Hybrids & Cultivars - Cultivating Carnivorous Plants (2015)

Cultivating Carnivorous Plants (2015)

Hybrids & Cultivars

The number of Sarracenia hybrids and cultivars is immense thanks to the fact that hybrids between

Sarracenia species are fertile and capable of further hybridization. This fertility has resulted in breeders creating

a dazzling variety of hybrids. As a consequence, it would be impossible for anyone to create a comprehensive

list of all known hybrids. Nevertheless, some hybrids are either so common in cultivation or so interesting

that they deserve brief mention. These select few are not, by any stretch of the imagination, a complete survey

of every possible hybrid. Instead, they are merely a few that are either well-known or a favorite of mine.

Before moving onto those hybrids, however, I do want to mention that Sarracenia hybrids, like Nepenthes

hybrids often have what is known as “hybrid vigor.” This means that the hybrid plants are more likely to

grow faster and produce better pitchers than their pure species parents. Of course, with the genus Sarracenia

featuring so many plants which have some aspect of hybridization in their lineage, many hybrids do not grow

at a noticeably different rate than some plants which appear to be “pure” species.

S. x catesbaei

Technically a hybrid between Sarracenia flava

and Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa, Sarracenia x catesbaei

has come to absorb all hybrids between Sarracenia

flava and Sarracenia purpurea except Sarracenia purpurea

ssp. burkii, which is known as Sarracenia naczi. In

cultivation, the designation Sarracenia x catesbaei

typically does not determine which variety of

Sarracenia flava or subspecies of Sarracenia purpurea

was crossed, only that the resulting plant shows the

typical characteristics of such a cross.

Typically, the pitchers of Sarracenia x catesbaei

are erect, with undulating hoods that provide no

protection from the rain. These hoods often close in

towards the pitchers mouth, resulting in a plant with

a pronounced triangular shape. Frequently, hybrids

made in cultivation use Sarracenia flava var. rugelli or

Sarracenia flava var. flava as a parent. Both of these

varieties of Sarracenia flava give the resultant hybrid a

characteristic red blotch at the back of the throat.

This is a characteristic which appears to be more

desirable in the horticultural market than plants with

a singular coloration.

Currently, Sarracenia x catesbaei is one of the

horticultural market’s favorite crosses. The pitchers

are often colorful and moderately tall, making them

showy plants. Since the wide mouth gives growers a

good vantage point to see the prey capture, it is easy

to see its appeal to a wide audience, given that most

people are not comfortable with a large tube of dead

bugs hanging around their garden.

Sarracenia x catesbaei



Complex Sarracenia leucophylla Hybrids

A complex hybrid with Sarracenia leucophylla and, probably, Sarracenia alata.

Sarracenia leucophylla is a perennial favorite for hybrid parentage. It’s not hard to see why. The tall, upright,

white pitchers are often partially passed down to offspring. Given the wide range of possible color patterns of

Sarracenia leucophylla, it is often difficult to determine what, exactly, the hybrid offspring will look like, but they

are often quite showy plants.

S. ‘Gothic Rose’

Sarracenia ‘Gothic Rose’ is a cultivar named for its stained-glass style color

pattern. The parents are unknown, but there is a strong Sarracenia leucophylla

influence. Sarracenia flava var. rugelii, or another Sarracenia flava variety with a red

throat blotch, has obviously had some influence on Sarracenia ‘Gothic Rose’.

The color of the pitchers is consistent during the growing season. The base

color is green, overlaid with bright red veining and a bright red lip. Translucent,

white “windows” are scattered throughout the hood and upper pitcher body as

with Sarracenia leucophylla. The pitcher form is almost identical to that of Sarracenia

leucophylla. It does not appear to produce phyllodia.

Sarracenia ‘Gothic Rose’ is an exceedingly easy plant, growing quite rapidly

throughout the spring, summer, and fall. As with many Sarracenia leucophylla

hybrids, the best pitchers are produced in the fall. Early spring growth can be Sarracenia ‘Gothic Rose’



tepid. Fall pitchers are usually larger than earlier pitchers, although this is not always the case. Prey capture

rates have not been recorded precisely, but Sarracenia ‘Gothic Rose’ appears to capture mostly winged insects,

like Sarracenia leucophylla and Sarracenia flava. There does not appear to be an overabundance of hornets, as with

Sarracenia flava.

S. ‘Red Stargazer’

Sarracenia ‘Red Stargazer’ is a

cultivar of unknown parentage. It has a

strong Sarracenia leucophylla influence. The

hood is extremely short and curved

upwards, almost as though Sarracenia

purpurea was a grandparent or great-

grandparent. In heavy rainstorms, rain

can easily flood the pitcher, despite the

hood’s slight overhang.

The upper pitchers are two tone:

red and white. Heavy red veining runs

against translucent white windows. There

is very little color bleed from the veins

into the windows. Prominent, downward

pointing hairs cover the inside of the

pitcher hood.

