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Carnivorous Plants/Sundew Mucus Production


I had a question about the sticky substance the sundews produce on their leaves and such. I almost always have them under my 4, 4' indoor shop light. They are about a foot away from the light. However, when inside, they rarely produce any sticky substance upon their leaves, yet when I place them outside they eventually always produce a healthy amount of their goo. It hasn't even been sunny at all lately, as we've had lots of clouds, rain, and thunderstorms, so I didn't think it was a question of the amount of the light they were receiving indoors.

So my main question is this; could it be that my light is somehow too close to my plants and it's drying them out, which is why my sundews can barely produce any dew upon their leaves when indoors under my light? (I use fluorescent.)


Hello Devon,

I understand your concern about the proximity of your sundews to your florescent lights, however; I have Drosera adelae, partial/indirect light sundews, some within two inches of florescent lights, and they all produce large amounts of dew. I have 40-50 percent humidity in my home, but humidity is not really the main factor.

I beleive what you are seeing is a light problem. Even with clouds, storms, and overcast conditions, outside light is generally well above the levels of indoor light and of a greater spectral range. Try placing the sundews closer to your light source, making sure that the tubes are cool white of the T-12, 40 watt variety.

In addition, try to redice the amount of moving around with the plants. Plants can be stressed by environmental conditions changing drastically. Inside and outside temepratures and humdity may be very different, thereby stressing the plant beyond tolerance limits continually. Once they adapt to a location, it is best to keep them there and let them do what they do best, be planted plants.


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Christopher Littrell


I am capable of answering questions about the most common carnivorous plants found in cultivation. I have no personal experience with Byblis, Drosophyllum, Aldrovanda, and Heliamphora. I have not cultivated gemmae forming pygmy sundews nor tuberous sundews. For information regarding those aforementioned species, I would suggest contacting other experts. I can answer questions regarding most species of Nepenthes, tropical and temperate Drosera, Mexican Pinguicula, Sarracenias, and Dionaea. I have some limited experience with growing Utricularia, Cephalotus, and Darlingtonia.


I have grown carnivorous plants off and on for about 27 years. I have made the same mistakes and suffered the same mishaps that many growers make as they attempt to separate the myths from the realities of growing these plants. Currently, I am successfully growing a variety of tropical sundews, a Nepenthes, several Venus Flytraps of varying ages, and Sarracenias. I have been successful in stratifying Sarracenia seeds and providing artificial dormancy requirements for my temperate plants when needed.

I hold a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Over my lifetime, I have constantly read books involving the growing conditions of carnivorous plants. I hope to incorporate the educational aspects involved in psychology with teaching other people how to cultivate carnivorous plants.

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