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Pinguicula sethos is a hybrid of two butterworts, pinguicula moranensis and pinguicula ehlersiae. It is one of the most popular butterworts due to its striking appearance and being widely available. These plants are also easy to grow when you know the basic steps.
Pinguicula sethos prefer full sun but must be protected from intense heat. Humidity can range from 20%-70% with sufficient air circulation, and the soil must always be moist. Keep the plant in 55-85 F and feed with insects or mealworms every 2-3 weeks.
Pinguicula Sethos Care Sheet
|Peat moss and perlite 1:1, keep soil damp
|Spring water, distilled, rainwater
|Partial to full light, indoors or outdoors
|Small insects, fish betta pellets, freeze dried worms
|55-85 F (12.7-29.4 C)
|At least 20%, but 70% ideal
|No, but goes through a non-carnivorous succulent phase
Soil and Pot
The most widely used soil for pinguicula sethos is 50/50 peat moss and perlite. There are other potting media you can use like pure long fiber sphagnum or 50/50 sphagnum moss and silica sand.
Some p. sethos plants are bundled with a peat moss and sand mix. You can also try 25% peat, 25% vermiculite, 25% perlite and 25% sand.
If you are buying potted pinguicula sethos it should come with ready to mix soil. You can of course prepare your own potting media. Whichever materials you use, make sure it has little to no nutrition.
All carnivorous plants grow in nutrition poor soil which is why they became carnivorous in the first place. Since there are nutrients in the ground, these plants eat nitrogen rich animals.
You can use any pot or container as long as there are drain holes. A mature p. sethos reaches up to 3 inches in diameter. Make sure the pot is at least a couple of inches wider to accommodate its roots. The larger the pot, the more space for the roots to grow.
Pinguicula sethos prefers partial to full light. Direct light is good but too much heat will burn its leaves. The best time for direct light is the morning and then partial light during midday and afternoon.
In the wild, butterworts are soaked in plenty of sunlight, but pinguicula sethos does not necessarily need direct exposure. Take a look at the plant and if you notice that it is turning transparent, that is a sign of overheating.
Another sign p. sethos is overheating are dry, crispy leaves. Healthy butterworts have thick succulent leaves, but under too much heat it dries up. If you notice this or any other signs, move the plant under shade right away.
Even if your p. sethos in under shade, make sure it still gets some light. Without sunlight and air butterworts will not live so never fully cover the plant.
The best solution is to find a place for your butterworts where it gets enough sun without burning out. You can place the plant on an open window and simply move it when the sun gets too hot. This might require some trial and error to find the right spot, but these plants are easy to move around.
You can also use artificial lights to grow p. sethos. Aceple LED Grow Lights are particularly good for carnivorous plants and other butterworts. If you are growing these indoors, schedule the lighting similar to the outdoors so as not to disrupt the natural rhythm of the plant.
When p. sethos are in their carnivorous phase, water to keep the potting media moist. When winter arrives and the plant forms non-carnivorous leaves, reduce watering. It is all right to let the media go dry, but every now and then water it lightly .
Like other tropical butterworts, p. sethos benefits from moist soil during spring and summer. The water provides humidity and performs other vital functions for these plants. It is one of the elements in the mucus which butterworts use to attract and trap insects.
During winter, these plants go through dry dormancy or the succulent phase. Their leaves turn non-carnivorous and are just like regular succulent leaves. Most people reduce watering during this time, sometimes even letting it go 100% dry.
This is acceptable for p. sethos and other tropical butterworts. When dormancy comes to a close, slowly increase watering just like in spring and summer.
You have three options for the water, purified, rain water or reverse osmosis. Never use tap water on any carnivorous plant. Our recommendation is Poland Spring Water because it is chemical-free.
Some butterworts benefit from the tray method, but for p. sethos watering from the top is better. Do not let the liquid collect in the rosette as it could cause rotting. Water around the rosette and just enough so the potting media does not go dry.
There is a lot of conflicting information about how much humidity pinguicula sethos needs. Some say the plant thrives in high humidity, while others say low is better. So which one is it?
Pinguicula sethos will do fine in low to mid humidity if there is sufficient air circulation. Keep the humidity high if airflow is poor.
Unlike Venus flytraps, pinguicula sethos does not necessarily need high humidity. As long as there is enough sunlight, water, ventilation and air circulation, it will grow. Some variants can live in as low as 20% humidity if in a hospitable environment.
If you want to raise the plant in high humidity, ensure there is good air circulation. While moisture is nic for plants in general, it can precipitate root decay. For other tips on growing butterworts, this article can help.
Now the good thing about p. sethos is it can adapt to either one. If you live in a low humid location, the plant will still grow. If you are in a high humidity area, these butterworts can thrive as well. The most important thing is to make its environment suitable for growth.
Pinguicula sethos flourish in temperatures between 55-85 F (12.7 – 29.4 C). It is best if you do not let the temperature reach 90 F (32 C) as it could lead to leaf burnout. Do not let the temperature drop to freezing either.
Tropical butterworts, as you might have guessed, prefer tropical climates. They will perish in freezing or extremely hot temperature. If the weather in your area is similar to what p. sethos needs, the plant is going to be fine.
You do not need to keep the plant exactly between 55-85 F. As long as it is not freezing and below 90 F you should not have to worry. The temperature is always changing and pinguicula sethos can adapt to that, as long as it is not too sudden or severe.
Indoors you can keep the temperature constant, though you may want to expose the plant to a bit of cool weather during winter. This is necessary so the plant sheds its carnivorous leaves for succulents. Allowing your pinguicula to maintain its natural cycle is critical for its development.
Nutrition and Feeding
Mature butterworts such as pinguicula sethos are easy to feed. You place insects or worms on its leaves and the plant will take care of the rest. If your pinguicula is outdoors, it will catch all kinds of bugs.
Butterworts consume insects to get nutrients so make sure they eat every two or three weeks. They do not need to consume a lot of bugs. One every two weeks is enough for most of them.
Do not use fertilizers on pinguicula. Their only source of nutrients must come from prey caught in their traps. You can tell these plants are healthy when they bloom and produce a lot of mucus on their leaves.
A pinguicula sethos does not go through dormancy like Venus flytraps. Instead of dying, they move out of their carnivorous state and enter the succulent phase.
You should minimize watering during this time. Some variants will even prefer the soil to be water free. When dormancy comes to an end, you can resume normal watering.
Hopefully this guide was able to help you learn the fundamentals of pinguicula sethos care. As always, you should check the package for any additional instructions that came with your plant.
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.