Cobra Lily (Darlingtonia californica): Care and Growing Guide

 Botanical NameDarlingtonia californica
Common NameCobra lily
 Plant TypeCarnivorous
 Mature SizeUp to 4 feet
 Sun ExposureFull sun
 Soil TypeMoist, well-drained
 Soil pH6-8
 Bloom TimeSpring
 Flower ColorRed petals
 Hardiness Zones7-10
 Native AreaNorth America

Cobra Lily Plant Care

Cobra lily plants require warm climates, full sun, and consistently wet and bog-like conditions in order to grow, and this can be difficult to replicate in a home garden. As such, these plants are considered to be difficult to cultivate, particularly outside of their native area. In order to successfully grow Darlingtonia californica in your own garden, the key is mimicking its native conditions as closely as possible.

The Spruce / K. Dave

The Spruce / K. Dave

The Spruce / K. Dave


Cobra lilies will grow best in either full sun or partial shade. They will thrive when the roots are kept cooler than the rest of the plant. In full sun they tend to appear shorter and redder, while in partial shade conditions these plants grow taller and greener. Darlingtonia californica does, however, need a balanced, even light distribution in order to promote vibrant colors on its sepals.


Quite possibly the most crucial element of cobra lily care is water, and these plants are particular about the type they receive. Rainwater is always the best option, but if watering at home you’ll want to use spring, distilled, or purified (via reverse osmosis) water. Cobra lilies are sensitive to the chemicals and minerals found in tap water.

These plants also prefer cool water, and some gardeners even place ice cubes on the soil and allow them to melt to add additional moisture and cool the plant’s roots. This is particularly important on days when high temperatures soar above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


While proper irrigation is important to successfully grow cobra lily plants, the soil also has to be just right. Many gardeners opt for peat moss, perlite, and either lava rock or pumice to help create a soil mixture that allows for some cooling of the root system.

Temperature and Humidity

Though they do require cooler temperatures, humidity levels won’t necessarily impact the growth of your cobra lily. However, it’s recommended that humidity levels be kept at about 50 percent, which will help prevent the plant from drying out.

Darlingtonia californica will not do well in excessively warm temperatures and prefer locations with cooler temperatures at night (in the 50s or 60s).


The carnivorous cobra lily plants don’t require fertilization as they feed themselves by ingesting insects and other pests.

Propagating Cobra Lily

Propagation can be done by cutting the stolons of these plants, which will produce more surviving buds when compared to seed planting. It also leads to a larger, healthier breed of cobra lily plants.

Seeds can also be used, but they will have to be kept refrigerated until the first quarter of the year (preferably February) and then planted in cold temperatures in sphagnum moss. 


The cobra lily doesn’t require extensive pruning, but you can cut back dead stems and leaves on an as-needed basis.

Growing in Containers

Since cool temperatures are so important when growing Darlingtonia californica, you should opt for a plant container that is light in color and has proper drainage. Plastic pots, terracotta clay, and glazed ceramics are all acceptable options, as long as the container you choose does not absorb heat.

Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.

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