Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sundew Care Guide

Sundew Care Guide

Sundews are the ideal windowsill plant. Putting them in a place that receives a lot of sun is fine, but in the wild, sundews grow among grass and larger plants, so they don’t mind being in the shade for part of the day, as long as they get a couple of hours of sunlight. They can be grown outdoors, provided the climate is warm enough, but it’s usually best to bring them indoors during winter.

Do NOT use tap water, use  rainwater
Tap water contains chemicals which will harm the plant. You can use distilled water, reverse osmosis water, but the best water to use is rain water. Stand the pot in 1 - 2 cm of rain water, but during the winter months, its best to just keep them damp (such as using a mist spray) rather than fill the tray up with water.

The leaves of a sundew are littered with tentacles which have what looks like a dew type substance on the end of them. Insects are attracted to them by the sweet mucilage and when they land on one of these tentacles, they get stuck! 

The tentacles near to the prey all lean towards the prey to prevent it from escaping and bring it towards the leaf of the plant for it to get digested. In the case of some plants, such as the Drosera Capensis, this can all happen within a few minutes. In the case of a Capensis, the leaf itself will sometimes actually curl over the insect to make sure it’s well and truly trapped.

Sundews most commonly eat small insects such as gnats and small houseflies. If you see a small fly going around the house, when it lands, you can use the sundew to catch it (feeding time!). Just be sure not to overwhelm the leaf with too many insects. Depending on their size, only a few insects are more than enough per leaf. Though like the flytrap, they are good at catching insects on their own.  

Winter dormancy
Winter dormancy for a sundew typically takes place from late October to February. During dormancy, the plants leaves will lose their stickiness and die back and so it is important to prune them. If your sundew is outside, bring it inside, preferably somewhere where it still gets daylight but feels cooler (such as a conservatory).

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