Proper care of a sundew at home
Perennial grasses of the Rosyankov family are grown as ornamental plants. They are valued by flower growers for their unusual appearance and ability to feed on insects. Sundew care at home is quite simple if it is possible to reproduce the natural habitat.
It should be borne in mind that the halo of sundew habitat is large, from tropical forests to marshes of a temperate climatic zone. Each species is adapted to specific temperature and humidity conditions. Sundews growing in areas with a cold climate need a dormant period with low temperatures, and tropical varieties are able to do without it all year round..
External signs and features of the plant
Depending on the halo of habitat, the plants differ in the height and size of the bush, the shape and color of the leaves. Natives of South America, New Zealand, Africa, have a peduncle up to 60 cm high, and the inhabitants of the swamps of the middle zone do not exceed 8-15 cm.
Despite the variety of species, the structure of sundews has common features.
- Leaves of a rounded or oblong shape are collected in a basal rosette, have a length of 50 mm to 0.5 meters, depending on the variety. There are hairs on the surface of the leaf, at the ends of which drops of sticky secretion accumulate, which outwardly resembles dew.
- The root system is fragile, short in length, since in its natural environment the plant exists on poor soils, unable to supply it with a full set of nutrients.
- The plant throws out tall peduncles so that insects have the opportunity to pollinate them without the risk of dying. Flowers are tied to the stem above the trap leaves in early spring. The colors can be pink, purple or creamy..
- Fruits are formed after the end of the flowering period and the fall of the petals. Sundew seeds are under a thin layer of skin, no pulp.
In the process of evolution, plants have learned to extract additional food from insects, which are caught in an unusual way..
Who and how the sundew hunts
Carnivorous plants have developed ways to lure and kill their prey with leaf traps. The larger the leaf, the larger the insect it is able to capture. These can be small flies, moths, mosquitoes, flies, and in some cases, dragonflies or butterflies. Precisely in order to observe how the sundew hunts, it is worth getting an unusual flower.
The plant produces a thick secretion that attracts insects. Drops of paralytic substance accumulate at the tips of the glandular hairs, abundantly covering the edges and upper surface of the leaves. The victim, trapped, gets bogged down in a sticky substance and has no chance of escape.
The sheet is folded. With the help of food enzymes, the plant dissolves the chitinous surface of the victim’s body, breaks down to the simplest substances. This is how the sundew extracts vital nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium.
Dewdrop grows well on acidic soils. For its cultivation, it is not advisable to use ceramic pots, which over time contribute to the alkalization of the soil..
Dewdrop is an unusual plant that has developed adaptive mechanisms for survival in rather harsh conditions. These are depleted soils, often high humidity, limited lighting. It is necessary to take into account the needs of the plant and create an appropriate habitat.
It is not recommended to use traditional flower soil for sundew. A depleted, acidic substrate is considered most suitable. The soil for the sundew should be very light and retain moisture well. High-moor peat “Fasco”, TP Pelgorskoye (Morris Green, pH 2.8-4.0), “Agrobalt-V”.
Self-prepared formulations are also suitable:
- coarse sand mixed with peat, taken in equal proportions;
- peat combined with seramis granules;
- sphagnum moss is considered the best option.
To avoid gradual alkalization of the soil, select a pot made of glass or plastic, excluding ceramics.
The humidity required by the sundew must be at least 60%. To do this, the pot with the plant is immersed in a deep pan, in which the water level must be at least 1 cm of water. Distilled or settled rainwater is used to moisten the soil..
If possible, indoor sundew is grown in a terrarium-type aquarium, the bottom of which is lined with moss..
It should be borne in mind that prolonged waterlogging of the soil leads to decay of the roots. To avoid this, not expanded clay is used as a drainage material, but coarse quartz sand.
With a lack of lighting, the sundew stops dew production and growth slows down.
The plant is demanding on the length of daylight hours, in summer the duration should be at least 12 hours, in winter – 8 hours. The plant does not tolerate the bright sun, which burns the leaves, drying out the nectar that attracts insects. And in the absence of light, the plant dies quickly enough.
Therefore, the best option for planting a sundew is to place the plant pot on a window located in the east or west, where sunlight hits in the morning or evening. In cloudy weather or in winter, additional illumination is used.
