How to tell if a Sarracenia flowers is pollinated

This will be a quick post, but one that I hope is useful to you readers! Sarracenia  are among the easiest carnivorous plants to hand-pollinate and hybridize. With patience and care, it’s fairly simple to create a brand-new, genetically unique plant. Many growers have registered their hybrids named after their spouses, children, or in remembrance of people who passed away. It’s quite romantic, actually!

Hand-pollinating Sarracenia is a pretty simple process. This post from The Pitcher Plant project explains it really well. In this post, I’m only looking to expand on Brooks’ information a bit and provide some more visuals!

So it can be a good six months or more between pollinating the flowers and harvesting the seeds. That’s a long time of not knowing! The clues are the ovary of flower. Go back up and read the post I linked above if you have no idea what I’m talking about!

After the pollen is spent, and all the flower petals drop, you’ll be able to see the ovary clearly.

This is what a pollinated ovary looks like:

Pollinated Sarracenia flower by The Carnivore Girl

Notice the ovary is round and covered in a scaly texture. It’ll start to look like this about a month after pollinating. By early fall, it’ll start turning brown.

To compare, here is an un-pollinated ovary:

Sarracenia flower un-pollinated by The Carnivore Girl

Notice how the shape is more sunken-in and not as round as the pollinated ovary. It also has a smoother texture, and not the bumpy surface.

Final notes:

  • Just because a flower was pollinated, doesn’t mean it’ll produce viable seed, if any seed at all. I’ve cracked open swollen ovaries to find big, fat nothing inside. Sometimes, you gotta try more than once, if you know what I mean.
  • Deformed flower parts, and trying to pollinate past the fertile window will decrease your chances of successful pollination.
  • Timing is pretty important. Flowers have a very short fertility window after opening. I’d say you want to pollinate no more than two weeks after flowers are fully open and dropping pollen.
  • If you apply pollen to all five stigmas, and do so several times, your odds of getting seed is pretty good.
  • If you have lots of natural pollinators like bees, you may have some surprises on your hands! Some people like the control of hand-pollinating, but unknowns  are fun too.

If you’re new to pollinating Sarracenia flowers, I hope this post has been helpful to you! Please share it via the buttons on the left if you think other people will find it helpful too. 🙂

Catch you next time!

3 comments

    • Maria says:

      You can tell, but it’s not as obvious in Drosera flowers. When they close, they’ll be similarly round if they’re full of seeds, and shrunken in if they’re not. But it is harder to tell, since they are smaller and structured differently.

Comments are closed.