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Pinguicula spp: All You Need To Know About Growing The Butterwort Plant

Butterwort (Pinguicula spp.) is an easy-to-grow herbaceous carnivorous plant native to Central America. It has over 80 different species and is also considered a passive trapper, meaning they do not use rapid movements to trap its prey.

The Butterwort Plant

Their leaves produce a greasy gel-like substance that attracts and traps small insects like gnats and fruit flies. As the insect struggles, the plants secrete more acidic enzymes that finally overcome and dissolve the insect, which is then absolved by the plant.

Butterwort is a perennial flowering plant, mostly grown outdoors. They produce a rosette of flat greenish yellow leaves with a sticky surface. Butterwort plants provided with the proper care can bloom once or twice a year, producing white, pink, or yellow flowers.

Scientific namePinguicula spp.
Common nameButterwort.
OriginCentral America.
Size16 cm.
LightingIndirect sunlight to partial shade.
SoilMoist but also well-draining soil.
Temperature60 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit ( 15 – 25 degrees Celsius). 
FertilizerDiluted well Balanced fertilizer.
ToxicityNot toxic.
PropagationRoot division.

Pinguicula Spp. Care

Butterwort is a low-maintenance plant, preferably grown outdoors due to the fact that it feeds on insects such as gnats, which are a great source of nitrogen. Growing them indoors might deprive them of access to such insects, thereby needing extra care and maintenance.

Light Requirements

Light Requirements

When growing the butterworts plant, ensure you provide it with enough bright, indirect sunlight. As a low-hanging plant, butterwort can also survive in shaded areas. Avoid exposing the butterwort plant to direct sunlight, as this can cause its leaves to burn.

If you notice the leaves of the butterwort plant are getting a transparent look, that is a sign of excessive sunlight. In situations like this, move the plant to a fully shaded area till the leaves recover their original color.

Soil Requirements

When it comes to the soil needs of the butterwort plant, soil that is constantly kept moist and well drained is perfect. Also, butterwort loves its soil to be slightly acidic to neutral.

For potted plants, you can use a potting mix made up of part perlite, part soil, and part vermiculite. Perlite and vermiculite will be responsible for improving water retention and soil aeration.

And for outdoor propagation, maintain well-damped soil. Try to situate your plant in an area close to water, as this will assist in providing humidity and keeping the soil moist.

Water Requirements

When watering the butterwort plant, avoid using tap water. This water contains some minerals such as copper, magnesium, and calcium. As the water evaporates, these mineral elements can accumulate over time. Continuous exposure of the plant’s roots to these elements can cause root burn and other root problems.

Use pure or distilled water to water your plants. Also, water your plant regularly and keep it from drying out completely.

Also, it is advisable to avoid showering your plant from above. Always water the soil directly to prevent leaf rot.

Fertilizer Requirements

Butterworts do not necessarily need any additional feed as they can get all the needed nutrients from insects caught in their leaves. Provided light and water are sufficiently available, the plant can survive on its own.

When growing indoors without any insect infestation problems, you can feed the plants directly by supplying them with the needed insects. Also, instead of using chemical fertilizers, apply soluble organic manure instead.

Temperature And Humidity

Temperature And Humidity
Here But Not

Butterwort loves a fairly warm environment to grow in. Maintain a temperature of 60–75 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15–25 degrees Celsius). Note that different species of butterwort will require slightly different temperatures.

Maintain a humidity level of greater than 50% when growing indoors.


Propagating the butterwort plant can be easily done through root division.

Pinguicula plants usually grow into multiple plants after flowering. These are the best plants to use for propagation.

Once you notice the child plant has grown to a similar size to the parent plant, uproot the whole plant from its soil. Dust off any bit of extra soil on the roots. Gently separate the roots of both plants by pulling them apart.

Place both plants in separate pots and water them. Place it in a shaded location and it should start rooting in a few weeks.

Common Health Problems/Pests And Diseases

The butterwort plant, just like most carnivorous plants, rarely has any pest issues, as almost all pests are turned into food.

However, watch out for pests like aphids, mealybugs, and soil mites that attack the undersides of leaves and the soil.

Common health problems associated with the pinguicula are leaf burn caused by exposure to direct sunlight, root rot caused by overwatering, and also leaf spot disease.

A few more carnivorous plants: Venus Fly Trap, Monkey Cup, Cobra Lily, Purple Pitcher.


Is Pinguicula spp. toxic?

No. They are considered non-toxic to both humans and pets.

What are the best lighting conditions for Butterwort?

Provide the butterwort plant with indirect sunlight to partial shade.

How often should I water my butterwort?

Always ensure the soil is moist. Do not let the soil dry up before watering.

Is Pinguicula spp. a perennial or annual plant?

Pinguicula spp. is a perennial flowering plant that continues to regrow every year.

Can butterwort be grown in containers?

Yes. You can grow butterwort in pots and containers.