Waking up of nature calls for thriving plants blooming and filling up pots and gardens. While succulents are great plants to keep the colors vibrant throughout the whole year, adding up a new, beautiful one to celebrate a new life coming with spring is always a good choice. Succulents come in all sizes. However, most of us always “awww” on those cute, little ones. To warm up your gardening heart after a few cold months, take a look at Butterwort.
Butterwort– Cute and Vibrant Pot Filler
Butterwort aka Pinguicula is a small succulent that you can easily switch for some other species until it blooms. Butterwort grows in small rosettes that fill up space pretty quickly. Rosettes get up to 5 cm wide, with greenish-yellow leaves. Leaves are the reason this succulent has its common name. They feel “buttery”, with a layer of greasy substance all over them. When Butterwort blooms, it will send up the stalk up to 15 cm tall, carrying a single flower. This succulent is a summer-bloomer and flowers have bright colors, coming in varieties of white, yellow, pink, purple or even blue.
The coating of the leaves has two functions. First of all, it’s an insect-traping resin. Butterwort uses it to defend itself from pests. Secondly, this succulent feeds on specific insects, like gnats. They represent the source of nitrogen these succulents need to remain healthy. There’s no proof that this resin is toxic for humans, but you should be careful not to ingest some anyways. Also, keep your kids and pets away, just to be safe.
This succulent is native to south-central Mexico, but it can also be found in few varieties on Caribbean islands, in Central America, subtropical regions of Florida and in South America.
Grow and Care Tips
Butterwort can be grown as both house plants and in the outside garden. It will thrive in sun or partial shade. If you choose to grow Butterwort in a pot as a house plant, place it on the sunniest windowsill in a house. While loving a mild to warm climate, this succulent won’t appreciate the hottest, blasting midday sun in the summer. Try to place Butterwort somewhere with a lot of light, but still protected from extreme heat.
Butterwort loves the moisture. This succulent should never be let in completely dried out soil. It will require a little more watering than succulents usually do. However, Butterwort is also sensitive to overwatering. Too much water will make roots rot beyond repair. Also, you should be careful with the quality of water you’re giving to Butterwort. Since it’s sensitive to some minerals and salt concentrations. To stay on the safe side, you can water this succulent with rainwater. If that’s unpractical for you, just switch to distilled water.
The best soil for Butterwort is a mix of sphagnum moss and equal parts of sand and vermiculite. If you’re planting this succulent outside, make sure that the soil in the area is moist enough. You can even plant Butterwort near water in your garden and just watch it thrive. You should never plant Butterwort in regular potting mix or add fertilizers since it will surely kill the plant.
It’s essential for Butterwort to bloom every summer in order for it to continue growing. Also, it has to go dormant every winter, so you have to cut the watering down to just a few drops weekly. Still, don’t let the soil dry out completely. Also, to encourage the new growth, you should remove dead leaves in late winter or early spring.
The best time for propagating Butterwort is late winter. When the plant is dormant, it will be easy to handle it due to high sensitivity. If you pull too hard, the whole plant can fall apart. The easiest way to propagate this succulent is from leaves. You should lightly tease the leaf off the plant and make sure there are no leftovers on the rosette.
Experienced gardeners use an interesting way of prepping leaves before they plant them in a fresh soil mix. They put clean leaves in a zip bag, close it almost entirely and watch them for some time. Leaf pullings need some airflow in order to stay healthy. If leaves start to dry out, you should lightly spray them with water and close the bag up again. If they start to rot, open the beg more. When they are ready for planting, just put them in well-draining soil.