Drosera capensis, also known as Cape sundew, is a carnivorous plant named after the glistening droplets on its leaves. It’s appreciated for its relatively easy care and decorative looks, which make it a great choice for both beginners and more experienced carnivorous plant growers. It can also be an effective solution if you’re dealing with pest flies like fungus gnats!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Drosera capensis care and growing Drosera capensis in your own home.
|Easy||Bright indirect||Keep moist||Nutrient-poor|
Drosera capensis care
Drosera capensis is naturally found in South-Africa, where it grows in subtropical climates. It has evolved to be quite hardy and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, which makes it a good option for beginners just getting into carnivorous plant growing.
Drosera capensis light, location and temperature
- Like most popular carnivorous plants, Drosera capensis loves getting plenty of light, though it doesn’t appreciate direct sunlight. You can grow it near any window that isn’t exposed to the Sun’s scorching afternoon rays or use artificial lights as described here.
- Drosera capensis isn’t too picky about humidity, although you can try placing it in your bathroom or kitchen if you think the air in the rest of your home may be too dry. Most sources recommend 50% humidity or higher.
- As mentioned above, Drosera capensis is a subtropical plant that can withstand a wide range of temperatures. It does just fine at room temperature and can also tolerate higher or lower, although being exposed to cold might cause it to go dormant.
- A dormancy period is not necessary for this carnivore, so if you don’t fancy having to look at a seemingly dead plant all Winter long be sure to keep it away from cold or drafty windows. Low temperatures can prompt it to shed its leaves until things warm up again around Springtime.
Drosera capensis soil and planting
Like other carnivorous plants, Drosera capensis naturally grows in nutrient-poor soil and will not do well in a normal potting mix. Instead, you can create a “carnivore mix” using 50% Sphagnum moss and either perlite or sand. Be sure to rinse your moss before using it.
Because Drosera capensis likes to be kept moist, don’t use unglazed terracotta planters; these dry out too quickly. Cheap plastic planters such as these should work well instead. The material holds water while the drainage hole at the bottom prevents the soil from being too wet for extended periods of time. If you’re using the ‘tray method’, where multiple carnivorous plants are placed in a tray together so they can easily be watered, a square planter might be preferable.
Note: Store-bought Drosera capensis (and other carnivorous plants) are often planted in a potting mix that will eventually kill them. If this is the case, repot yours as soon as possible! Repotting might result in some leaf decay at first but the plant should quickly recover.
Watering Drosera capensis
When it comes to watering, Drosera capensis is a little more forgiving than many other carnivorous plants. Although it likes its soil moist, it’s not a disaster if you let it dry out a little too much. The tray method discussed earlier makes it easy to water without damaging your Drosera’s delicate leaves: just pour water into the tray and your plant(s) will happily soak it up.
When watering, be sure to use rain water (which you can collect yourself) or distilled/demineralized water. Sundews like Drosera capensis don’t respond well to the dissolved minerals present in regular tap water.
Drosera capensis fertilizer
Carnivorous plants like Drosera capensis don’t need (or want) regular houseplant fertilizer. Using it can actually be fatal to your plant, as it has developed to survive in very poor soil and obtain the nutrients it needs by catching insects.
If you’re growing your Drosera capensis outdoors, it probably doesn’t need to be fed as plenty of prey will be attracted to its glistening death traps without any help. Indoors, just keep a close eye on your Drosera capensis to see if it’s getting enough food. If you’re not regularly seeing dead flies and other bugs stuck to the tentacles, you can try feeding the plant yourself using small flies or dried bloodworms.
Buying Drosera capensis
Drosera capensis is one of the more common types of sundew and if a store sells carnivorous plants there’s a good chance they sell this plant as well. A downside to buying Drosera capensis in plant stores and garden centers is that the plants are often planted in bad soil and might be damaged beyond repair.
You can also buy Drosera capensis online!
Is Drosera capensis toxic to cats and dogs?
I couldn’t find any info on this. Drosera is actually used as homeopathic medicine but I’m not sure if it’s safe or not.
If you have any more questions about Drosera capensis or if you want to share your own experiences with this fascinating carnivorous plant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!