Tirana (Pinguicula vulgaris)

Pinguicula vulgaris is a carnivorous plant

La pinguicula vulgaris It is one of the most common species of the genus, but this does not mean that it is less interesting; rather, the opposite is true. Its small size makes it highly recommended to grow it in rather small pots, something that you will undoubtedly like to know if you do not have much space available to grow plants.

What's more, if you are a lover of miniature gardens, this beautiful carnivorous plant can be part of a terrarium along with others that need the same care. So, do you want to know how it should be maintained?

Origin and characteristics of pinguicula vulgaris

The Pinguicula vulgaris is a European carnivore

Image - Wikimedia / xulescu_g

It is an evergreen carnivorous plant that lives in swamps and swamps in the Circumboreal Region, in regions where winters are very cold and snowfall occurs. We will find it practically in all the countries of Europe, as well as in North America. Due to the conditions of its habitat, evolution has wanted it to produce a small sprout called a hibernacle when temperatures begin to drop in order to make it easier for it to get through the winter season.

It reaches a height of about 3 centimeters and a diameter of about 10 centimeters. It forms a rosette of more or less triangular leaves, green in color, and sticky for insects. In spring, a flower stalk up to 16 cm high sprouts from the center, at the end of which a lilac flower in the shape of a 1,5-2 cm funnel emerges.

The scientific name is pinguicula vulgaris, although it is known as grease or tuna. It therefore belongs to the genus of the Pinguicula, carnivores that, due to their characteristics, look like 'conventional' plants ... until you see that mosquitoes and other small insects are trapped on the surface of their leaves.

What are the care you need?

La pinguicula vulgaris It is a carnivore that, as it does not require much space, can be had almost anywhere. But yes, it is very important to take into account that, in order for it to grow well, it is necessary to place it in the right place and water it with a specific type of water. In cultivation it is not a complicated plant, but if you make a mistake you could lose it. But do not worry because below we explain how to take care of it:


  • Outdoor: the tuna is a plant that needs light, but never in a direct way.
  • Interior: place in bright rooms, or in terrariums with light for plants.


The substrate must be a mixture of peat moss or sphagnum moss with perlite to parts equal. To make the transplant much easier, fill a bowl with this mixture and distilled water so that it moistens well. Then, you can fill the pot, which must be plastic; or the terrarium that is recommended to be made of glass.

Do not use flowerpots or any clay or ceramic container, as this is a porous material, as the plants are watered, some pores or granites tend to 'fall out'. These, when decomposed, can cause problems to the roots of the pinguicula vulgaris, since they are not prepared to absorb nutrients directly.


The flower of the Pinguicula is small and lilac

Image - Wikimedia / Luis Mata

Carnivorous plants should not be fertilized. As we said before, the roots cannot absorb the nutrients, and in fact, if they are fertilized, the most normal thing is that they burn; that is, they spoil, putting the life of the plant at risk.


It multiplies by seeds in spring, following this step by step:

  1. First, fill a plastic pot (or if you prefer, a tray, also made of plastic, with some holes in the base and clean) with white peat mixed with perlite in equal parts. Do not forget to moisten the substrate with distilled water beforehand.
  2. Then, spread the seeds on the surface, trying - although it is difficult since they are very small - that they are not too close together.
  3. Lastly, place the seedbed in a bright area - you know, no direct light.

If the substrate is kept humid, they will germinate in one or two weeks at a temperature of about 15-20ºC.

Plagues and diseases

La pinguicula vulgaris it is a very resistant plant, but its leaves are very vulnerable to attack by herbivorous animals, As the snails. Therefore, it is worth spreading diatomaceous earth around for example, or even protecting it in a somewhat more drastic way with mosquito netting, like a greenhouse.

Planting and transplanting time

En spring. It has to change pot very few times throughout its life. Being small, surely two transplants are enough. Anyway, you can go check it yourself. For example, if you see that it has occupied the entire container, or if its roots are coming out of the drainage holes, then it will need more space.


It resists cold and frost well up to -7ºC.

Pinguicula vulgaris is a perennial carnivore

Image - Wikimedia / Qwert1234

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