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Pinguicula acuminata (or the fungus gnat catcher) is native to Hidalgo, Mexico City and grows at altitudes up to 7874-9186 feet (2400-2800 m). This butterwort also flowers in winter even when its rosette is partially under the soil. Fortunately you do not need to be high up the mountains to care for this plant.
Pinguicula acuminata should be grown on a sunny windowsill and at 55-85 F (12.7-29.4 C) temperature. The humidity should be around 50-80% and the soil must always be moist during summer. The plant forms a rosette in winter and requires very little water during this period.
Pinguicula Acuminata Care Sheet
|Soil||Equal parts peat perlite, vermiculite|
|Water||Keep soil moist, distilled or purified water|
|Light||Partial to full light, indoor lights is fine|
|Food||Gnats, flies, small bugs, freeze dried worms|
|Temperature||55-85 F (12.7-29.4 C)|
|Dormancy||No, but goes into non-carnivorous succulent winter phase|
|Propagation||Leaf pullings, seeds|
If you have grown Mexican butterworts, p. acuminata uses the same potting media they do. In general, the materials must be low or neutral pH and must not contain any nutrients or been fertilized.
The standard soil mix used with pinguicula acuminata is 1:1:1 perlite, peat and vermiculite. You may also try Organic Earth Soil, long fiber sphagnum and silica sand, both of which are commonly used with other butterworts.
Most if not all p. acuminata sold have a bundled soil mix or offer that option. Beginners should purchase the plant with the soil for practical purposes. The soil is ready to use and you can be sure it is suitable for the plant.
The soil should always be moist during the growth period. Do not let the soil dry out during summer as that could damage or kill the plant.
Never put fertilizer in the soil. Butterworts get nitrogen and other elements from insects so nutrient rich soil is not necessary.
Plastic containers, terracotta and small boxes are suitable for pinguicula acuminata. A mature plant is about 2.5 inches so a small pot is enough.
These plants are often shipped bare root, or bare root with soil and a heat pack. The heat pack is used to protect the plant from cold temperature so it is a good idea to get it.
Planting p. acuminata in a pot is no different from other Mexican butterworts. Place the pot on a windowsill and it is set.
Butterworts rarely need repotting. Assuming the plant gets enough nutrients and water, it will survive and thrive. If you want to repot – to replace the soil for instance- do it at early spring before new carnivorous leaves start growing
Pinguicula acuminata has fragile roots so be careful when repotting. After the plant has been moved to its new home, water right away to help it recover.
Mexican butterworts can be grown in different containers, pots and even rocks, but the one thing they share in common is the need for water. How much and what type of water you use makes a big difference.
The soil of pinguicula acuminata has to be constantly moist. Use distilled, purified or spring water. Water from the top until the soil is damp. Repeat when the soil starts to get dry.
The tray method may be used but only with a small amount of water. This is popular with a lot of growers and can be effective. If you going to do this you no longer need to do overhead watering.
Pour an inch of water into the tray and place the pot in it. The water will make its way into the pot and moisten the roots and the soil. Refill the tray when neded.
If the weather is mild in your region, the tray method may not be needed. You can water p. acuminata as you would any other plant.
Do not overwater as it could cause root rot. If the soil dries quickly due to heat, move the plant to a cooler location. Partially shading your ping can cool it down.
Pinguicula acuminata prefers partial to full light. It grows well in sunlight as well as LED. As long as the leaves are not drying out you can leave it in full light.
Ask a grower how much light a p. acuminata needs and you will probably get different answers each time. That is because other variables in the environment affect its growth.
The best approach is to keep a p. acuminata on a south facing windowsill. This provides enough light for the plant with littler risk of burning up. If using artificial light, keep it a few inches above the plant. Keep the light on 10-14 hours a day if you will rely on it exclusively Thee are numerous options but we particularly like KEELIXIN Grow Lights for its efficiency.
Some butterworts are sensitive to temperature and the wrong conditions could cause serious problems. There are many reasons why butterworts die, and extreme weather conditions is one of them.
The ideal temperature range for pinguicula acuminata is 55-85 F (12.7-29.4 C). The plant will not last long in higher or colder temperatures.
If you want to grow p. acuminata outdoors, check the average temperature in your area. If it is close enough to 55-85 F in spring and summer, that is fine. You just need to take the plant indoors during the cold season.
If the climate gets too hot in summer, you have two options, grow the plant indoors in a cooler room, or leave the plant outdoors but partially shaded. If you decide to raise it outdoors, keep an eye on the leaves. f they dry out, the plant is getting sunburn.
Humidity is also important for these butterworts. Unlike temperature though p. acuminata can adapt to very high humidity, but too low should be avoided.
The minimum humidity rate should be 50%, with 80% optimal. If it is higher than 80% that is still fine. A lot of these butterworts are used to growing in 90-100% humidity.
You may reduce watering at high humidity since the soil will not need it. High humidity also helps butterworts produce more mucus for their leaves to potentially catch more insects.
If humidity falls below 50% there could be problems. Generally p. acuminata suffer when humidity drops because it affects their ability to produce mucus. The drier it is, the more water its soil needs.
For these reasons, most growers use a humidifier. It may seem like an additional expense but think of it as investment for your plant. And you only need to use it when the plant is clearly suffering from lack of humidity.
Nutrition and Feeding
Since the plant is also known as fungus gnat catcher that should give you an idea of what it loves to eat. Aside from gnats, pinguicula acuminata also consumes flies, wasps, mealworms and other bugs.
Only small insects will get stuck to its leaves but that is enough. Butterworts do not need a lot of nutrients anyway. You just have to nourish it every 3 weeks. Fish food is as nutritious for these plants as insect as are bloodworms.
To feed this pinguicula, drop the food on its leaves. The mucus will cause them to stick and the plant will do the rest. After some time, the plant will dissolve the food and absorb it.
Do not give hamburgers or any type of processed meat to pinguicula acuminata. As long as the plant is consuming insects or fish food, that is enough. Do not place food on all the leaves, just a few.
While pinguicula alpina goes through typical dormancy, p. acuminata is more similar to other Mexican butterworts.
During winter, pinguicula acuminata forms a rosette. This is partially buried so you have to be careful when watering. Rosettes are prone to rot and if it does, the plant will die.
As winter approaches, p. acuminata drops its carnivorous leaves. By winter its succulent rosette will be fully formed. Allow it to dry especially if there is high humidity. Do not water the soil under these conditions. Let it dry and only water it lightly every few days.
These butterworts do not eat in winter, but they do not shrivel and die like other plants. Instead p. acuminata just remains in this state until spring. When spring comes, the plant slowly start to grow carnivorous leaves again.
My fascination with carnivorous plants began many, many years ago with Venus Fly Traps. Now I am more than happy to impart what I know with other enthusiasts and those who are curious about meat eating plants.