Resembling a celestial image from the Hubble telescope of a faraway galaxy, the sundew is part of a magical group of carnivorous plants. Drosera, the sundew genus, is native to the United States in limited areas, but it can be grown as an indoor plant provided special conditions are met. Enjoy the sundew by educating yourself about the specific habitat and care requirements of its various species.
Drosera species are hairy leaf structures that look like they've been dipped in honey. These droplet-covered fronds glimmer in sunshine, inspiring the name, and also draw unsuspecting insects to land and become caught in the goo. Once an insect is trapped, the plant begins digestion through enzymes in the wet coating. Sundew plants grow to several inches in height with small, oval- or round-shaped heads at the top. Distinctive in appearance, these carnivores are not easily confused with anything else.
In the United States, Drosera species make an indigenous appearance in mores states than you might imagine. Oregon, California and Montana represent the Western locations for sundews in the wild. North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas cover the Southern locations. In the East, the Drosera species appear up north in Vermont and New Jersey and south to Florida.
Drosera sundews thrive where temperatures remain mild. Outdoors, a rainy winter and summer heat without moisture is ideal. According to Barry Rice, a horticulturist with the International Carnivorous Plant Society, if you avoid freezing temperatures and provide an environment with adequate light and moisture, outdoor sundews should thrive. Indoor plants will fare best in warm, year-round temperatures.
Even, consistent moisture is a habitat requirement for Drosera species as a general rule. When planted outdoors, be sure that soil is a well-draining mixture of peat moss and sand, and keep it moist without puddling or becoming soggy. Indoor plants should be watered until excess drains to the tray underneath. Discard the excess tray water and water again when the surface feels evenly dry.
Sundews must have full sun indoors or out. Indoor Drosera may grow in a closed terrarium, in warm temperatures, but avoid direct sunlight that might burn the leaves of the plant.