The Butterwort is a carnivorous plant belonging to the Lentibulariaceae family. There are over 35 species of Pinguicula, of which nine are native to the United States. Its name, Pinguicula, is derived from the Latin word “pinguis” which means fat, referring to the “greasy” feel of the leaves. The Butterwort produces a glandular fluid on the leaves to attract, catch, and digest small insects. The leaves will slightly curl so that the fluid will pool around its victim.
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During the 19th century, Butterworts were often used to control aphids in greenhouses before the advent of chemical controls. The butterwort generally starts flowering in the spring and early summer months. They produce yellow (P. lutea) or purple (P. vulgaris) flowers.
How to keep your Butterwort healthy!
Location: A terrarium environment is best. Select an area that has bright indirect light. Morning sun is usually okay. Avoid humidity robbing drafts from heater and air conditioners. The ideal day temperature is between 65° to 85°F degrees.
Watering: Butterworts should not be allowed completely dry out! For best results use distilled water or rain water. Tap water with low salt content is acceptable provided water is allowed to stand overnight, to remove the chlorine. It is very difficult to over water.
Feeding: Butterworts feed on aphids, and sphagnum nats, and other soft shelled insects. Look closely at the leaves and you will see the remains of insects that have been digested by the Butterwort. Fertilizing with a 20-20-20 1/4 strength solution once a month is recommend where insects are in short supply. For those of you with orchids, you can also use your Pro Blend Orchid Food for convenience, again at 1/4 strength.
Transplanting: You can transplant your Pinguicula with sphagnum moss, with a layer of perlite or gravel at the bottom of terrarium or pot. You can grow in peat moss and sand. You should transplant every two years. You can transplant butterworts any time of the year.