In the realm of carnivorous plants, the Sundew (Drosera species) stands out with its glistening, dew-covered tentacles ready to ensnare unsuspecting prey. Not only are they captivating to watch as they capture and consume their meals, but they are also a stunning addition to any plant collection with their sparkly, tentacle-covered leaves and beautiful flowers. In this guide, we will unravel the mysteries of growing and caring for these incredible plants.
Why Grow Sundews?
- Natural Pest Control: They are nature's little pest controllers, catching small insects such as gnats and mosquitoes.
- Aesthetic Appeal: Their unique appearance adds an exotic touch to terrariums, greenhouses, and gardens.
- Conversation Starter: Sundews often become the center of attention and a topic of intrigue for visitors.
Choosing the Right Sundew Species
There are over 200 species of Sundews, each with its own unique look and growing requirements. Some popular choices for beginners include:
- Drosera capensis (Cape Sundew)
- Drosera intermedia (Spoon-leaved Sundew)
- Drosera rotundifolia (Round-leaved Sundew)
Perfecting the Soil Mix:
Sundews thrive in nutrient-poor, acidic soil. A mix of peat moss and perlite or sand in a 1:1 ratio is good, but we've used pure peat, Sphagnum, even pure perlite. Just ensure that the soil mix is constantly moist but not waterlogged and place your sundew to rest just on top of the substrate.
Provide sundews with plenty of light, ideally 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. They can also thrive under artificial lighting when growing indoors.
Sundews require pure water. Use distilled, reverse osmosis, or rainwater only. Ensure the soil remains damp. A tray method, where the pot sits in a shallow tray of water, works best for these thirsty plants.
Feeding Your Sundew:
If your sundew is indoors and doesn't catch enough insects, you can feed them small insects like fruit flies. However, this is seldom necessary and overfeeding as this can harm the plant.
Temperature and Humidity:
While specific needs can vary based on the species, most sundews enjoy high humidity and temperatures between 70°F to 80°F during the day and slightly cooler nights.
Repotting and Propagation:
Sundews grow slowly, so repotting isn't frequently required. They can be propagated through seeds, leaf cuttings, or by dividing larger clumps.
Some sundew species undergo a winter dormancy. During this period, reduce the water and allow them to rest. Keeping them in an unheated garage or storage shed may be an option. If you have only a few small plants, storing them in the refrigerator will do the trick. In any case, monitor the plants from time to time and apply a spray fungicide if you detect mold or fungus.
Growing Sundews can be a rewarding experience as you watch these carnivorous wonders in action. With the right care and a bit of patience, you'll be able to nurture these fascinating plants to their full potential.
Did you know that Sundews derive their name from the appearance of their sticky droplets, which glisten like morning dew in the sun?