Some warm temperate Pinguicula can thrive in a surprising array of growing conditions and certain species will be at home on a windowsill, outdoors or under artificial lighting. Their often short-lived nature makes encouraging flowering, pollination, seed collection and sowing all the more important if you wish to keep certain species long-term, although they are known to self-propagate readily when healthy. To access the information on this page, please click on one of the topic titles below; to hide it again, simply click the title a second time.
Warm temperate Pinguicula such as P. lusitanica are short lived plants, so learning how to grow the plants from seed can be quite important if you wish to have a continuous population of them long-term. Thankfully, they are typically fairly easy to germinate and grow and some species will even pollinate their own flowers, saving you that task! This is one genus of carnivorous plant that doesn't take years to go from seed to maturity, so warm temperate Pinguicula are great plants to have a go at growing from seed if you want to see results in a matter of months.
A common soil mixture for growing warm temperate Pinguicula (whether for use with adults or germinating seed) is believed to be one part peat and one part silica sand. Personally, for growing seeds, I prefer to use dead, chopped sphagnum moss mixed with larger grained silica sand or perlite as warm, moist peat is the perfect breeding ground for fungus gnat larvae, which will readily devour tender seedlings. To be honest, you will likely find a combination of peat/perlite (or larger grained silica sand) to be adequate for the endeavour, and you can always put a thin layer of dead sphagnum moss on the surface of the soil if you have concerns about gnat larvae. The seeds should be scattered over the surface of your selected growing media and not buried, as light may not penetrate deeply enough to reach the tender shoots as they emerge.
Your growing container needs to be kept in a well lit location, whether this is on a warm windowsill, in a greenhouse or under artificial lighting – as long as it receives plenty of indirect sunlight. If you are growing a species that originates from a country with similar outdoor conditions to yours, then you can even have a go at germinating the seeds outside, as long as they are protected from frost, snow and freezing temperatures, it's also important to lightly cover the container (or sit it in a sheltered area) so the seeds are not scattered when it rains.
The seeds should be kept moist (but not wet) and allowed to experience temperatures above 15°C (60°F) for optimum germination. If given the right conditions, you should start seeing sprouts between 2 and 4 weeks after sowing.
In their natural habitat it is not uncommon for some warm temperate Pinguicula to live in areas where they would receive full sun, as such it is often recommended that they be grown outside wherever possible; this is not mandatory, however, and many of these plants can do well on a windowsill or under artificial lighting. Give them as much light as possible and, depending upon individual species, perhaps consider shading them lightly in the middle of a particularly hot summer.
Unlike the other Pinguicula groups, warm temperate species can do well in an undrained container if you keep an eye out for rot, if you do this it's advised that you let the water level fluctuate (but not dry out) to help reduce this risk. Drained containers can work equally well and provide some insurance against keeping the soil too wet and thus rotting the plant (although this group is more resilient than, say, Mexican Pinguicula).
The purpose of re-potting your warm temperate Pinguicula is solely to refresh the soil once it starts to break down; this can be done once every couple of years depending upon your soil mixture. Many of these plants are perennials, so you may find that you never re-pot one of them in its lifetime, although it is important to refresh the soil every now and then.
Warm temperate Pinguicula species are sometimes referred to as bog plants, this is because they come from areas that are fairly moist and peaty; you can replicate this by giving your plants a soil mixture composed of peat and large grain silica sand. The peat is nutrient poor and highly water retentive, whereas the sand is inert (so it won't affect the pH of your soil) and will allow excess water to drain away quickly, while also helping oxygen to permeate the soil, which will help your plants to maintain healthy root systems. You can also use perlite or vermiculite, but perlite can float to the surface of the soil and vermiculite tends to break down and can become slimy over time.
Please make sure all potting components are free of fertilizers and wetting agents as these are usually deadly to Pinguicula. When dealing with perlite and vermiculite, please ensure that you dampen them before use and avoid breathing in the dust as this is dangerous.
Plants in this category come from areas with fairly mild winters, so while they may experience some light frosts, occasional freezes and small quantities of snow in the wild, they don't have the ability to survive these well; because of this, it's important to keep your plants protected during periods of particularly cold weather and aim to keep them above 15°C (60°F), with 20°C (68°F) being ideal. Some species are highly adaptable and do well in a range of temperatures, so they can survive dips in temperature but if exposed to prolonged periods of bitter coldness, it'll take its toll on their health.
Mineral free water is highly important for warm temperate Pinguicula, as they are not accustomed to processing large quantities of minerals or nutrients in either their soil or water. These plants should be kept moist (but not soaking) at all times, with some species appreciating occasional flooding. You can water these plants either from the top or by using a tray or dish, they are quite resistant to damaged leaves due to scorching.
Some species of warm temperate Pinguicula may die back or produce smaller leaves during prolonged periods of cold weather, but they are not specially adapted to surviving frosts, freezing or snow, so they will need a little bit of extra care and attention during the winter months.
If grown outdoors it is recommended that you move your plants to somewhere sheltered from harsh cold weather and snow; if you grow your plants on a windowsill you shouldn't encounter too many issues, although it's important to keep an eye out for fungus as evaporation levels in winter tend to decrease, which should mean you don't need to water your plants quite so frequently. It is important not to get the leaves of your plants wet during this period as this may trigger fungus and rot.
Pinguicula primuliflora has been recorded as having a winter dormancy period that is triggered by a gradual reduction in photoperiod and temperature; during this time, the plant will appear to freeze and stop growing entirely. As the seasons naturally change in the spring, it should resume growing again.