Drosera sp, also known as the Sundew plant, is just one of the many carnivorous plants that you can grow at home.There are almost 200 species of this plant found growing everywhere except for Antarctica. With so many varieties growing in so many different places, certain species are going to be easier to grow than others, and certain varieties adapt easier and are not as finicky.
Carnivorous plants are carnivorous for a reason, the places most, if not all, of these plants grow have soils or a habitat which lacks the nutrients the plants would need to survive, they make up for this by getting the rest of their needed nutrients from insects. So when growing your carnivorous plants, keep this in mind, they were made to get most of the nutrients they need to live and grow through insects so the growing medium you need to use is not going to contain what the soil you use for your other houseplants contains. Some of the carnivorous plants may even die because they weren’t made to live in a nutrient rich soil.
When growing theses plants at home, instead of using fertilizer, you would use fish food to supplement nutrients. We will get into those details later.
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Of the carnivorous plants grown at home, Sundews are one of the easiest. And of these there are some varieties that are easier to grow than others. Theses include; Drosera natalensis, Drosera capensis, Drosera binata, Drosera tokaiensis, Drosera spatulata, and Drosera adelae.
Some materials you need to successfully grow happy Sundews are; Peat moss, also called milled sphagnum peat moss. You will need to rinse your Peat Moss, Some brands of peat are lower quality than others.Premier peat moss tends to develop algae and mold. Because of this, make sure you rinse the peat moss before using it to avoid these problems.
Try not to inhale peat dust- repeated exposure can cause some people to develop sporotrichosis from fungal spores found in peat. Avoid handling peat if you have cuts on your hands, due to the same reasons as above (wear gloves).
Long-Fiber Sphagnum Moss
Many Sundews can be grown in pure long-fibered sphagnum moss, depending on your climate and growing area, and is a great substitute for peat.
I use Better Grow Orchid moss. Another common brand is Mosser Lee.
It is much faster and cleaner to plant or repot Sundews with LFS than with a peat:sand mix, and LFS is usually quite clean compared to peat.You should still rinse LFS several times with hot water to reduce algae and mold for lower quality brands. Moss can be Purchased Here
Silica sand- can be found at pool supply stores (pool filter sand), or at Home Depot (sandblasting sand). I prefer pool filter sand, since it is normally comes pre-washed. A larger grade is recommended- around #20 (about .50 mm).
Silica sand has worked best for me, since it is generally purer than play sand and it is great for loosening up the soil of your sundew pots, and allowing the soil to drain well. Make sure to rinse the sand to avoid salt and mineral buildup (even if it comes pre-rinsed).
Do not inhale silica dust when handling the sand. It can cause a lung condition known as silicosis from repeated exposure (but is usually ok in small doses).
Pots- use plastic or glazed pots. Species that have long roots should be given 4+-inch pots for best results. 6 is a safe bet for most adult South African sundews. 3-inch plastic cups also work very well for most of the easier sundew species. Frugal growers sometimes use yogurt cups or other old containers.
Clay pots can be used, but may eventually release minerals that can kill your plants over time. But if you want to use clay pots, occasionally top-water your carnivorous plants as much as possible, which will flush out the minerals that build up at the surface of the soi. If you grow them outdoors, the rain will take care of this for you.
Food for your Sundews- if you want your Sundew seeds or plants to grow as fast as possible, you will want to feed them often. You can use Beta Bites (fish food pellets), freeze-dried bloodworms, or live insects, such as wingless or flightless fruit flies.
To prepare your growing medium a 1:1 mix of peat moss to silica sand seems to work extremely well for most Sundews. However, pure LFS or a rough mix of 5:1 long-fiber sphagnum to silica sand has worked equally well for many Sundews.
One of the easiest methods for keeping the soil of your Sundews wet, (indoors our outdoors) is by using a tray, take the pot that your carnivorous plant is in, and place it over a tray that you have filled with water. Once the tray dries out in a few days, you refill the tray again.You can also top-water your plants, but this can become time-consuming if you have a large collection. Buy Food Here
Now it is time to spread the seeds. Make sure if you spread many seeds on the surface in the same container to space them out as much as possible.
- Water the plant with a little rain/distilled/reverse-osmosis water (about one or half an inch/2.5 to 1.5cm), via the tray method, to avoid disturbing the small seedlings.
- Check the plant every single day because Drosera can be sensitive plants.
Sundews generally germinate in 1 to 6 weeks and many species of Sundew take less than one year to reach maturity, this is much faster than the Venus Flytrap which can take 5 to 7 years to reach its mature size. They need full to partial light or bright indoor light, some even use artificial growing lights, this all depends on the lighting you can provide. Keep in mind that in the fall and winter months they are much more likely to need indoor growing lights.
Feed the plant once every two weeks. If your plant is indoors, you’ll need to hand feed it. Feed it some dead insects or live insects, such as an ant. Feed the plant only fresh bugs.
- The sundew is not able to digest meat, so do not feed it any.
- Do not feed the plant an insect that is bigger than the plant’s tentacle, or it could escape (and you’ll have to catch it) or it will simply be too large for the plant to digest.
- Don’t overfeed the plant if it is living in a high humidity environment. Doing so might promote mold growth, killing the leaves.
- If you place the plant outside, it will most likely feed itself, hence feeding is not required.
Watering your Sundew – A Sundew’s roots are often weakly developed and most water is taken in through the leaves. Therefore, spray the plant with an inch or two of mineral-free or distilled water once every week. Remember not to spray too much or drown the plant. Too much moisture or water will rot the roots.
- Do not use any other type of water (such as tap water), as there may be excess minerals which build up and may kill the plant. If you do over-water the plant, invert the pot and plant while pressing down on the soil to squeeze out the extra water.
After reading this I hope you grow happy and healthy Sundews!
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