What is Sundew Plant?
Drosera, normally known as sundew, is one of the largest types of cumulative plants, with at least 194 species. These members of the Droseraceae family attract, catch, and digest insects using chased mucilaginous glands that cover the surface of their leaves. Insects are used to complement the poor mineral nutrition of the soil in which plants grow. Sundew found in most of the United States, except for some parts of the southwest. They prefer swamp habitats and nitrogen-free soils.
Sundews are “flying paper” plants that trap prey in sticky hair on their leaves. They are one of the largest groups of cumulative plants. The tentacles protrude from its leaves, each with a sticky gland on the tip. These droplets look like dew shining in the sun, hence their name. The glands produce nectar for prey, a powerful adhesive to trap it and enzymes to digest it. Once an insect gets caught, nearby tentacles rotate around the insects and extinguish it. Sundews can reach heights of up to 10 inches (25 centimeters). However, some species are tall and vine-like, while other species embrace the soil, making their sizes vary.
Scientific Classification of Sundew Plant
Scientific name: Drosera
Higher classification: Droseraceae
How to grow the Sundew Plant?
Carnivorous Sundew plants require warm temperatures and humid conditions. Outdoor plants work well when planted near water features or even in soggy soils. When the sundews grow outdoors, return completely to the soil and mix with the sphagnum moss to increase the acidity. Complete sun situations are more suitable for the plant, but you can also grow them in dappled light.
Sundews cannot be grown in ordinary potting soil! The higher nitrogen content in potting soil will quickly kill your plant. Peat moss or long-fiber sphagnum should be used.
Steps to grow Sundew plants
- Select plastic or ceramic pot of 8 by 8 cm for indoor germination and keep the pot on the small tray. Block the draining holes of the pot with a square piece of cloth to keep the damp soil from draining on the water tray.
- Plants normally grow/germinate in late fall and early spring. So start germination in early spring and late fall.
- Mix 1:1 ratio of sand and peat moss to make equal parts of potting soil. Avoid uses of any compost or fertilizer in your soil mix.
- Sprinkle the seeds all over the soil (Don’t bury the seeds) and use a spray bottle to mist the seeds with mineral-free distilled water to damp the top layer of soil.
- If you are planting cold temperate species of sundew plant, then put the seeds in the visible bag with peat and leave that bag in the refrigerator for four weeks. After that, you can transfer the seeds in the potting soil.
- Always use distilled water to moist the soil and keep the room temperature about 70-80°F (20-25°C)
- Keep the pot in direct sunlight for four weeks, and the plant will finally germinate.
How to Care Sundew Plants
Keep in partial sunlight (some hours of direct sunlight). Avoid the full shade. Direct sun can burn them, but with determination, the more intense species like Drosera Capensis can be adapted to more extreme heat and direct sun for some seasons.
Water and humidity
All sundew need mineral-free water. If tap water is relatively pure (less than 50 parts per million in dissolved minerals), you can safely water the sun. Otherwise, distilled bottled water can be used. Always keep the soil wet. You can do this by organizing the plant in small quantities of standing water, up to half the pot.
Use a mixture of earth consisting of 1 part of peat moss and 1 part of perlite. Don’t use potting soil, compost, or fertilizer; they will kill your plant.
Sundews do an excellent job of attracting and catching prey. Let them get their food, don’t need any fertilizer.
You can remove dead leaves by cutting them with clippers. But this is not compulsory unless there are parasites. Also, transplant the plant into new containers (larger size if the plant has grown) or wash the old container with soap and reuse it.
The Sundew plants are easily propagated by cuttings of leaves, roots, divisions, and seeds. Disfigured sunflowers will often grow a new plant from the roots, while the roots of the isolated plant will grow. The seeds are slow and require light and constant conditions. Some species require stratification (cold and wet winter). Fabric culture works well for clones.
Pests and treatment
Aphids or fungi are the main parasites for attacking sundew plants. For aphids, use insecticides (only on affected leaves). For mushrooms, use the fungicide and for mites – miticides. Try using natural organic gardening sprays and avoid using insecticidal soap concentrated on the sun.