek White’. After reading the article Introduction to Sarracenia – The Carnivorous Pitcher Plant on PDN’s website, I followed the simple instructions on growing pitcher plants in containers.
I selected a decorative frost proof container that was equivalent to, or maybe a little larger than a 3gal container. I used sphagnum peat moss, as recommended, for the potting mix. The sphagnum peat moss is very dry and almost powdery when it comes out of the bag. Put the peat moss in a bucket and add water. Mix well, and allow the peat to soak up the water until it is no longer powdery and is more a spongy consistency.
Now you are ready to plant. I started off with one of our 3.5″ pitcher plants, which had one to two growing points and four to six pitchers, much like the plant pictured here.
Fill your decorative container about 2/3rd full with the moistened peat, gently break apart the root ball of the 3.5″ plant and spread the roots out on top of the peat and cover the roots with more moistened peat and firm up to stabilize the plant. I also incorporated a couple of small venus fly traps in the container. Place the container in a plastic tray that will hold water, so the peat can draw the water up from the base and not dry out.
The container stays on our outdoor patio where it gets light morning shade and afternoon sun. It continued to grow the rest of the summer and remained outdoors all winter long. I trimmed off the old pitchers this spring as it began to flush. The first picture in this post is what it looks like today, one year later, easily tripled in size.
This was an easy project and a great and rewarding experience for my introduction to growing pitcher plants, not to mention the attention it garnered from friends who came over. I have now started my second container for the patio utilizing ‘Carolina Yellow Jacket’.
Fall is a great time for gardening. With cooler weather there is less transpiration and water stress on the plants. Also, even though the top of the plant may be dormant, the roots are still growing. This gives the plants a chance to establish a good foundation over the winter and a head-start going into spring.
Speaking of a good foundation, a healthy garden starts with good soil preparation. Soil care is essential in avoiding plant stress and subsequent pest problems. Join us next Saturday, November 12 from 10-noon for an interactive lecture that will cover nutrient balance, soil test reports, how to incorporate organics, taking care of microbes, and an array of misconceptions regarding planting techniques. If you have soil test reports, be sure to bring them with you.
Another perk to attending next weeks soil class, is afterwards you can shop our sales houses, taking advantage of our Fall Overstock 20% off sale and go home with lots of unique plants. Here is just a peak at a few of the gems.
Combat those pesky backyard pests with your very own Bug Bat. These North American natives are at home in a moist bog areas and prey on ants, flies, wasps, beetles, slugs and snails.
Even if you don’t have a bog or moist garden area, you can still enjoy growing pitcher plants on your deck, patio, or balcony…and they make a great conversation piece for friends and kids. Simply plant your pitcher plant in pure peat moss in your favorite patio container, set in a saucer to hold water and maintain even moisture. Find out more about the culture of pitcher plants and shop our other Sarracenia for sale.
Here are some recent images from the gardens here at Juniper Level of one of our favorite pitcher plants, Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Tarnok’. This amazing double-flowered pitcher plant was discovered in Alabama by plantsman Coleman Tarnok in the early 1970s.
Here is the clump growing in the garden. Pitcher plants are quite easy to grow, provided the soil stays moist about 3-8″ below the surface. They do not, however, like soil that remains waterlogged. In both the ground and in pots, we grow our pitcher plants in pure peat moss. Most pitcher plants are reliably winter hardy in Zone 5. We hope you’ll give these a try in your garden.
Here’s an image we just took in the gardens of Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Sumter’. In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this. All hardy pitcher plants have these amazing other worldly flowers, and most are winter hardy in Zones 5 and 6. All our sarracenias are planted in straight peat moss, about 8″ deep inside a pond liner that has holes cut along the edges so the water doesn’t stay too high. No fertilizer ever and you certainly don’t have to worry about insects.
It’s finally here…the time we share the gardens and open the nursery to the public. Starting tomorrow (Friday) morning, we welcome visitors to stroll the gardens and shop till you drop for cool perennials. Click here for times and directions. The gardens here and Juniper Level look absolutely fabulous. Below are a few images of what you’ll see.
Plant combinations abound throughout the gardens giving you ideas for your garden spaces at home.
Here are a few of the gems you’ll find scattered around the garden. Many of the cactus are flowering this week including Trichocereus ‘Big Time’
Notocactus apricus is another favorite winter hardy cactus.
Trilliums are everywhere with over 1000+ selected clones as well as many of our seed-propagated selections for sale.
Pitcher plants are in full flower throughout the gardens and nursery…a sight not to be missed.
Of course, who can resist great hostas like Hosta ‘Autumn Frost’
For spring, we’ve added a series of short garden chats in the garden that Tony will lead. There is no charge or pre-registration required…just bring your questions
Friday April 29 @ 9am – Gardening in Sun
Friday April 29 @ 11am – Gardening in Shade
Friday April 29 @ 3pm – Hosta Breeding and Evaluation at PDN/JLBG
Saturday April 30 @ 9am – Soil preparation and planting
Saturday April 30 @ 11am – Growing Agaves in North Carolina
Saturday April 30 @ 3pm – Growing Peonies in the South
So many folks have become locked in to chrysanthemums as the only way to have fall color in the perennial garden, but we’d like to suggest you try sarracenias. These North American natives are simply stunning this time of year. Taken this week, this photo is a pot of Sarracenia ‘Daina’s Delight’ that’s been growing, untouched, by our front walk for over a decade. It’s potted in pure peat moss, with no drainage holes in the bottom of the container, but a couple at soil level on the sides to prevent standing water. At least a few hours of full sun is necessary.
Fall is a great season for many of the pitcher plants, which produce beautiful new pitchers now. Here’s a photo from yesterday, showing the lovely Sarracenia ‘Bug Bat’. Pitcher plants are easy to grow in full sun, organic soil with low nutrient content, and in a garden site that stays moist, but not wet on top.
Many of the changes you’ll see when you visit the garden next time are driven by Anita’s suggestions to open up many of the overgrown garden spaces around the sales area. This new section is where 150′ of Nellie Stevens hollies were removed last fall/winter. Despite only being in a short while, the plants are beginning to settle in. The wonderful rock work, was done by our Research and Grounds horticulturist, Jeremy Schmidt. Here’s a fun seep area in the same space that Jeremy dreamed up. We hope you’ll check out these and more new additions when you visit during our upcoming July open nursery and garden.