Butterworts (Pinguicula spp.)

Welcome to the world of growing carnivorous terrarium plants!

Unusual but easytocarefor, Butterworts is an ideal terrarium plant to brighten your environment.

With various species available and the option to grow them indoors or out, Butterworts can provide an eyecatching display in your home or garden.

In this article, we‘ll discuss their care requirements, benefits, and tips for growing your own Butterworts!

Quick Stats:
Scientific Name Pinguicula spp.
Common Name Butterwort, Pings
Family Name Lentibulariaceae
Habitat Woodlands, Bogs
Temperature 50°F to 80°F
Height 0.5 to 4 inches
pH 5.0 to 6.5
Lighting Bright, Indirect

What Are Butterworts?

Butterworts, scientifically known as Pinguicula spp. or pings, are carnivorous, insect-eating plants native to cool, moist areas like bogs, woodlands, and rainforests throughout the temperate regions of the world. Pings can be found in a variety of shades making them a welcomed addition to any vivarium.

These plants come from a variety of species that can range in size from 0.5 inches to 4 inches, each with its own colorations, foliage shapes, and leaf configurations.

Pinguicula Spp. "Butterworts" Care Guide | Vivarium Plants

Butterworts Facts

Pinguicula spp. is classified as an aquatic carnivorous plant, meaning it traps and digests prey with the help of water. Pinguicula can be found in two different forms: a floating plant, which is almost entirely aquatic, or a non-floating version, which can live both submerged in water and on land.

Most varieties of Pings have tiny, sticky hairs on the top or bottom side of their leaves known as glandular consparsa which catch insects that come into contact with it. Plants also produce small flowers on their stems to further attract prey.


Pinguicula spp. are compact plants that typically grow in clumps or mats. The foliage is flower-like and will have dainty, succulent-like leaves arranged in a rosette formation. The top of the leaves is usually slightly curled up or curved.

The leaves are often decorated with drops of glistening dew or an insect that has been caught and is currently being digested by the plant.


Pinguicula spp. is native to areas in the temperate regions of the world, often lowland and mountainous areas. In the wild, this plant can typically be found in moist, wooded areas or in bogs, where there is plenty of water and a high humidity level.

Temperatures in these native habitats can range from a low of 50°F to a high of 80°F, depending on the species. 

PH Preference

For optimal health, Pings thrive in an environment with a slightly acidic substrate. When it comes to PH levels, Pinguiculas can survive in a range of 5.0 to 6.5 but prefer to grow in a more acidic environment at the lower end of the spectrum.

Vivariums with a higher PH level may require some water conditioning to ensure the plant thrives. 

Vivarium Type

There is no set type of enclosure that Butterworts must be grown in. In fact, they can do very well in a variety of vivarium types. One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing the appropriate enclosure is the amount of space available.

In addition, Pinguicula spp. should also be provided with tropical and moist terrain areas. Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosures with little to no aquatic features.

Vivarium Placement

Pinguicula spp. can live both fully submerged in water, or partly in and out of water. If the latter is the case, the plant should always be in close contact with water in the substrate. These plants do not need to be on the substrate’s surface and can even be grown on a variety of surfaces such as wood, rocks, and soil.


Pinguicula spp. typically prefer moist, spongy terrarium soils like ones with peat moss, as they are able to absorb water through their root structure.

The substrate should be low in nutrients to avoid root and foliage burn-off. Peat-based products work well with minimal conditioning needed. For fully submerged tanks, a nutrient-free and dense substrate should be used.


Pings prefer plenty of bright and indirect light. When setting up lighting, a bright value reaching 3,000 to 5,000 lumens can help these plants thrive and grow quickly. When it comes to temperature, cooler color LEDs are fantastic and replicate the daylight conditions of Pinguicula spp. native habitat.

Buy Butterworts Plants

When considering purchasing Butterworts, it’s important to ensure that the plant is healthy. Plants that are already in poor condition may struggle to adapt to a new environment.

When inspecting the plant, pay close attention to the foliage for any signs of yellowing, drying, black spots, or damage. Additionally, check for any pests or fungal diseases and carefully examine the glandular leaves for any red flags.

Remember to click the image below for more information on the current price and other relevant details about Butterworts:

Butterworts Care and Propagation

Propagating Pinguicula spp. is relatively easy. Every thirty days, the plant will produce seeds or division-ready stem offsets, both of which can be used for propagation.

Planting these seeds or stem offsets in the substrate should do the trick. As long as the environmental conditions are correct and no harsh chemicals are used, the plant should start growing quickly. 

How to grow

To get started, Pinguicula spp. will need a nutrient-free, acidic substrate with plenty of moist, spongy material. If planting in terrarium soil, some type of draining layer is advised to avoid waterlogging. If placed in a water tank, a substrate such as sand or gravel can be used.

When acclimating the plant, make sure to keep the soil damp but not completely soaked. Moderate to bright lighting can help these plants thrive and spread out their foliage quickly. Cut back a little on the amount of water given to avoid mold and rotted leaves. 


Carnivorous plants require moist or even soggy soil to really thrive. Water carnivorous plants when the surface of the soil begins to dry, using either distilled or rainwater. Avoid using water from a faucet or hose, as it can contain salt or other minerals that can harm sensitive plants.

Plants Similar To Butterworts

Incorporating a variety of plants in your enclosure can enhance its appearance. To achieve a diverse and visually appealing setup, consider including different types of flora that are compatible with the same habitat.

If you are having difficulty obtaining Pinguicula spp. or want to explore alternatives to Sun Pitcher Plants, there are other carnivorous plants that may thrive alongside or in place of Butterworts in your vivarium:

Cephalotus Spp. "Australian Pitcher Plants" Care Guide | Terrarium Plants
Drosera spp. "Sundews" Care Guide | Terrarium Plants
Heliamphora Spp. "Sun Pitcher Plants" Care Guide | Terrarium Plants


By now, you have a good understanding of Butterworts and the many ways they can be used to spruce up your terrarium. With minimal care and attention, these beautiful little terrarium plants can be enjoyed for years to come. So why not get out there and start growing your own Butterwort today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, butterworts are relatively easy to grow. They only require plenty of light, a high humidity level, and consistently moist, welldraining soil. With proper care and attention, they can produce longlasting and spectacular blooms throughout the year.

Butterworts are carnivorous plants native to Northern Europe and parts of North America. They typically grow to about 34 inches in height, with a spread of about the same. The flowers can reach up to 8 inches in diameter.

Butterworts are carnivorous plants typically used in gardens as decorative plants due to their attractive flowers. They derive their name from their sticky leaves, which trap insects and small invertebrates for nourishment.

Your butterwort might not be producing a sticky film on its leaves because it is not receiving enough sunlight. Butterworts need plenty of direct sunlight in order to produce the sticky adhesive that attracts and traps insects. If your butterwort is located in a shaded area, consider relocating it to an area with more direct sunlight.

Another factor that could contribute to a butterwort not producing a sticky film is a low humidity level, so make sure it is receiving enough humidity.

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