How to Grow Darlingtonia Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing California Pitcher Plant and Cobra lily

Darlingtonia is a genus of carnivorous plants and is a hardy perennial.

They can grow from 30 to 90 cm in height and carry hooded greeny purple flowers with veins and pits designed to attract insects into the lure.

Darlingtonia usually flowers from spring until the early months of the summer.

Common names for members of Darlingtonia include California pitcher plant and Cobra lily.

Darlingtonia californica
Darlingtonia californica - Cobra Lily by alexlomas.

California Pitcher Plant
California Pitcher Plant by wlcutler.

Darlingtonia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: California pitcher plant, Cobra Lily, Cobra plant.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 12 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm).
Native: North America.

Growing Region: Zones 8 to 10.
Flowers: Spring through to early summer.
Flower Details: Green-purple. Veined. Pitted. Hooded.
Foliage: Upright tubular leaf of green with red veins; with a forked leaf of purple/green or yellow attached to the top.

Sow Outside: Surface. Spring. Spacing 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm).
Sow Inside: End of winter and early summer. Germination time: one to three months. Temperature 80°F (27°C) in the light. Use pots filled with sphagnum moss. Sit the pots in water. Wait one year before transplanting Darlingtonia outdoors towards the end of spring.

Requirements and care: Fully shaded. Wet soil, or at least always very moist. Cool, Peaty. Autumn mulch with leaf mold. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or autumn in warmer climates.

Miscellaneous: Carnivorous plant. May take five years for seed grown plants to bear flowers. The plant has the common name of cobra plant due to the leaves similarity to that of a striking cobra.

How to Grow California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia)

Darlingtonia, like many carnivorous plants, like to grow in swampy conditions, therefore when growing the seeds the media should be kept saturated at all time by standing the pots in water.

Seeds should be sown on the surface of sphagnum moss in pots and take from one to three months to germinate.

California pitcher plants require constant conditions of about 26 degrees Centigrade and light to grow as seedlings.

Once established they can be transplanted outdoors into a shaded swampy part of the garden at a depth of about 2 cm in the water.

The soil that they are in should be kept saturated at all times.

Caring for California Pitcher Plants

It will take about four years until you will first see the California pitcher plant and other Darlingtonia members begin to flower.

If you require more plants then they can be propagated by dividing the plants in the spring or autumn.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Darlingtonia plants. Updated September 2020.