Drosera spatulata, also known as the spoon-leaved sundew, is a tiny carnivorous plant that uses the sticky droplets on its leaves to catch insects.
This is a great sundew for beginners, as it’s easy to grow, turns a lovely red color when provided with plenty of light and flowers almost constantly. It looks pretty and eats annoying insects like fruit flies and fungus gnats. What more could we wish for in a plant?
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Drosera spatulata care and growing Drosera spatulata in your own home.
|Name(s) (common, scientific)||Spoon-leaved sundew, spoon-leaf sundew, Drosera spatulata|
|Recommended lighting||Plenty of light|
|Soil type||Carnivorous plant soil|
Drosera spatulata care
Drosera spatulata varieties are naturally found in many areas throughout Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania.
Clearly this is a pretty hardy sundew and that’s exactly what it’s known for among carnivorous plant lovers. It adapts easily to different in- and outdoor conditions and doesn’t require a hibernation period like many other carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap.
Drosera spatulata care is similar to that of Drosera capensis, which naturally occurs in a completely different part of the world but shares many of its characteristics.
Drosera spatulata light, location & temperature
Unlike some other popular carnivorous plants, like the Venus flytrap, the spoon-leaved sundew isn’t a huge fan of direct sun. It does love plenty of light, though, so place your sundew near a window. Protect it from the sun’s scorching rays using a sheer curtain if necessary.
Drosera spatulata grows very well under articifial light, which makes it a great option if you live in a darker home (or if all your windowsills are full!).
Fluorescent lights are pretty cheap and a few of them can keep a whole bunch of sundews (and other carnivores) alive and happy.
Location-wise, Drosera spatulata isn’t fussy at all as long as it receives enough light. Humidity is not much of an issue.
This sundew is a perfect candidate for growing outdoors during summer or even year-round in mild climates.
Make sure the plant isn’t exposed to temperatures below 7 °C/45 °F: it’s a subtropical that isn’t used to cold or frost.
Although it usually won’t die, the low temperatures will cause it to shed its leaves. They can take a while to regrow.
Drosera spatulata soil and planting
As with other carnivorous plants, Drosera spatulata’s special soil requirements scare off many plant lovers, but that’s really not necessary!
They can’t be grown in regular potting soil, but there’s no need to worry: the right mix isn’t difficult to achieve at all.
- These plants naturally grow in nutrient-poor soil, which is why they adapted to catch insects.
- To keep your Drosera spatulata happy and healthy just mix 50% sphagnum moss with 50% perlite or silica sand. That’s it!
- Some carnivorous plant growers actually prefer pure sphagnum moss, which makes things even easier.
- Carnivorous plants like Drosera spatulata are often grown using the tray method, which means all the plants are placed on a large tray for easy watering. If you’re using the tray method a plastic hydroponic pot might come in handy, as it allows the plant to easily soak up the water. Square ones like these are especially ideal because more of them will fit into a single tray.
- If you’re not using the tray method a regular plastic nursery pot is preferable. Unglazed terracotta planters lose moisture too quickly.
Watering Drosera spatulata
Watering is another issue for many new to the carnivorous plant hobby. What a lot of houseplant lovers don’t realize is that carnivores don’t respond well to regular tap water.
They need water with less dissolved minerals to thrive. Rain water works well and you can easily collect it yourself. If that’s not an option you can also try unscented distilled or demineralized water.
Drosera spatulata is relatively forgiving when it comes to watering. Although it prefers moist soil at all times won’t be too much of a disaster if you forget to water once in a while. The tray method discussed earlier makes watering your sundews very easy; all you have to do is pour water onto the tray and the plants will soak it up through their roots.
Did you know? Demineralized water is sold in the majority of supermarkets as water for clothes irons.
Feeding Drosera spatulata
As mentioned above, the spoon-leaved sundew has evolved to obtain nutrients from the insects it catches. This means it doesn’t need to be fertilized like regular houseplants. Houseplant fertilizer can actually be fatal to sundews, so stick to feeding insects.
If you’re growing your Drosera spatulata outdoors, then you’ll probably notice it doesn’t need additional feeding, as it can catch its own meals just fine.
If your Drosera spatulata is indoors and you don’t see that many insects stuck to its glistening death traps, you can try feeding the plant yourself. Fruit flies and other bugs work fine but you can also use rehydrated freeze-dried bloodworms.
Buying Drosera spatulata
Carnivorous plants like the spoon-leaved sundew are quite popular and can be found at many plant stores and garden centers, although they might not always have received the best care prior to you buying them. This results in unhealthy plants that are prone to dying shortly after you bring them home. No fun!
If you’d like to buy a Drosera spatulata I recommend finding a specialized nursery, a fellow hobbyist with plants to sell or an online store that knows what they’re doing.
Is Drosera spatulata toxic to cats and dogs?
Plants from the Drosera genus are non-toxic to cats and dogs. Which is a good thing, because carnivorous plant keepers frequently report their sundews being irresistible to pets!
Try growing this carnivorous plant in a spot that’s not accessible for them if you don’t want it to get chewed on.