Sundews

Drosera

Carnivorous Plants

Meet the Sundew Plant!

Sundews (Drosera) or Octopus plants are one of the most prolific of carnivorous plant species – there are nearly 200 varieties that are native to every continent except Antarctica. One of the most famous, the Cape sundew, comes from our very own South Africa!

The sundew plant gets its name from its long, tentacle-like leaves covered in sticky droplets that glisten in the sun like drops of dew.

The contact of even the tiniest gnat is sufficient to trigger this reflexive response which, depending on the species, can take less than a second or up to a few hours. Once its victim is securely trapped in its tentacles, the hungry sundew releases enzymes that break down the insect’s exoskeleton so that its nutrients can be absorbed by the plant.

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Carnivorous Plants

Sundew Plant Characteristics

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Its shimmering colours make it one of the prettiest of carnivorous plants. You would never suspect that the innocent looking sundew is capable of laying a trap combines the sneakiness of a spider’s web with the death grip of a python.

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The plant’s tentacles are coated in mucilage, a gluey sap that sticks to insects unlucky enough to be attracted to the sweet-smelling drops.

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Once caught, the tentacles curl inwards, trapping the insect in its lethal grasp. Talk about a sticky situation!

Sundews (Drosera)

Interesting Facts

Mosquitos are a favourite snack of sundews – the perfect revenge for all those times they bite us in the summer. But they have also been known to feed on ants, aphids, gnats and small bees. As with the pitcher plant, the larger the species of sundew, the bigger the prey it can target. Though sundews are found around the world, different species can vary widely. Some have rounder, rosette-like leaves that grow close to the ground, while others have longer octopus-like tentacles that grow more upright.

Carnivorous Plants

Caring for The Sundew Plant

Been bitten by the Sundew bug? Never fear. We’ve got you covered when it comes to taking care of this charming little plant.

  • Potting: Sundews grow well in smaller pots, so pick one that’s a little bigger than your plant. It should have good drainage, and be made of plastic, glass or glazed ceramic, as clay or terracotta pots can leach minerals that are harmful to carnivorous plants.
  • Soil: Be sure to only use carnivorous plant potting medium to pot your Sundew. It is free of minerals and nutrients, and provides the good drainage necessary for carnivorous plants to thrive.
  • Sunlight: As proud South Africans, Sundews thrive in the local climate. During spring and winter, place them in a sunny spot that ideally gets a minimum 6 hours sunlight a day.
  • Watering: Sundews love water! During the growing season (spring and summer) make sure the soil is kept constantly wet. Water-logging is not a concern, so you can keep the pot sitting in a tray with a few centimetres of water, and water from the bottom. Make sure to use distilled or rainwater instead of tap water, which contains harmful minerals.
  • Feeding: Left outside, the Sundew will happily curl its tentacles around unsuspecting prey. If yours is an indoor plant (or just for fun) you can feed small ants or other live insects to your plant by carefully dropping them onto the leaf with a pair of tweezers. Be careful not to feed it very large bugs, and only feed it where you see beads of sticky gel on the tentacles. Sundews prefer live insects, but you can feed them dried flies or bloodworms (available at pet shops). One insect, once a week is enough to keep this little plant fed.

Testimonials

“My kids just love their ‘Hungry Plants’! We’ve collected the whole set and it brings them endless pleasure inspecting their plants everyday to see if they’ve caught some prey.”

Celeste F.

“Fantastic customer service! Seamless order experience, my order was delivered ahead of schedule, plants were well packaged and in great condition. Highly recommend Hungry Plants!”

Ulrich P.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Carnivorous Plants Need Fertilizer?

Carnivorous plants generally don’t need to be fertilised as they obtain these nutrients from their prey.

What's the best spot to put my plant?

A sunny windowsill or outside in the sun will keep your carnivorous plant super happy & healthy.

How Often Should I Water My Plant?

Carnivorous plants love water and should not be left to dry out, check the soil, it should be moist but not wet before watering again. Carnivorous plants can be sensitive to minerals in tap water, so they prefer distilled or rainwater

Do Carnivorous Plants Need Fertilizer?

Carnivorous plants generally don’t need to be fertilised as they obtain these nutrients from their prey.

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