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Sundews make a fine addition to any garden, but there is no reason you cannot grow one indoors. If you do not have a garden or just want a sundew in your home, the set up is straightforward. Even a new plant grower can do it by following these simple tips.
If your sundews is indoors, you can place inside a terrarium or on a sunny windowsill. For the best results, use 1:1 peat moss and perlite for the soil and sit the plant in water.
How Much Sunlight Do Sundews Need?
Direct and indirect light is fine for most sundews as long as the temperature does not exceed 100 F. Sundews can grow in a terrarium provided it is fed and has access to light and water. The Urban Born Glass Terrarium is a nice option for virtually any drosera.
Sundews require at least 6 hours of light to thrive, and 8 to 12 hours is much better. The plant benefits from direct and indirect sunlight, but if it gets too hot you should move the plant under shade.
While sundews benefit from light, too much heat can burn its leaves and dry the dew. Sundew prefer high humidity so keep that in mind. Touch the leaf and if it is hot, your sundew is at risk of sunburn.
It is hard to emphasize how important sunlight is. While outdoor sundews do get plenty of natural light, indoor sundews can still benefit from it. If you are going to buy a sundew, make sure you have a windowsill ready for the plant.
Without the right amount of light sundews will die. Natural sunlight is the most commonly used but fluorescent and other forms of fixtures are also acceptable. We particularly like Aspect Luxury LED Grow Lights because they last long and sundews respond well to them.
What Humidity is Best For Sundews?
Most sundews need light but prefer high humidity and 45-85 F temperatures. While some sundews can withstand higher temperatures, consider using a humidifier during these occasions.
A 40-60% humidity rate is perfect for sundews. Anywhere in this range combined with adequate light is going to make a huge difference. Again there might be slight variations depending on the sundew species you have, but for most this is just right.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, place your sundew on a south facing windowsill. This is going to provide maximum sunlight exposure. If you live in the southern hemisphere, place the plant on a north facing window.
What Soil and Container Should be Used?
Sundews grow in bogs and other places where the soil is wet and lacks nutrients. This is why they catch insects, to get nutrients that is absent from the ground. For home grown sundews, you also have to use nutrition poor soil.
The best soil mix for sundews is 1:1 perlite and peat moss. You can also use 1:1 silica sand and long sphagnum. Tuberous sundews will benefit from mixing perlite and silica sand, but for most drosera species, peat moss and perlite is fine.
The best containers for large sundews is 10 inches, and for small sundews 4 inches. Cheap plastic containers are suitable. Make sure the container has holes especially if humidity is low. Fertilizing the soil is not recommended.
If you are buying soil, avoid those labeled as rich or fertilized. Those are fatal to sundews and could cause root rot and other potentially fatal diseases If you bought a potted sundew, check what type of soil was used. If you got it from a reputable vendor there is nothing to worry about. But it is better to be safe and make certain the soil is actually suitable for the plant.
Whether sundews are indoors or outdoors, you should always keep the soil wet. Dry soil will kill the plant sooner than later.
This goes back to how sundews grow. In the wild they thrive in fens, bogs and similar locations. Wet soil, damp atmosphere with the right amount of light. That is what you need to emulate when growing these plants at home.
This is another reason why humidity is crucial. Low humidity combined with heat could dry the soil quickly. Some sundews can adapt to harsh environments, but you should do everything possible to keep the soil moist constantly.
How Often Should I Water Sundews?
Sundews need more water than the average plant. The water goes into the roots and is essential for outdoor and indoor plants to survive.
Sitting sundews in water is the best option. Get a tray and fill it with an inch or two of water and place your potted sundew in it. For details you can check this guide sitting sundews in water.
You can water sundews from the top like regular plants. But sundews prefer to sit in water as here the plant is constantly exposed to it, which improves humidity. There is nothing wrong with watering from the top, but it does need more work on your part.
The hotter the temperature, the faster sundews soak up water. If humidity is low as well, you can increase the water level to two inches.
With cooler temperatures the water should last longer. Once you start using the tray method you will get an idea of how much your sundew requires.
Remember the goal here is to keep the soil always wet, so refill with water before the tray goes dry. You should also remove the water if it has been standing there for a few days. Stagnant water can attract bacteria so clean the tray regularly.
Use only rainwater, distilled, purified or reverse osmosis water. Tap water is convenient but contaminants in the water could harm sundews. Distilled water is affordable and is the most widely used. If it rains regularly in your area, collecting rainwater is another option.
How Often Should Sundews Eat?
Indoor sundews should be fed once a week. Flies, gnats, spiders, mosquitoes and other small insects are good sources of nutrition. Alternatively you may feed them beta fish pellets or freeze dried mealworms.
Young sundews will grow faster when they eat a lot. As the plant grows older, feeding can be reduced to twice a month though four times is still ideal.
If your sundew is on an open windowsill, there is probably no need to feed it. Chances are the plant catches insects on its own. Assume that the plant eats four times a month and takes a week to digest a bug. That means at least one of its tentacles must always be wrapped around a prey.
If your sundew always has one of its tentacles closed, it is getting enough food. There is no need to give any more.
But if the sundew looks weak and not eating, you have to feed it. Live or dead insects will be fine as well as fish pellets, fish flakes and mealworms.
Just drop the food into the sticky stuff and the plant will eat. Be patient as some sundews take a while to close over a prey. After some time, the tentacles will eat the food.
While we all want to see sundews grow fast and large, resist the urge to overfeed. Stick with the once a week frequency and your sundew will be fine.
The larger the sundew the more food it can digest. For younger, smaller sundews, give only small insects. Cut the food into small pieces to make digestion easier. You can also add a drop of water to soften it up.
Be careful when you drop food into the sundew. If those bits fall into the soil, these leftovers could enrich the ground and cause problems. If some bits drop into the soil, water from the top to remove them.
If you made it this far, you now know that sundews can grow indoors. It all comes down to how you care for the plant. The most important thing is to prepare and know what needs to be done before you buy a sundew. That makes things much easier.
My fascination with carnivorous plants began many, many years ago with Venus Fly Traps. Now I am more than happy to impart what I know with other enthusiasts and those who are curious about meat eating plants.