There are 630 species of carnivorous plants and almost 200 species of Drosera, commonly nicknamed “sundew.” Carnivorous plants grow natively in bogs lacking nitrogen. To get the nutrition needed to grow and thrive, carnivorous plants evolved to catch insects. (This does not mean you should feed your carnivorous plants. Details in the care slideshow.) The leaves of sundew are tentacles (trichomes) that secrete a sticky “dew” to attract and catch prey. The dew also contains enzymes that aid in digestion. Once a leaf traps prey, the insects movements trigger the leaf to curl up, introducing more dew and enzymes. Eventually, the plant absorbs all the nutrients in the insect leaving only the external skeleton.
If you are looking to own a carnivorous plant, Green Lady Gardens recommends sundew as your first. We believe they are the easiest and most beginner-friendly species of carnivorous plants to care for. We also believe they are the most efficient at catching fungus gnats!
Most Sundew species require 6+ hours of direct sun from a W or S window. E may be ok. (Depends on building floor.) Acclimate when moving to more intense light. Low light = Won't produce "dew" that catches insects.
Do not use. Will severely damage or kill sundew.
Use a plastic nursery pot or pot with drainage hole. Place pot in a tray filled with water to keep potting medium damp. Use a low mineral water. If you have hard water, use collected rainwater or distilled, reverse osmosis, or de-ionized water. Overwatering is almost impossible.
Potting medium must be nutrient/fertilizer free & retain moisture. Carnivorous mediums typically contain combos of peat moss, perlite, long fibered sphagnum moss, and/or sand.
4:1 fertilizer free peat moss & perlite
3:1 long-fibered sphagnum moss & silica sand.
3:1 long-fibered sphagnum moss & perlite.
70 - 90°F is ideal. Cooler temps = Stunted growth. Will die when exposed to temps below 20°F for an extended amount of time.
Not necessary (unless cold hardy). Temps below 35°F = dormancy/dieback. Regrows when temps hit 65/70°F.
Not necessary & often detrimental. Carnivorous plants need insects for nutrition they can't get from their growing medium but will survive without insects. Overfeeding (followed by plant death) is easy, especially for plants without proper light, heat, & humidity. GLG does not suggest purposeful insect feeding. (There are more insects in your house than you think!)
50- 75%. Low humidity = Won't produce "dew" that catches insects. Misting is not humidity & is harmful. The dew is a special compound, not water. Misting Sundew is like misting your eyes instead of using eye drops.