The comfortable temperature range for a plant is from 5-6 degrees in winter to 30 degrees in summer. A deviation from this amplitude in one direction or another leads to damping of growth and rapid death of the plant..
For tropical species, the permissible temperature during the growing season is +30, in the winter period, 14-16 degrees. For plants from a temperate climate zone, a favorable temperature in the warm season is 22-25 degrees, in winter – 7-12 degrees.
The balance of humidity and temperature is the main condition for maintaining heat exchange in plants..
You can decide that caring for a sundew at home cannot be complete in the absence of insects. But it is not so. The plant will not die, but will only slow down its growth. But even so, you should abandon the traditionally accepted methods of feeding..
In summer, it is better to expose the sundew to the open air, where it can hunt. In winter, midges living in pots with indoor flowers can serve as an additional source of food for the sundew at home. If the growth retardation is especially noticeable, then you can feed the indoor predator with dried flies from the pet store..
Even a predatory plant cannot resist the invasion of aphids. If a pest colony is found, it is necessary to immediately treat the affected areas with an insecticide.
Sundew care at home
In the absence of experience, it is better to choose a variety that does not require a too delicate approach. The most problem-free is the Cape sundew, which tolerates dry air well in apartments with central heating. Most varieties are more demanding in terms of growing rules. The result depends only on how to care for the sundew at home:
- Due to the weak root system, a 10 cm deep container is sufficient for the plant. The best option is an aquarium / terrarium. On the surface of the soil, it is advisable to lay out a litter of moss to retain moisture.
- The container with the plant is placed out of direct sunlight, and in winter, away from central heating batteries. It is necessary to monitor the observance of the temperature regime, sufficient air flow.
- Watering is carried out regularly, constantly keeping the soil moist. Use only settled or distilled water. Water the home sundew under the root, preventing the flow of water from entering the leaves.
- In case of insufficient lighting, the plants are supplemented. In summer, on the contrary, they are shaded from too bright sunlight..
- It is unacceptable to water the sundew with tap water, or to apply liquid top dressing to the soil. Nutritional deficiencies are replenished with dried insects.
- The only insect that the sundew cannot deal with is aphids. The affected areas should be treated with Fitoverm, which is diluted in a volume of 5 ml in 1 liter of water. The plant is sprayed and isolated for 24 hours with a plastic bag.
- Rosyanka lives on average in indoor conditions for 3 years. Therefore, you should take care of the separation of young shoots in advance to form new bushes..
- To pollinate plants without the participation of insects, you should rub the peduncles together, or transfer the pollen with a brush. Some types of sundew pollinate themselves.
You can determine the presence of problems by changing the color of parts of the plant and the disappearance of transparent drops from the surface of the leaves..
With strong waterlogging, an unscheduled transplant is made to prevent root rot. All affected processes are removed.
Transplant and breeding
It is recommended to transplant the plant every 2 years in the spring, when the sundew enters the phase of active growth. After transplanting, it is better to remove the peduncles so that the weakened plant does not spend additional energy on their development..
Sundew can be propagated in several ways:
- Sundew from seeds at home is grown from its own seed or purchased in a greenhouse. This method is the most laborious and time consuming. The seeds are planted directly in the moss, covered with foil or glass and kept at a temperature of at least 25 degrees for about a month. After the appearance of several leaves, transplantation is carried out to a permanent place. Within four months, the plant begins to form a stem. Only experienced gardeners can breed sundew with seeds..
- A healthy bush can be propagated by division. Lateral shoots are carefully separated from the main stem along with the roots and placed in separate small containers with water or moss. After rooting, they can be transplanted into a pot or terrarium for full development. The division is recommended to be carried out during a planned transplant, so as not to injure the plant once again..
- When grafting, a few centimeters are cut off from the trunk and the resulting seedling is placed in water or moss until roots are formed. Care must be taken to ensure that the root does not rot in the water. Then the seedling is transplanted into the ground.
Following the above recommendations will allow you to both grow a sundew from seeds and propagate an existing bush using cuttings or shoots. If you follow the basic rules and maintain the parameters of temperature, lighting and humidity at the proper level, then the plant will not cause much trouble..