How to Grow Sundews

Overview

Sundew may seem like a dainty name for a plant that survives by trapping and eating small, unsuspecting insects, but the name is appropriate because of the tiny droplets of shiny, sticky goo that gather on the tips of the plant's tentacles. When insects land on the inviting substance, they will be stuck like glue, and the plant will close around the insect, eventually dissolving the insect with digestive enzymes. While sundew, or Drosera, isn't difficult to grow, the plant has different requirements than non-carnivorous plants.

Step 1

Plant sundew in a plastic or glazed ceramic pot with a drainage hole in the bottom. Plastic or glazed ceramic will help to keep the planting medium damp longer than clay pots, which are porous. Fill the pot with a mixture of half peat moss and half sand.

Step 2

Place the pot in a shallow bowl with an inch of water and replenish the water as needed. Remove the pot from the water from December to the end of March, but keep the potting medium damp at all times. Water sundew with rainwater or distilled water. Avoid using tap water, as the salts and minerals can damage the plant.

Step 3

Place the pot in a sunny windowsill where the plant will be exposed to bright sunlight. Put the pot under a grow light if available light is low.

Step 4

Use a pair of tweezers to place a small insect on one of the sundew's tentacles if the sundew isn't catching its own food. Feed the plant sparingly, no more than once or twice every two weeks.

Step 5

Place the sundew outside during warm weather. The plant will benefit from sunlight and fresh air and from catching its own food. Bring the plant indoors before temperatures drop to 40 degrees F.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't fertilize your sundew. Never feed the plant hamburger or any other meat, which can be harmful to the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic or glazed ceramic pot with drainage hole
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Shallow bowl
  • Distilled water or rainwater

References

  • University of Utah: Carniverous Plants
  • Easy Carnivores: Growing Drosera or Sundew
  • Carnivorous Plants: Caring for Carnivorous Plants
Keywords: grow sundews, grow carnivorous plants, grow drosera

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.