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Native to the South African subtropics, the Drosera venusta is notable for its bright reddish orange color and leaves. It is very similar to Drosera natalensis though with some subtle differences. If you want to cultivate this plant at home, follow the simple steps in this guide.
The ideal conditions for growing Drosera venusta is 60% humidity at a temperature range of 60-90 F. For soil you can mix equal parts silica sand peat, though long fiber sphagnum moss will also work.
Drosera Venusta Care Sheet
|Soil||Equal parts peat and silica sand, soil has to be moist|
|Water||Reverse osmosis, purified or distilled|
|Light||Full direct light 8 hours a day, grow lights are okay|
|Food||Fish food, insects, bloodworms and mealworms|
|Temperature||60-90 F (15.5-32.2 C)|
|Propagation||Seeds, cuttings, division|
Soil and Pot Requirements
A soil mixture of 1:1 peat and silica sand is ideal. You may also use long sphagnum moss with sand.
A 2:1 ratio may work but 1:1 seems to be the optimum setup. Never use fertilizer or standard potting soil. That is fatal to D venusta and other sundew.
The pot should be at least 4 inches tall as the plant generates long roots. By using a deep pot you save yourself the trouble of repotting later. This also reduces the risk of the roots getting entangled due to lack of space. Swim Duck Pots should work nicely with these plants.
There are two ways to water the soil, from the top or the tray method. The tray method is more widely used because it is effective and practical.
All you have to do is put the 4 inch sundew pot in a tray filled with 1 or 2 inches of water. Because D venusta prefers waterlogged conditions, two inches of water could produce better results.
The tray method can be used with other drosera variants. Refill the tray when the water level drops to half an inch or so. During summer D venusta will absorb water faster so you have to refill more often.
Check the soil regularly to ensure it is moist. If it is drying out even though there is water, add more drainage holes into the pot.
Just like Drosera spiralis, D venusta prefers moist soil. Once planted you have to keep the soil damp at all times. This sundew thrives in waterlogged conditions so keep that in mind.
The ideal humidity is 50-60% for Drosera venusta. Humidity above 80% is going to produce more dew. Sitting the drosera in water helps maintain humidity as well as using a cool mist humidifier.
A controlled environment is the best way to maintain high humidity. If you are growing seeds, you can also seal the container with saran wrap to prevent moisture from escaping. If the temperature is cool enough however you do not have to do this. But overall this is good for seeds.
Drosera venusta is a subtropical sundew plant and handles weather variation well. The plant will grow best in 60-90 F.
The ideal conditions for growing D venusta is 60-90 F with humidity between 60-80% (or higher). Under this condition you can expect rapid growth.
But D venusta still grows in less than ideal climates. Its temperature and humidity range is greater compared to other sundews.
Other drosera get sunburn or lose their dew when the temperature goes up. With D venusta it does not. There is no adverse effect even when the temperature is at 90 F. Of course it is better for the plant if the temperature were lower, but 90 F is not fatal.
A subtropical environment is the best for D venusta, but as long as the temperature and humidity are in range there should be no issues.
Drosera venusta needs at least 6 hours of light. Full direct sunlight is recommended and artificial lighting may be used as well.
Some cultivators find 16 hours under artificial light is ideal. Others prefer natural light or a combination of both. With sufficient light the drosera turns orange red so let that be your guide. If the plant is pale, add more light.
If your D venusta is indoors, you can use Barrina Grow lights or position its pot on a south facing window. You can also do both: use natural light and artificial light when the sun goes down. 16 hours should be enough if you want to use artificial lighting exclusively.
One of the things you have to balance is the need for light versus too much heat. While the plant can tolerate 90 F, anything higher is risky. Leaving the plant under 100 F for several hours a day could dry out its dew.
The best workaround is the tray method. Even under intense heat the water keeps the soil moist. In some cases however you should move the plant indoors or under shade.
On the other hand, too little light is also fatal to these plants. Use artificial lights to augment natural light if needed. Make certain the fixture is intense and aimed directly at the plant. If the drosera turns orange red under fluorescent lighting, you are doing it right.
The goal of every drosera owner is to make the plant grow faster. If you have nurtured sundews before, the feeding process is the same. If not here are some basic guidelines.
If you are growing from seeds, wait for a few leaves to grow. Once leaves produce dew you can feed it. Tiny insects, freeze dried worms or fish food are your options. The food bit must be no larger than the dew droplet. Use tweezers if you have difficulty grabbing the food by hand.
Grind the food bit so it is similar in size or smaller than the dew droplet you will feed. Place the food onto the dew and wait for the leaf to curl over it. This might take a few hours so be patient.
The older and larger D venusta gets, the more food it can eat. An adult sundew produces enough dew to attract prey on its own. There is no need to do any feeding on your part. The exception is if the plant has no way to catch food. In that case you have to feed them once a week.
D venusta preys mostly on flying insects, but as pointed out they will eat rehydrated mealworms, bloodworms and even fish food. If you do feed the plant, take care not to get any food particles into the soil.
Do not give any processed meat to drosera. It cannot handle foods made for human consumption. Sundew cannot eat fruit either so avoid those.
Drosera venusta does not require dormancy. This is true for most sundews so caring and cultivation is the same the entire year. This drosera cannot survive a winter frost so you have to move it indoors.
Other than freezing winters D venusta can tolerate varying degrees of heat and cold. As stated earlier its temperature range is 60-90 F. This gives you plenty of options for growing the plant indoors or outdoors.
Propagation and Reproduction
Sundews can propagate in many ways and this is no exception. Drosera venusta is self pollinating and can be propagated through leaf and root cuttings, division and seed.
Its pink flowers emerge from long stems and contain plenty of seeds. Because D venusta self pollinates you do not need to provide any help. For best results the temperature has to be under 80 F.
Cold stratification is not needed for the seeds. Feed once every 14 days and you should see it flower after a year. Nutrition is critical during this time so regular feeding is a must.
You can propagate D venusta through leaf cutting. Simply cut the leaf and float it in half an inch of water. Position the leaf under artificial light for several hours a day. For root cutting, snip a couple of inches and plant as you normally would.
Drosera venusta may not be as popular as the other sundew variants, but it looks great and makes for an interesting addition to your home or garden. With proper caring you can raise this sundew in the best environment possible.
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.