Sick sundew

dboyle88(Central PA)May 26, 2007

so yeah, I probably haven't posted a message to this forum in close to 5-6 years.

anyways, I recently got a sundew and a butterwort at the same time from a Lowes. both plants looked relatively healthy and the butterwort had a nice flower (lavender with a yellow center) on it. when I got home, I set them up on the back porch where there's a limited amount of bright sunlight. I propped the cheesy plastic cube domes up with pieces of wire for a few days for humidity adjustment, and progressively allowed the dome to be raised for about two weeks.

the sundew quickly lost its dew and it hasn't grown back in about 3-4 weeks. it hasn't sprouted any new leaves. now, it's in a plastic pot with sphagnum, and the pot sits in a casserole dish that I maintain about an inch of distilled water in. the butterwort sits in there too, in a plastic pot. it was nice and dewey until the rain got to it. it's just now regrowing the dew, and this morning I noticed the flower was starting to wrinkle.

I can get pictures of the sundew and butterwort if anyone wants a visual aid.

My question is, the sundew is sick and I'd like to know what caused it so that I can get it back to heatlth. no leaves have grown and it hasn't grown any dew. These plants get about 6 hours of full, direct sunlight each day.

on the other hand, I got some VFTs last year from Home Depot, and after I had gotten them adjusted to the climate, I planted all 3 of them in a larger plastic pot. it did great all year, even sprouted a flower through dormancy! now it's been out of dormancy and is thriving. it's growing like a weed. nice, sturdy red traps grow every day, about 3 or 4 flowers are forming, and there are smaller clusters starting to sprout from around the three larger rosettes. this gets the same appx. 6 hours of full sun each day and stays well hydrated.

anyways, any help would be appreciated. thanks in advance.


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My only suggestion is more time. I got a sundew from lowes and it took at least a month and a half to begin unfurling a new leaf. When it was completely open about a week later it had no dew. Now, I get about 1-2 leaves per week full of red globs of dew.

I was under the impression sundews if it's d. adelae like I think, don't like all that much direct sunlight. Perhaps you might want to consider giving it more bright indirect light.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that from my experience buying the cubes of death, its hit or miss. I do the same thing to all of them when I get them. Some come around and thrive, and for whatever reason, some just don't. I have three pots what should be sundews, that I don't have the heart to throw away, because the stem is green. No leaves, just a mint green 3/4" little nub that I keep watered and in light. We'll see...

Good luck,

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 2:32PM
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I'd bet Bob's bottom dollar that you have a D. adelae! This species is notorious for its occasional "playing possum". More time and no tweaking should allow it to recover from its funk and produce new plantlets from the roots. Just pretend that all is okay and give it the usual light, water, and air circulation.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 10:07PM
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Hello dboyle 88,

I second the notion that if it is a D. adelae, it is getting too much sun. Those are partial sun tropical sundews that actually make great houseplants in a bright east window year round.

D. adelae (Lance Leaf) also do not like temperatures to much over 80 degrees, seeming to prefer temperatures of about 75-78 degrees as mine do.

Once you get the light and temperature right, they are real weeds. One plant will quickly overrun it's pot in less than 5-6 months with root run clones.

One good cure for a sick adelae, other than just giving it good conditions as petiolaris advised, that will not commence with new growth once you have it in partial sun and moderate temperatures is to just hack the entire top of the plant off to the soil and let it's roots and chopped off crown regrow. It sounds brutal, but these plants are weeds that seem to rebound from damage by growing even faster. By being particularly rough with snapping roots during repotting, you often wind up with several dozen new plants in less than 2 months.

Good job with hardening the plants off to low humidity and giving the North American species full sun.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 5:26PM
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dboyle88(Central PA)

well yes, I had thought about cutting off the dying parts but then I saw two very small, newer growths coming up that have nice red dots that I can only assume will be dew-covered leaves. I'll give it a while and see how it does.

I wasn't sure about full sun for the sundew or butterwort. based on my healthy, extremely hearty venus fly traps (THOSE are growing like weeds, and some leaves stand up straight between 4-5" long with huge red traps and LOTS of flowers and offsets starting to grow) full sun and lots of distilled water seemed to be the thing. but the sundew and butterwort were doing fine in the store with the cube, in a shaded area. I'll try moving it to a shadier location and seeing what that does.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 11:32PM
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Hello dboyle88,

Yeah butterworts and Drosera adelae like that partial light. There are other sundews that prefer full sun like the Venus Flytrap (a close relative of the sundews), so you just have to check out each species likes and dislikes to see if you can match it's growing requirements.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 7:09AM
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