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Drosera spatulata care is easier compared to other carnivorous plants, which makes it ideal for beginners. Also known as the spoon leaf sundew, it comes in various forms and found in several countries around the world. If you want to give sundews a try, D. spatulata is a good place to get your feet wet so to speak.
Spoon leaf sundews prefer 1:1 peat and sand for the soil and need at least 6 hours of light. The plant does not require dormancy and grows best at a temperature between 45-90 F (7-32 C).
Drosera Spatulata Care Sheet
|Soil||1:1 peat and silica sand, keep soil moist|
|Water||Distilled or rainwater|
|Light||6 hours minimum, indoor grow lights will work|
|Food||Small bugs, freeze dried worms, fish food|
|Temperature||45-90 F (7-32 C)|
|Humidity||At least 60%|
|Propagation||Seeds, division, leaf pulling|
Soil and Pot Requirements
Drosera spatulata will grow in different types of media as long as it has no nutrients. You can use 1:1 long fiber sphagnum moss and perlite, 1:1 peat and silica sand or 1:1 sphagnum and sand. The soil must always be moist.
Spoon leaf sundews need at least a 4 inch pot, and the deeper the better. These plants have long roots and tend to grow larger in deep containers. Just like any plant, drainage is important.
D. spatulata is not picky about the soil so you can mix and match media. As long as it is not fertilized you can probably use it. If you bought the sundew potted, check the instructions for the mixing ratio.
You cannot go wrong with 1:1 but other forms prefer 2:1. If the plant is doing fine with 1:1, use that too for when propagating. For a ready to use solution, there is Rio Hamza Potting Mix which is compatible with all carnivorous plants.
One of the keys to growing D. spatulata is to keep the soil moist. The simplest way is to try the tray method. Add 1-2 inches of distilled or purified water and sit the pot there. Never let the soil go dry.
There are two things to remember when using the above method. Empty the tray once a month and let it dry. This prevents fungi from building up in the water. Second, replace the water every few days even if it is not empty. Never let water stagnate in the tray.
There is no need to water from the top if you are using the tray. The only time you may need this is to remove food bits that dropped into the soil.
Temperature and Humidity
These plants are not picky about the temperature. Spoon leaf sundews have been grown in 45 F and as high as 90 F. Humidity requirement is 50%. Higher humidity might lead to more dew but some D. spatulata generate lots of mucilage at the 50% level.
A subtropical climate is ideal for these plants, but they can adapt to higher or lower temperatures. Humidity is not going to affect its growth unless it is very low. Some D. spatulata forms do benefit from 60% or higher humidity but it will still grow at 50%.
The easiest way to maintain a constant humidity and temperature is to sit the plant in water. This does two things. One, it keeps the soil moist and second, the water raises the humidity around the plant.
This setup works well whether your sundew is indoors or outdoors. During summer, sundews need a lot of water to keep the soil moist and prevent dew from drying up. By using a tray filled water you can keep the humidity at the right level.
The Drosera spatulata requires minimum six hours of sunlight. 40-60W T8 or T5 lights may be used for a 14 hour photoperiod if natural light is limited.
Similar to drosera rotundifolia, spoon leaf sundews need as many hours of light as possible. Light leads to faster growth, stronger immune system and more dew.
Sunlight. Place your sundew on a sunny window, preferably facing south. Position it so the plant receives as much sunlight as it can. Outdoors, look for a sunny, unobstructed spot for the plant.
Leave the plant there unless the temperature climbs above 100 F. Provide partial shade for the plant until the temperature drops to 90 F. Otherwise allow the plant to soak in the sun. D. spatulata will turn red under the heat and that is a good sign.
Artificial Light. T5 or T8 lights will do provided it is at least 40 watts. Photoperiod is around 14 hours is enough, though 15 hours is better. Light has to be warm and intense, but not so much it burns the plant. You can also try the Kihung Grow Lights as it is ideal for sundews.
Spoon leaf sundews do not need to be fed if outdoors. Indoors you can give them mealworms, flies, gnats and other small insects. These sundews are fed once a week or every two weeks.
Nutrient is important and boosts their immune system. Properly fed, this can prevent infection and makes it less vulnerable to sundew aphid infestation.
If you have a grown D. spatulata and it is outdoors, the plant can catch food without needing help. Its dew naturally attracts insects so nutrition will not be a problem.
You only need to feed sundews if it is indoors and cannot catch prey. Freeze dried mealworms are good alternatives to insects. Spoon leaf sundews consume live and dead bugs which makes feeding easier.
Take care not to overfeed your sundew. Four times a month (once a week) is the maximum and most drosera are fine being fed every two weeks. Keep the food portions small. You may add a drop of water to soften the food or just drop it directly on the dew.
The spoon leaf sundew does not need dormancy. They will go dormant if the temperature drops to freezing, but will grow again when the temperature rises. Some D. spatulata forms also go into a dormant-like state if the soil dries. Moist the soil and the plant will emerge again.
If you live in a warm location you do not have to worry about prolonged winter frosts. You can leave the plant outdoors all year and it should be fine come spring.
Dormancy is one of the more challenging areas of plant care. Most carnivorous plants that go dormant lose almost all their leaves and appear dead. This can be disconcerting especially for a beginner which is why spoon leaf sundews are suitable for first time growers.
All spoon leaf sundews self pollinate and each stalk yields more than two dozen flowers. There are plenty of seeds in each flower so propagating will not be an issue.
The more you feed sundews the more flowers they can grow. Lighting also encourages flowering, but even with minimal light and food D. spatulata will still flower. Once the plant starts flowering it continues to do so as long as it is healthy.
Unlike Venus flytraps, flowering does not weaken a sundew. Flowers do not hinder its ability to produce dew either. However it is a good idea to prune your sundews to keep it looking neat.
D. spatulata is easy to propagate because its flowers produce a lot of seeds. In addition you can also perform leaf cuttings and division.
Leaf cutting. Wait until the plant has matured before doing this. Cut a few leaves and place it in water. You can keep the leaf cuttings under natural or artificial light. You can keep artificial lighting on for several hours a day regardless of weather, so seeds grow faster. You can expose the sundew to natural light as it grows.
Sundew seeds. Growing D. spatulata from seeds is straightforward. Remove the seeds from the flowers or wait for them to fall. Either way, collect as many seeds as you like. Feed them when dew appears on the leaves.
Lastly we have division. Adult spoon leaf sundew clump up so dividing the plant is simple. Whichever method you choose, use the same soil mixture as you did with the original plant.
Growing sundews might seem daunting if you have never tried it. But once you know the process it is fairly straightforward. Given how easy they are to propagate, you can grow several spoon leaf sundews in no time.
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.