Butterworts are my latest carnivorous plant obsession! Their scientific name is Pinguicula, and many growers affectionately refer to them as Pings. Some of the easiest to grow are Mexican pinguicula, which are what I’m currently growing.
In my humble opinion, Mexican pings are also the most attractive. They’re small, rosetted, and symmetrical with rounded leaves, and some become lovely shades of pink in the right light conditions. I’ll fully admit I’m a sucker for pretty things! Their look is very similar to the popular echeveria succulents.
I got my first butterwort less than a month ago, a P. esseriana. This one (and all my other pings) are planted in roughly 2/3 perlite and sand, and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss. Here’s a few shots of esseriana’s growth over the last couple of weeks. First photo was shot Sept. 29th, last photo was shot Oct. 17th. Pretty fast growth!
Last Friday morning, I potted not one or two, but SIX new members of my butterwort family! I told you I’m obsessed! Say hello to P. ‘Sethos, P. agnata x moranensis, P. gracilis, P. Yucca Do 1717, P. debbertiana, and P. laueana. Whew!
I manhandled P. lauenana (bottom of the pot) a bit, and a couple of leaves came off. 🙁 Hopefully it recovers. I would attempt to propagate the leaf pullings, but I’ve read it only really works with their succulent (dormant) leaves, and all these still have carnivorous leaves.
The Sethos is definitely bigger than I thought it would be at nearly 3 inches across. P. laueana will probably grow to a similar size once its leaves are back. On the other hand, the gracilis and debbertiana are so tiny and precious! I took macro shots of them next to a US dime for comparison.
If these adapt as well as my P. esseriana, I’ll be able to see new growth in a couple of days! Their dormancy is approaching though, which is called the succulent phase, and is pretty unique. They’ll grow succulent leaves instead of carnivorous leaves. As watering decreases down to nothing in the winter, they’ll be storing water in these succulent leaves rather than eating. Like with regular succulents, over watering can kill dormant pings. No bueno!
These butterworts are triggered into dormancy by reduction of water, light, and food. Temperature doesn’t affect them as much, so you can keep giving the same conditions year round (ie: indoors on a windowsill). Fascinating stuff! Growing butterworts is an adventure unlike any other plant I’ve grown. 🙂
I was just thinking today I need to make a list of all the repotting/dividing/propagating projects I want to do in the early spring, and making more pings from leaf pullings is definitely going on that list! Perhaps this list will be a post in the future. 😉
Have you recently bought any plants that are out of your comfort zone? Are your prepared for their dormancy or lack thereof? Leave me a comment! Let’s chat about our collections. 🙂