Sarracenia × excellens
Common Name: hybrid pitcher plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Sarraceniaceae
Native Range: Southeast United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Wet
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Water Plant
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Strict adherence to the cultural needs of this plant is essential. In residential areas, this plant is best grown in the consistently moist soils of a bog garden. The bog garden should be prepared in advance of planting. In the St. Louis area, the bog garden should be sited in a protected location with winter mulch. If a bog garden is not available, then growing plants in containers may be the next best option. Plants require full sun. In part shade, leaf coloring does not develop as it should and pitchers droop. Plants need an acidic, humusy muck that is constantly damp. Soils must never dry out. Soil recommendations include Canadian peat or mixes of peat/sand or peat/perlite. Irrigation hoses and underground liners should be considered. Plants have a horizontal rhizome. Plants flower in spring and produce pitchers throughout summer. Pitchers mostly die back as winter approaches. In cold climates, trim leaves back in winter as pitchers die, but only trim dead tissue. Soil may be mulched with pine needles in winter to protect plants from cold temperatures. Easiest propagation is by rhizome division. Plants may be grown in pots/containers (plastic best) placed outside on a sunny deck or patio area. Container soils can be 50% peat and 50% perlite/vermiculite. Potting soil and/or fertilizer may kill the plant. Containers should be placed in a tray of water that keeps the soil constantly moist. Containers may be overwintered by inserting them to the rim in soil in protected locations. Dig up containers in spring to place back in full sun areas. Containers may also be brought inside in winter with somewhat reduced watering. Plants need full sun in the growing season and cold temperatures in winter dormancy, hence they simply do not grow well as houseplants. Do not collect these plants from the wild.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sarracenia × excellens is a naturally occurring hybrid pitcher plant resulting from crossing S. leucophylla and S. minor. This hybrid can be found where the ranges of the two species overlap in the panhandle region of Florida. Mature clumps can reach up to 2' tall and spread to fill a 1.5' area. The upright pitchers are characterized by their white tops with contrasting red venation and curved hoods with ruffled edges. Single red, nodding blooms appear on upright scapes in spring. The pitchers are used to lure and trap insects which are then broken down using enzymes in the base of the pitcher, providing nutrients to the plant.

The genus name Sarracenia honors Dr. Michael Sarrazan (1659-1734) of Quebec who reportedly sent the first pitcher plants to Europe around 1700.

The hybrid name excellens means "showy" or "excellent", in reference to the high horticultural value of the large and colorful pitchers.


Plants will do poorly if specific cultural requirements are not followed. Protect from strong freezing winds. Winter hardiness is generally not a problem in the St. Louis area for this plant. Feeding plants manually is not advisable. Do not fertilize plantings. Watch for aphids, scale, mealybugs, moth larvae, leaf spot and root rot.


Bog garden is best. Also may be grown in containers, greenhouses or as an indoor houseplant. Growth in containers as an indoor plant can be difficult because of the need for growing season sun and winter dormancy. May be grown outside in low spots or other continuously moist locations, but this can be difficult and is not recommended.