One of the more interesting

features of Sarracenia ‘Red Stargazer’ is

that it has a faint white glow in strong

moonlight, much like the brightest white

Sarracenia leucophylla plants. Observations

of prey capture are preliminary, but it

does appear to capture more moths than

non- Sarracenia leucophylla derived plants.

( Sarracenia leucophylla is known to have a

higher moth capture rate than other


As with Sarracenia ‘Gothic Rose’,

Sarracenia ‘Red Stargazer’ is an easy plant

to grow throughout the season. New

growth in high light is bright red, and

white fenstrations are present even as the

pitcher grows. As the pitchers open, they

mature to their full color over the course

of a week, like many other Sarracenia.

This hybrid does not appear to produce

phyllodia. As with many Sarracenia

leucophylla hybrids, the best pitchers are

Sarracenia ‘Red Stargazer’

produced in the fall.



S. ‘Judith Hindle’

Sarracenia ‘Judith Hindle’

Sarracenia ‘Judith Hindle’ deserves mention as it is one of the most widely available clones thanks to the

advent of tissue culture. Sarracenia ‘Judith Hindle’ is a complex cross between Sarracenia ( leucophylla x flava var.

rugelli) x Sarracenia purpurea “Chipola”. (The Sarracenia purpurea “Chipola” parent may be the large form

Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa var. burkii found along the Chipola River in Florida, but that is uncertain). Due to

the easy growth and showy pitchers, Sarracenia ‘Judith Hindle’ has become a popular plant in nurseries across

the globe.



S. ‘Scarlet Belle’

A single pitcher of Sarracenia ‘Scarlet Belle’.

As with Sarracenia ‘Judith Hindle’, Sarracenia ‘Scarlet Belle’ has become widely available and extremely

popular, due to the advent of tissue culture. Its parents are Sarracenia leucophylla and Sarracenia psittacenia.

Sarracenia ‘Scarlet Belle’ has a pitcher hood which is pinched together, almost entirely closed. Like Sarracenia

psittacenia, it produces pitchers during the entire growing season and is a very showy grower.

S. ‘White Ruffles’

Sarracenia ‘White Ruffles’ is an F2 Sarracenia x mitchelliana cultivar

which produces a heavy white, waxy residue on the lip of the plant. Early

spring pitchers are green with light red veining. As the pitchers age, the

upper pitcher turns a solid red color, although veins are still evident. The

residue is most prominent in the late summer/early fall.

Two accounts are given for how Sarracenia ‘White Ruffles’ got its

name. One account states that it was named after the ruffled hood in

combination with the Sarracenia leucophylla parentage. The other states that

it was named for the heavy white waxy residue in combination with the

ruffled hood. The real story may never been known.

As with most Sarracenia x mitchelliana, Sarracenia ‘White Ruffles’ is an

easy grower, but it is easily overwhelmed by too much rain. Thankfully,

the pitchers are not brittle, as some Sarracenia x mitchelliana crosses are.

The heavy white, waxy residue may be washed off, as well, if too much

rain falls in the late summer/early fall.

Like other crosses with strong Sarracenia purpurea and Sarracenia

leucophylla influence, only two crops of pitchers appear to be produced

each year. These open with light red coloration near the top of the

pitcher. Over the course of several weeks, this coloration becomes

darker, and the white fenestrations become more prominent.

Sarracenia ‘White Ruffles’

A comprehensive list is impractical as (1) Sarracenia hybrids are fertile; and (2) there has long been grower

interest in creating and cultivating new hybrids. In the early years, many natural hybrids gained their own

Latinized name known as a grex name. Below is a list of natural hybrids, their grex names, and crosses which



are frequently and erroneously labeled under the grex name:

Natural Hybrid

Grex Name

Erroneously Labeled Crosses

alabamensis x alata


alata x rubra

alata x leucophylla


alata x minor


alata x purpurea ssp. burkii


alata x purpurea

flava x leucophylla


flava x minor


flava x purpurea ssp. venosa


flava x purpurea

flava x purpurea ssp. burkii


flava x rubra rubra


flava x rubra

leucophylla x minor


leucophylla x psittacina


leucophylla x purpurea ssp. burkii


leucophylla x purpurea

leucophylla x rubra ssp. rubra


leucophylla x rubra ssp. gulfensis


leucophylla x rubra ssp. wherryi


leucophylla x rubra

minor x psittacina


minor x purpurea ssp. venosa


minor x purpurea

minor x rubra ssp. rubra


minor x rubra

psittacina x purpurea


psittacina x rubra gulfensis


psittacina x rubra

psittacina x rubra ssp. wherryi


purpurea ssp. venosa x rubra ssp. rubra


purpurea x rubra

purpurea ssp. purpurea x rubra ssp. jonesii