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Carnivorous Plants/Drosera Natalensis seedlings


QUESTION: Ho high does a Drosera Natalensis grow to and how long might it take?

ANSWER: Hello Dennis,

D. natalensis is a small Sundew species similar to Drosera spatulata. It does not really grow vertically much. It might grow half an in high, but its flower scape may grow several inches tall.

Here is a site dedicated to information specifically about this Sundews.

Hope this helps,

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QUESTION: I need some advice!
This is my first time with CP seeds
I was sent 10, 7 germinated and 3 died I have 4 sprouted and growing on even is growing a Cary leaf that looks to be a paddle starting with 4 hairs growing from it.
I had a algae breakout so I put rinsed Aquarium gravel on the surface to make it harder for the Algae to get through, except where the seedlings are because they are so small and switched to the tray method for watering letting the soil and tray to dry a little.
Now the algae is started in the area the seedlings are.
I was told to make sure they get light and water and not to fuss oer them because they are tough buggers lol !

Are my seedlings in any real danger? I even heard one dew got covered and got through the Algae, is that a possibility?

ANSWER: Hello Dennis,

Yes, seedlings can grow through algae and moss. Most algae does not really parasitize other plants (there are some species that are parasites), so it is just growing there. The thing that is happening is competition for resources between the algae and the seedlings. They are trying to overgrow one another by taking the water and light provided. Algae will grow on gravel as well, however, so long as you do not top water the gravel, allowing the gravel itself to stay dry, then algae should become less of an issue. Once your seedlings have a few more weeks of growth, there should be no issue with algae no matter if it grows in the pot or not. Now that the algae is reaching your seedlings, it would be very difficult to remove it without harming your seedlings.

In the future, you might want to try to steam your soil before using it as a potting medium. I usually just place my soil slightly dampened in the microwave in a plastic container with ventilation and let it steam for a minute or so. This cooks off most of the microorganisms. Then I let it cool and pot my plants and seeds.

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QUESTION: Someone told me a weak coffee solution can be used to water Nempthis to speed up growth
Can a coffee solution be used to water other carnivorous plants If so what is the mixing ratio for perked coffee?
For Instant coffee be used for watering if it weakened enough
what would be a good mix ratio for instant coffee?

Hello Dennis,

Coffee is used in about a 50/50 solution to water some houseplants occasionally. Plants that like acidic soil, like carnivorous plants of most species, and plants that need a little nitrogen boost in their soil, like non-carnivorous plants, may be invigorated somewhat by this method.

I have never tried coffee in the soil of my carnivorous plants. The way I reinvigorate them is simply to repot them periodically and feed them insects if they have not caught anything for a while. I tend to use the more natural of the methods to keep my plants going if possible. I woud not worry overmuch about odd ideas and rumors when first growing plants your new to. Just go with the tried and true simplest methods and then go from there. Once you have experience and a good number of particular species of plants, you can experiment with a few of them and see what happens. I would suspect that the acid in the soil from coffee would help maintain the acidity for a slightly longer time in souring acid soil, however; the nitrogen would be mostly wasted with many carnivorous plants since they have limited ability to absorb nitrogen from the soil. They primarily use their leaves for nitrogen absorption.

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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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