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August 2010
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Sun-leaved sundew (Drosera) – a meat eating plant

It is a small herbaceous, perennial, aquatic plant, with short and slender fibrous root, from which grow the leaves. The carnivorous Sundew plant (Drosera) grows in most continents. Over 160 species exist out of which some thrive in bogs and swamps, while others tolerate mountainous regions and colder places like lower Alaska. They have a covering of red glandular hairs and leaves that are orbicular. Each hair has a small gland at the top. This gland contains fluid that looks like a dewdrop because of which the name Sundew has come up. The gland secretes this liquid abundantly when it is very sunny.
Flower-stems are erect, slender, 2 to 6 inches high. These are at first coiled inward bearing a simple raceme, which straightens out as flowers and are very small and white in color. These flowers appear in summer and early autumn. The seeds are numerous sand spindle shaped in a loose chaffy covering contained in a capsule.
The hairs are very sensitive, they curve inward slowly and catch any insects which alight on them; the fluid on the points also retains them. After an insect has been caught, the glandular heads secrete a digestive fluid which dissolves all that can be absorbed from the insect. It has been noted that secretion does not take place when inorganic substances are imprisoned.

Growing Conditions of Sundew

• Grow Sundews outside with at least 6 hours of full sun and little shade.
• Provide sphagnum moss or mix 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite in the potted plant.
• Water so that the soil remains wet.
• Have a dish or bowl underneath a pot with a drain hole; always keep standing water.
• Use distilled or rain water for best results.
• Watch for slow growth and black leaves in early fall for Sundew’s that go dormant over the winter.
• Some need warm temperatures throughout the year.
• Move the potted Sundew to an unheated area.
• Keep standing water in the dish during the 4-month dormant period.
• Cover the pot with a plastic bag or tarp.
• Remove on days when temperatures reach 40 degrees F.
• Avoid having your Sundews dry out.

Care for Sundew

• The most important thing to remember is to provide constant moisture.
• Avoid having your Sundews dry out.
• A Lance-Leafed Sundew needs temperatures above 40 degrees F.
• Consider repotting yearly.
• Change the soil mixture and use a larger pot.
• February remains the best time.
• Never use fertilizer or potting soil for the Sundew.
• The plant receives its nutrients from the insects it catches.
• Avoid feeding the carnivorous plant meat or table scraps.
• Don’t repot when the plants begin to grow.

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