Carnivorous Plants/sundews


QUESTION: I have three sundews, a cape sundew, spatulata, and venusus.  I have had had the spatulata for over a year and the others for at least a year.  Nothing has changed in their care.  They are under a Burpee grow light in water trays with distilled water.  The light is on for at least 13 hours a day.  The problem is they appear to be dieing.  I will try to attach a picture.  I had heard that they can go dormant and I was wondering if that could be what is happening. If how should I care for them until they "wake up"?


I know you said you were using distilled water, but the pot on the left seems to have white accumulation on the bottom of the pot and tray.  Has anyone else in your house been watering them with tap water?  This looks very much like hard water damage, and the huge red flag to this is your Pinguicula x "Aphrodite".  Mexican butterworts are not at all sensitive to hard water, and in fact grow often in gypsum and limestone.  They wouldn't care how hard the water was, but sundews do.

Unfortunately these tropical sundews have no dormancy period, so you may have lost two of them.  If you transplant the Cape Sundew in fresh media it will probably recover.  If you make your own soil, be sure to soak your peat moss in distilled water, then drain the water off once before using it.  Quality of peat moss in stores (even the bales) has been declining lately.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your advice.  I am the only one here so I know that I only used what was labeled distilled water.  Maybe I got water that was mislabeled distilled.  I will repot the Cape sundew in some of your soil that I have and see what happens.  It's a shame since the Spatulata looked so good and has flowered several times.

Hi Pat,

If any of them have green showing (I couldn't totally tell by the photo) transplant them and you may get recovery.

Maybe try a different brand of distilled water.  Be sure you're not using "Spring Water" or bottles just labeled "Drinking Water", since both will contain minerals.  Distilled water will say purified by steam distillation.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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