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Sundew, Drosera ssp.

Sundew DroseraIntroduction: Carnivorous plants have captured the attention and imagination of many people due to the fact that they consume insects. Aside from the diet, some species of Drosera are in a very small group of plants that are capable of rapid movements. Other plants that have this capability are Dionea, Bladderworts and Mimosa; with Dionea and Bladderworts curiously being carnivorous as well.

Drosera are found throughout the world. They can be found in most temperate to tropical climates. Most occupy swamps and bogs, but some are at home in mountain climates as well.

Insects are lured to the plant by a sticky substance that looks like nectar. Upon the trapping of the insect; Drosera begin to release a number of enzymes that will reduce the insect to chitin (a biodegradable by-product) within 5-10 days.

Light: Drosera should receive at least 5-6 hours of full sun and 12-14 hours of light. Exposure to full sun allows the plant to produce large strong stems, leaves and traps. Inadequate light will produce spindly, weak plants.

Water: The substrate should always be wet. Never allow the substrate to dry out. You can place your plants' container in a flat tray with a water level being no less than 1 inch during the growing season. Rain water or filtered water should be used. Chemicals in tap water will burn the roots of the plant.

Soil: Potting soil should never be used with carnivorous plants. We recommend plain sphagnum peat moss. Or, a 3-to-1 mixture of peat moss and sand/perlite. Using potting soil will not allow the plants' roots to receive the proper oxygen that they need. Most potting soil is also enriched with nutrients that will kill carnivorous plants.

Fertilizer/Food: It is strongly recommended that you do not fertilize ANY carnivorous plant. Healthy plants will catch all the nutrients they need. To assure that your Drosera are receiving good nutrients, you may offer them small insects periodically such as fruit flies, ants and other small field plankton. If live food is not an option, we suggest dehydrated insects such as flies or crickets.

Temperature/Winter Care: During the growing season, Drosera may be exposed to temperatures in the low to mid 80s. Humidity should be 40-60%, but brief periods above or below will be tolerated. We recommend that Drosera have a dormancy period of 3-4 months during cool to cold temperatures (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit). This will allow the plant to rest while a food supply is low and assure they do well the next growing season.

Terrarium Suitability: Drosera will fare best as an outdoor plant..