Near the end of a mostly calm and warm summer, S. leucophylla var. alba was about to show its first autumn pitcher when Mother Nature reminded us that nothing is carved in stone.
Stones—that’s what appeared to be falling from the sky on August 18, as a violent hailstorm wreaked havoc in the village, tearing asunder many plants among which my white Sarracenia. It’s just leaf damage though, and a new pitcher should start popping up soon.
First time flowering! The variegated red-and-white petals are immediately noticeable, and a really unexpected feature that warrants the var. alba designation even more than the leaves do.
The plant is benefitting from an ideal weather for a Sarracenia: full sun from dawn to dusk with moderate heat and air moisture.
The var. alba needs plenty of sunlight to look like this. Beside the white top, the rest of the leaf shows an interesting copper to reddish tint. Summer in NE France is hit or miss with sunshine and heat, so I do not expect the pitchers to be that nice every year. They should be taller, though.
One thing is sure: whatever the light levels, it is still desperately slow-growing for a Sarracenia.
White-leaved plants are fascinating. When I bought my first Sarracenia leucophylla, I thought I had found the holy grail of carnivorous plants. Then I read about some clones exhibiting more white than others, saw some photos, and told myself I had to grow one of these… but the whiter the rarer, so it was a long quest. I used to grow a beautiful “red & white” variant, but it was not enough to satisfy my lust for the ultimate albescent Sarracenia. In 2016, the good news came from Mike King; a young var. alba is available for purchase.
The plant is finally going “alba” almost as much as it can, exhibiting a nice white top portion, albeit with vein leftovers that, counterintuitively, fade out with prolonged exposure to sunlight.
A bit more than a year was necessary for the plant to produce an adult-looking pitcher, and it has come near the end of the growing season. This was to be expected from a Sarracenia leucophylla anyway, as the species is not particularly vigorous in spring. Still… it’s a slow grower.