Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month, May 2008
Pinguicula grandiflora - by Harold McBride

Pinguicula Grandiflora is a carnivorous perennial which grows in montane habitats, usually in very damp peaty soil.

The plant is rosette forming having entire, smooth leaves thickly studded with minute glands which exude a sticky fluid  and which is attractive to small insects. Once an insect is caught digestive enzymes are secreted and the unfortunate  insect is digested by the plant.

The Farrer plant had many small insects sticking to its leaves- apparently the judges were impressed ! 

P. Grandiflora is a native of mountains in S. W. Europe and the West of Ireland .




The Farrer plant was grown in a compost comprising of sieved sphagnum moss and peat.  During the growing season the pan sits in a saucer filled with rain water and is placed beside my  garden water feature which provides  humidity and attracts insects.

In winter the plant dies back to a resting bud and it is then kept in a cool Alpine House .

Propagation is by division of resting buds or fresh seed;  however P. Grandiflora also produces gemmae ( minute almost seed-like buds) - these can be found around the resting buds in autumn and if potted on will reach flowering size the following year.

I am indebted to our late Ulster Group President John Mc Whirter who grew this plant very successfully and generously shared his experience & know - how  with me on many occasions .