Did you know that there are carnivorous plants just like animals? You may have heard of the Venus flytrap, one of the most well-known carnivorous plants in the world – but have you heard of its cousin, the sundew?
While the Venus flytrap puts on an action-packed show, snapping closed dramatically when it traps insects, the sundew employs more subtle tactics.
It quietly produces sap that lures smaller insects in for a taste and ensnares them more passively, and without as much pomp.
But, why does it do that?
You’re in the right place to find answers to that question, and to learn all about how to propagate, grow, and care for this amazing plant indoors.
What is Sundew?
Sundew species are less threatened in the wild than the Venus flytrap, which is the most well-known. They also have a significantly broader range, with different species blooming on practically every continent on the planet.
Except in the southwestern part of the country, where the environment is desert, they can be found in the wild across the United States.
Most perennial plants may flourish in any wetland where winter temperatures are below 50°F, as they require three to four months of freezing temperatures to become dormant in the winter.
Sundews in Australia, on the other hand, reverse this and go dormant in the summer due to the severe environment. D. erythrogyne, an Australian species, is one of the largest summer-dormant species and a climber, reaching a maximum length of two feet.
Hundreds of trichomes can cover each leaf, or they can only be found on one side of the leaves, as in the Cape sundew, D. capensis.
Foraging insects are attracted to the secretions, which appear as dewdrops on the leaves – hence the name – and attempt to settle to feed on them. They are caught in the material rather than nipping the honey and continuing on their journey.
- Carnivorous sundew plants are good for managing gnats and other small insects, whether grown indoors or outdoors.
- Sundew plants do well in a mixture of sphagnum moss and vermiculite or perlite as potted plants.
- The pot must be maintained moist at all times, and a humid environment is ideal for optimal growth.
- Warm temperatures and moist conditions are required for carnivorous sundew plants to thrive.
- When planted near a water feature or even in moist soil, outdoor plants thrive.
- To boost the acidity of the soil when growing sundews outside, totally till it and mix it with sphagnum moss. The plant thrives in full sun, although it can also be grown in partial light.
How to Care for a Sundew
Potted plants don’t need fertilizer, but they do need distilled or rainwater because they can’t tolerate excessive mineral levels.
Humidity should be between 40% and 60%. Setting a saucer filled with small pebbles beneath the plant and filling it with water is a simple way to accomplish this.
The evaporation will assist in moistening the surrounding air. Remove any wasted stems or leaves as soon as they appear. When they outgrow their pots, transplant them.
Some perennial sundew species in temperate climates will fall dormant throughout the winter, as I described.
They can either die back to the roots or develop a hibernaculum, which is a bud from which new growth will emerge once the dormant period is through.
When you notice seasonal die-off, move dormant plants to a cooler zone so they can relax and store energy for the upcoming growing season.
Allowing dormant plants to freeze or allowing the soil to dry out is not a good idea, and keeping them shielded from temperatures below 32°F is also a good idea. These are fantastic possibilities if you have a cold nook in your garage or a location in the back of your refrigerator where the plant may overwinter in temps of 35 to 50°F.
Allow two to three months for the plant to adjust to the cooler environment before relocating it to a warmer spot for a few hours every day. You can return it to its normal growing environment after three to five days of exposure to warmer temps.
Which Containers Should You Use For Growing Sundews?
Choose plastic containers with holes on the bottom for growing sundews. Sundews that thrive in humid environments can thrive in plastic or glass containers without holes. Keep them in a humid, wet environment.
For small sundews, a pot size of 4 inches is ideal, and for larger ones, a pot size of 7-10 inches is ideal.
How Do You Propagate Sundews?
Cuttings of leaves
Leaf cuttings are the greatest approach to propagate sundews. Snip a few leaves from the main stem and soak them for 2-2.5 months in demineralized or other mineral-free water. Then, using leaf cuttings, gradually lower the water level in the container.
Finally, place the cutting in a tiny 3-4-inch pot filled with a carnivorous plant soil mix (perlite and sphagnum moss). There is only one cutting per container.
What To Feed Sundews
Sundew feeding may be a lot of fun. If your temperature is suitable for the sundew plant, you can leave it outside and it will self-feed for the most part. Sundews are attractive plants that attract their own prey.
If you keep it indoors you can feed it insects or other foods. Houseflies, ants, spiders, gnats, moths, and fruit flies are examples.
If you can’t find any live insects, freeze dried insects such as fly larvae can be purchased. Make the meal softer by moistening it, and avoid feeding your sundews insects that are difficult to digest, such as crickets or grasshoppers.
What Are The Different Kinds Of Sundews?
- Pygmy sundews are a type of sundew found in Australia. They’ve adapted to Australia’s sweltering summers by covering themselves in hair and going dormant during the summer.
- Tuberous sundews are a type of sundew native to Australia. They go dormant in the summer to avoid the heat.
- Sundews that grow in temperate climates such as Europe and North America are known as temperate sundews. Because most of them have cold winters, they go dormant throughout these months.
The sundew is the houseplant for you if you want something that does more than just look good. While it certainly attracts attention, it also thrills with activities that never cease to astonish.
Of course, some maintenance and caretaking will be required. But, as you’ve seen, it’s all about understanding your plants’ requirements.
Do you intend to cultivate your sundew in a container or terrarium? Please let us know in the comments section below! We’d be pleased to assist you if you have any questions.