Pitcher plants like moist soils.
Interested in the unusual? See the insect-eating pitcher plants Sarracenia
at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.
The elegant beauty of the tubed-shaped leaves of the pitcher plant masks a deadly trap.
Lured by nectar, insects enter the slender pitcher tube, expecting a tasty treat. Instead,
the insects lose footing on the slippery inside surface and fall to bottom of the tube.
There they are digested by the plant, becoming the "treat" themselves. This
drama unfolds over and over again in the West Island Garden at Lewis Ginter where there is
an extensive collection of pitcher plants.
Pitcher plants are among the simplest carnivorous plants to grow. They thrive in moist
soils they like "wet feet" but they should not be submerged. They
grow best in a mix of equal parts peat moss and washed sharp sand, say growers at Lewis
Ginter. They also like five or more hours of direct sunlight daily.
The typical pitcher plant takes five to eight years to reach maturity. Over the years,
individual plants develop underground rhizomes, from which several growth points emerge.
The flowers are especially unusual and beautiful and can be seen in spring. They are 1 to
4 inches in diameter and hang upside down from the tall stem. Depending on the variety,
pitcher plants are combinations of shades of yellow, green, white or red.
If you have a wet area, pitcher plants may be an interesting addition to your garden.
Lewis Ginter, located at 1800 Lakeside Ave., is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is
$6 adults, $5 seniors 55 and over, $4 children ages 2-12 and free under. For more
information, call Lewis Ginter (804) 262-9887 or visit www.lewisginter.org.
Pitcher plants also can be seen at Norfolk Botanical Garden.
YIPPEE FOR YARROW
Yarrow is a plant any level gardener beginning or advanced loves to grow.
Yarrows flowers are easy to air dry.
The plant Achillea demands little attention, no chemicals. It tolerates
most well-draining soils and little, if any, summer rainfall. Give it full sun and little
or no fertilizer.
Yarrows fine fern-like leaves are soft to the touch and nice to the nose. The
cluster-forming flowers are flat, giving wildlife a nice landing pad if they want to rest
a while during their searches for nectar and pollen.
Fernleaf yarrow A. filipendulina bears clear yellow flowers; Coronation
Gold is an exceptional variety. The flowers of common yarrow A. millefolium
are white; cultivars of this species vary in flower color from pink to red.
Stem rot and powdery mildew can be problems. Propagate by division in spring or fall.
To dry, hang stems upside down in a dry, dark, well-ventilated room for several weeks. The
dried flowers brighten fall and holiday wreaths, swags and bouquets.