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We know that sundews need water to survive, but what if it is raining hard? Is it okay to just leave your plant there and let it get drenched? Or should you take it indoors and provide shelter? Before the next downpour, knowing how these plants react to rain is necessary.
Rain is good for sundews because it removes soil mineral buildup and cleanses the leaves of any insect remains. Compact the soil with silica instead of perlite if you expect constant, heavy rain.
Why Sundews Need Rain
Sundews are nothing like your typical houseplant, but they do share the need for water. And there are few better sources than rainwater. Water is essential for sundews and the many functions that they perform daily.
Sundews benefit from natural water, that is water without impurities. This is why you should never use tap water as it contains potentially harmful minerals. Of course rainwater will not always be available so you should go for other options like Smartwater which is fresh, natural and suited for carnivorous plants.
Washes Insects Away
Sundews eat as much of their prey as possible, but sometimes there will be leftovers. Rain will wash these away and keep the leaves and tentacles clean.
Carnivorous plants like sundews and Venus flytraps use enzymes to break down and dissolve prey. This works fine in most cases. But some insects have hard shells which the enzymes cannot melt.
In these instances the plant will simply ignore those and eat the dissolved parts only. This is where rainwater comes in as it will get rid of the remains .Rain not only washes away insect bits but also pebbles and other debris that fall into the plant.
If your sundews are outdoors, you can count on the rain to wash its leaves or the wind to blow bugs away. You have to remove those remains if your sundews are indoors as the rot will cause a stench.
Removes Soil Mineral Buildup
Outdoor sundews are exposed to all kinds of weather and elements that could change soil composition. Mineral buildup in the soil could be fatal, and while dying sundews can recover, it is a difficult process.
Rainwater gets rid of minerals that may have accumulated in the soil. Everything from leftover insects, debris etc. will be washed out. Sundews can only grow in poor soil and with enough rain, the minerals and other elements will be displaced.
If your sundew is indoors, water it from the top every few weeks. Do this even if you use the tray method. Think of this as the equivalent of rainwater washing away impurities in the soil.
Light, humidity, water and soil are all needed by sundews. One of the most common mistakes new drosera growers make is using regular potting soil. That is fatal to sundews. Use only poor soil and allow the plant to obtain nutrients from prey.
The advantage of leaving your sundew in the rain is obvious. Let nature clean your sundews and you do not have to worry about mineral buildup.
Sundews need water for photosynthesis. With limited light and water, sundew tentacles lose their red color and turn completely green.
Carnivorous plants consume insects for nutrition, not food. Their main source of fuel is glucose, which is produced through photosynthesis. This is only possible with light and water, be it from rain or other sources.
Strictly speaking, plants do not eat food, not the way animals do. Glucose is used as fuel to keep the plant going. Sundews do not digest glucose like carnivorous animals, but their purpose is similar to food in terms of providing energy.
Rainwater is good for sundews because it allows nutrients to be fully absorbed. Lack of water weakens and will eventually kill these plants.
Non-carnivorous plants use water to move nutrients in the soil to the leaves. Sundews grow in nutrition poor media, Bbut they still require water to move the nutrients absorbed from insects.
Sundews soak in rainwater and use it to move nutrients into its leaves, a process known as transpiration. Nutrients enhance their immune system and allow the plant to produce more dew, the sticky stuff that traps prey.
Rainwater literally helps sundews get more nutrients. The combination of water, light, humidity and soil make it possible for these plants to absorb more nutrients and stay healthy.
Can Heavy Rain Harm Sundews?
Most sundews can cope with continuous rain. Drosera species that grow in the wild are subject to all kinds of heavy downpour but they are fine. These plants can deal with lots of water and often thrive in it.
One possible problem with heavy rain is the soil might loosen and topple the plant. To prevent this, use silica sand instead of perlite. If your home is exposed to torrential rain, pack the soil more tightly than normal with silica.
You might also want to move sundews indoors if there is a strong weather disturbance. A hurricane with heavy rain and strong winds could topple the plant container or loosen the soil. But it would take a very strong hurricane to do that. Of course if your sundew is in a container like the Elegant Life Terrarium this won’t be a problem.
However these are just about the only times when rainfall can harm sundews. For example, you do not have to move the plant indoors during the rainy season. Drosera plants can also handle a sudden thunderstorm during summer.
If you use the tray method, rainfall can save you the trouble of refilling. Take care to remove some of the water so the tray does not overflow. A sudden thunderstorm during summer is also a welcome break for sundews.
Bottom line is that heavy rain is not likely to harm sundews. If you planted in compact soil the sundew and is healthy, there will be no problems. Water is essential for plants and if anything, rain will help it grow faster.
Do Sundews Need Cover During heavy Rain?
No, they do not. These plants prefer watery conditions and rainfall is good for its health. Covering the plant during a rainstorm will cause more harm as you will deprived it of many benefits as stated above.
Is it possible to overwater sundews? Yes, but it will take a lot to make this happen. And overwatering due to rain is almost impossible. Even if it rains continuously for several days your sundew will be fine.
Young sundews might be more vulnerable to heavy downpours, but if properly fed they should be all right too .If you live in a temperate environment there is no need to worry about too much rain.
Tips For Growing Sundews in Rainy Conditions
The most important thing you can do is to just let it rain on your sundews. Remember, these plants grow in the wild and go through all kinds of heavy, light rain, heat and other types of weather. Your outdoor sundews can handle this type of weather as well.
Compact soil is recommended during continuous heavy rain. This is to ensure the soil does not come apart during a downpour. However this should not be a cause for worry if you mixed the soil correctly.
There is no need to change the feeding schedule during the rainy season. If your sundew is outdoors and catches prey on its own, you do not have to do anything. Assuming the plant eats regularly and gets light and water, very little maintenance is needed.
Obviously you should not water the plant if it has been raining for several days. If the rain has stopped, check the soil. If it is starting to dry, use the tray method. It is imperative the soil always be kept moist. Keep this up and your sundew will continue to grow.
Sundews love water so rain is good for them. It takes a lot of rain to cause harm to these plants so they should be fine outdoors. Sundews thrive in wet conditions so rain is going to help them in the long run.
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.