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A popular and widely cultivated butterwort variant, pinguicula rectifolia is also known as p. huahuapan after Huahuapan De Leon in Oxaca, Mexico where it grows. This is a beautiful carnivorous plant that is easy to grow and would make for a fine addition in any home.
Pinguicula rectifolia prefers partial to full light outdoors or indoors. This Mexican butterwort grows in nutrition poor soil and needs to be in mild temperature, safe from winter frost.
|Soil||2 parts perlite,1 part peat moss|
|Water||Lightly damp soil, purified or distilled water|
|Light||Full or partial light, grow lights are fine|
|Food||Small insects, fish flakes pellets, worms|
|Temperature||60-80 F (15.5-26.6 C)|
|Dormancy||No, but goes through non-carnivorous succulent phase|
The ideal potting mix is 2 parts perlite and 1 part peat moss, lightly damp but not soaked. Do not use garden compost and do not fertilize the soil. The soul should always be moist during growth season but lightly misted in winter.
If you are a beginner and not sure what potting soil to use, do not worry. P. rectifolia is usually sold in a pot. You can also prepare your own soil by purchasing the materials separately.
Aside from 2:1 perlite and peat, you can also try 2 parts vermiculite, 2 parts perlite and 1 part sand. You can also add bits of volcanic lava rock. You can adjust the ratio as you see fit, but do note that slightly changes will affect the plant.
Species like pinguicula lutea grow well in sphagnum moss and perlite, which you may also use. There are a lot of options and it is really up to you. For a beginner all of these might be confusing. The best approach is to us the soil mix that comes with your p. rectifolia. If you are an experienced plant grower, you may prefer to fine tune the soil. Whichever option, make certain the soil is always moist.
A 3 inch pot is big enough for p. rectifolia, though a 5 x 5 inch (H x D) is even better. Any pot material will suffice, though color terracotta and plastic are the most popular. You can also grow the plant in Truedays Saucers, which is always a good choice.
Since these plants are sold in a pot, you do not need to buy any right away. However it is a good idea to have some pots ready in case you want to propagate the plant. Unlike other carnivorous plants, p. rectifolia rarely needs repotting. in fact few butterworts do.
If you are propagating and need to buy a new container, keep the following in mind. First, a 3-5 inch pot is enough. You will only need a bigger one if you are growing several p. rectifolia together. Other than that you only need a small size.
And remember that you are not limited to pots. You can plant butterworts on rocks for something unique. No matter where or how you decide to plant your pinguicula, make sure it gets enough sunlight and water.
The water should be mineral free or very low (no more than 50 ppm). Purified or distilled water is the safest option. You can use rainwater of course, but rain is not a reliable source during summer.
Pinguicula rectifolia should be kept in damp soil. You may use the tray method or water from the top. During winter water occasionally, but let the rosette go dry for days. Slowly increase watering frequency in spring as new leaves start to grow.
The simplest option is the tray method. Place the pinguicula pot in a tray. The tray size will depend on how many pings you want to grow. Once all the plants are set, pour water into the tray, up to 1.5 inches.
Now all you have to do is refill the tray. This is more convenient than overhead watering and works for most butterworts.
In most cases the tray method is enough. In extreme heat you may have to water from the top as well. Do this only if the soil dries too quickly or the leaves look burnt. You should also relocate the plant to somewhere more humid.
A p. rectifolia grows well indoors. Leave the plant on a sunlit windowsill and it should be fine. Sit the plant in water to counter the heat.
Some p. rectifolia growers opt for full sunlight, while others keep their plant partially shaded. So which is the right one?
First, these plants require sunlight, whether it is partial or full. Too much of it could cause sunburn though so let your plant be the judge. A healthy p. rectifolia has deep, vibrant colors, sticky leaves, blooms and catches a lot of bugs. This is possible when the plant receives the right amount of light.
Too much light causes dryness on the leaves. To counter this, move your p. rectifolia in the shade until the temperature goes down. In general you can lave pinguicula on a windowsill in mild weather. Even during summer, it is probably safe there unless the heat soars to the high 90s or 100s.
Indoor plant lights. While natural light is the most commonly used, LED and artificial plant lights will also work. You may use these in winter or boost natural light during rainy days.
There is no consensus on the ideal temperature for pinguicula rectifolia, but most thrive in 60-80 F (15.5-26.6 C). Temperature is connected to sunlight exposure so careful management is necessary.
There are many factors that affect the health of p. rectifolia plants, so some species may thrive in higher temperature than others.
For instance, a p.rectifolia may survive in 77-95 F (25-35 C) if there is ample humidity, water and light. Nutrition is also important in terms of growth and development. Conversely, a pinguicula growing with little light and lacks nutrition will perish even in 65 F (18.5 C) conditions.
The good news is these plants are well suited for indoor growing. You can keep them in your house or a greenhouse for example. This will allow you to fully control the environmental variables and keep the plant as healthy as possible.
Humidity should be at least 40%. Higher humidity is ideal during summer but too much can cause damage. The basic rule is there must always be sufficient air circulation. If necessary, keep a fan running at all times.
Humidity plays a key role in creating pinguicula traps. The right combination of humidity, temperature and sunlight is necessary for pollination. Too much however and it could result damage the roots.
Because p. rectifolia can be grown indoors, you can fine tune the humidity level. The easiest way to do this is with a humidifier. You can adjust the setting until the level is exactly where it has to be for your plant. If you want to do this, we suggest the Elechomes SH8830 as it has proven time and again effective for plants.
Another way is the tray method. The more water you add, the more moisture is produced. This can be an effective solution to intense heat. You will definitely have to keep an eye on both humidity and temperature if your p. rectifolia is in an enclosed container.
Nutrition and Feed
A pinguicula rectifolia requires feeding every two weeks. Its diet consists mostly of small flying insects like flies, gnats etc.
There are many types of fish food and most are suitable for butterworts. Betta pellets and flakes the most widely used for pings. Crush the food until it has a powdery consistency and add droplets of water. Drop a few bits onto a couple of leaves.
Dried bloodworms are a source of good nutrition for pinguicula. Give only a small amount, and do not feed all the leaves. Be careful and try not to get any on the soil. It is somewhat risky to give it a live worm as it might escape the trap and go into the soil.
Strictly speaking, p. rectifolia has no dormancy. Instead its carnivorous leaves are replaced by succulents. These are not carnivorous, but the plant does not shrink or die in winter.
The best thing to do is one, protect the plant from winter freeze. Second, let the rosette dry and only mist it every now and then. You can resume regular care in spring.
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.