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My butterwort is escaping it's pot

(Ang) Bremerton, WA(Zone 8b)

I bought a butterwort, Pinguicula gigantea, from Sarracenia Northwest for my son's Easter gift. It's indoors and has been growing well, at least that is what I thought. It's sort of 'escaping' it's pot. It started leaning to the side, pulling roots out of the soil and also growing new roots.

I'm not sure if the leaning is because of too much light or not enough. My son keeps turning it so I'm not sure which way it started leaning.

Also I'm finding conflicting suggestions on watering. Some say to keep the soil moist and some say put in a small amount of water. I water from the top, letting the soil fall in the "bowl", and let it sit for a few minutes and then dump. (I just watered before taking this pic.)

Thumbnail by tikipod Thumbnail by tikipod
Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)


I think what you are seeing is a response to low light levels that I have seen in several of the Mexican Pings. Many have the ability to "push" themselves along the ground to get closer to a light source. The plant grows a "stolon" which grows out from the original root system and moves the rosette over until it is in a more favorable position. Then the "stolon" dies away quickly and the rosette drops fresh roots into the medium. It is a very stunning performance. I had my P. esseriana do the same thing that your P. gigantea has done, - make 3 offshoots that were pushed out from the mother rosette by long "stolons."

I believe that when a plant makes clones around its base, and they are tucked down under large leaves, they will perform this stunt to get clear of the rosette for proper light.

It's a cruel but interesting experiment to perform with a single plant:

If you put it in low light but with a bright source off to the side, the plant will scoot as far over as it can in the pot to get closer to the light. I haven't tried it in a really extreme version, but I wonder if you could get the plant to scoot right out of the pot so that it would be hanging by the "stolon" or, as I like to think of it "umbilical cord"?

I hope this answers your question!


(Ang) Bremerton, WA(Zone 8b)

It does and that certainly makes sense. It might have been moving closer to the south or west windows. I turned the blinds so they get brighter light. I think I should buy soil supplies for if it completely tumbles out of the pot.

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Just rotate the plant to the opposite side until it straightens out. This happens with all plants.

Beverly Hills, CA

Yeah, its trying to adjust the leaves to an angle that captures more light. Its called 'hydroscopic motion'. Regarding watering, with Mexican pings they should not be kept constantly wet. Soil mix should be pretty sandy. Let the soil get a little drier between waterings, do not keep them in a tray. This is for Mexican tropical pings. Temperate pings (IE US pings north of southern Florida) usually like to stay wetter.

north coast nsw, Australia

you need a shallow pot like a small bonsai dish with peat moss/sand filled right to the top even mounted it up abit in the middle then plant the ping ontop the mound. The pings roots are shallow and it'll fit the plant in without touching the sides so much which holds the plant up if theres not enough soil.
Heres when i 1st planted mine but ended up with just the one covering the whole pot.

Thumbnail by breeindy
(Ang) Bremerton, WA(Zone 8b)

How shallow is acceptable breeindy? I've seen some beautiful bonsai pots that I've whined about because I had no plants for them/

north coast nsw, Australia

Have you ever looked at your pings roots? There pretty shallow. Im not sure how big your plant is but you'll see when you go to repot it.

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