Sundews grow well both indoors or outdoors in a sunny, wind-free position. Do not plant your plant in unglazed ceramic, clay or tin containers. If you want to plant a sundew directly into the ground you need to prepare a special bog-type garden using a mixture of sphagnum peat and washed silica sand as they have very specific soil requirements. Ordinary soil will kill your plant.
As the name suggests, sundews need sunlight to survive and is essential for these plants to produce food and stay healthy. Without proper light exposure, the dew produced by the sundew lacks the mucilage that sticks the prey to the leaves. Tropical sundews in particular need a lot of sun to maintain their dewy appearance.
The amount of sunlight a sundew needs on a daily basis depends on many factors including the specific species, the climate, the environment, the temperature and the ambient humidity. For example, the lance leaf sundew (Drosera adelae) grows better in low, indirect sunlight whereas other sundews needs a lot of direct sunlight..
In general, the ideal position for your sundew is where it get four or more hours of direct sunlight a day and bright filtered sun during the rest of day. Too much direct sunlight can cause your sundew to dry out and the amount of mucilage to reduce.
Sundews can tolerate very warm temperatures of up to 43°C however dew production will decrease in excessively warm conditions. Dew production generally resumes when the temperature drops below 29°C. Place your sundew in a cooler position if it is not sticky.
Sundews need mineral-free water. Collect rainwater or use reverse-osmosis or distilled water to ensure the long-term health of your plant. Stand your plant in a tray of water at all times and let it drink from the bottom. Never let the soil dry out completely. In summer fill the tray with 4-6 cm of water and refill the tray every second day. In winter refill the tray about twice a week so the soil remains damp. Too much water in winter may result in root rot.
It is not necessary to feed your sundew. Insects will be naturally attracted to your plant and they can survive with minimal nutrition. If you choose to feed your plant use live wriggling insects or ones that has been recently killed. Do not feed your plant meat. Avoid putting too many insects on the leaves as the leaves will rot. Chemical fertilizers will kill your plant quickly. Feeding is not required at all during the winter months when the plant is dormant.
Your sundew will start growing strongly in spring. Clip off dead leaves to stimulate more growth. Sundews grow a flower on a long stalk during the Spring and again at several stages throughout the growing season. It is easy to grow sundews from seed however the flower takes a lot of energy from the plant and the traps of a flowering plant may develop less well when the flower buds are not removed.
As winter approaches plant growth will slow however the Cape sundew does not require a dormancy period and they can be grown all year round in subtropical conditions as are found in parts of South Africa.
Sundews need nutrient-free soil. Use a blend of sphagnum peat and washed silica sand available from jozicarnivores.co.za or certain nurseries. Sundews self-pollinate and will rapidly fill any container if the growing conditions are favourable. Changing the soil restores soil acidity, improves root aeration and strengthens the health of your plants. You can repot your sundew at any time of the year and if necessary put your sundew in a larger pot.