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Thread: Sundew Woes

  1. #1
    Oh, the humanity!! TheFury's Avatar
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    Sundew Woes

    Hey everyone - I'm almost embarrassed to post up about this. I have several tropical and South African dews that are struggling mightily right now. Since November, my D. aliciae, D. venusta, and D. spatulata really haven't done much of anything. The D. venusta is looking sickly, the D. aliciae keeps developing humic acid on the crown (which I do wipe off with a Q-tip) and looking generally frazzled, and the D. spatulata--probably the happiest of the bunch--just isn't growing.

    It's been nearly two months now and no improvement, as you're about to see. I was hoping some of the problems would abate after I moved my plants into my grow rack which I set up about a month before, but at this point these plants aren't just adjusting; they're pissed.

    My conditions:
    MEDIA - 50/50 Hoffman brand peat moss and Mosser Lee brand "desert sand," a little heavier on the sandy side. The sand passed the "white vinegar test" and doesn't contain any carbonate minerals.

    WATER - RO water; I usually fill the trays up to about 1" and let them dry out, wait a day or two, and fill them up again. I also mist the plants from overhead every 2-3 days.

    LIGHTS - 4x 32-watt T8 bulbs - 2x 4100K "cool white" and 2x Zoo Med Flora Sun grow bulbs. 11 hour photoperiod, on its way from 9 up to 16... aiming to get there in four weeks.

    TEMPERATURE - the rack stays around 80-85 degrees during the day and low 70s at night. When the radiators are on in the apartment, temps in the rack might stay about 5 degrees hotter.

    HUMIDITY - 55% humidity during the day and 80%+ overnight.

    What really gets me is that I have a few Pings, a Nep, and a S. purpurea in the same conditions that seem totally content right now. Shouldn't these sundews, and these species in particular which are noted for being easy to grow, be more forgiving?? All I can think is bad soil... Any insight y'all can offer would be awesome.

    Some pictures:
    D. spatulata on 11/29/10:


    D. spatulata on 1/18/11:




    D. venusta on 11/29/10:


    D. venusta on 1/18/11:




    D. aliciae on 11/29/10 (please forgive the typo on the pant label):


    D. aliciae on 1/18/11:




    Frustrating, right

    ---------- Post added at 10:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:57 PM ----------

    Ah, forgot to mention, I've also managed to kill not one but TWO D. adelae. I don't get it, they should love my conditions!

  2. #2
    SDCPs's Avatar
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    two things: cut down on the water, increase the light if possible.

    The D. aliciae are trying to tell you with the black crowns that they need more arid conditions. The humidity might also not be helping...but your media is WAY too wet.

    Also, more light would help. All the sundews can be much redder.

    All these sundews like drier conditions. Trust me, I know.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-18-2011 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Nomenclature adjustment - genus names are always capitalized

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    Oh, the humanity!! TheFury's Avatar
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    Ah, so black crowns can indicate overwatering? Geez, color me captain overkill. Thanks for that advice - I'll cut down on water right away.

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    SDCPs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFury View Post
    Ah, so black crowns can indicate overwatering? Geez, color me captain overkill. Thanks for that advice - I'll cut down on water right away.
    Since you got those exact specimens from me (excluding D. spatulata), yes. Not all D. aliciae will do that I suppose, but when mine have too much water and insufficient light, this is what they do.

    ---------- Post added at 07:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:28 PM ----------

    On further thought, I'm glad you still have all the D. aliciae I sent you, minus one!
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-18-2011 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Nomenclature adjustment

  5. #5
    Oh, the humanity!! TheFury's Avatar
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    Yes, minus one. I lost a weakling! Other than that, I still have everything you sent me--save for that D. intermedia 'Cuba' (RIP). I would love for these D. aliciae to pick up though - they will surely grow into very handsome plants.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-18-2011 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Nomenclature adjustment - D. intermedia 'Cuba' is a valid registered cultivar so single quotes denotes that status

  6. #6
    i dont do pots. amphirion's Avatar
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    i dont think it's overwatering....it's actually humic acid buildup. get a squirt bottle and give the crown a good gentle spritz.

    just to prove im not making it up:
    http://www.growsundews.com/sundews/S..._and_care.html
    "The leaves on my sundew are small and deformed, and there is a black substance at the crown of the plant. What do I do?
    "The darkening of the growth point, as shown by the photograph [below], is caused by humic acids, and perhaps other solubles, wicking up and depositing themselves, first on the hairs and stipules of the leaf primordia, eventually covering the entire surface of the growth point and leaf primordia. My experience is that this can have a damaging effect on the growing point and can supress new growth. The easiest way to reduce this is to gently provide overhead watering with warm, purified water as often as necessary to reduce this precipitate. Another solution would be to use less peat moss, since it is a strong source for the most offending compounds, though other media ingredients may also be sources. It is also affected by temperature, ambient humidity, air movement, etc."
    This substance will also wipe off, if you rub the affected area with a moist cloth. If no action is taken, many of the leaves will become deformed. The preceding quote was found at this page: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...ighlight=water "
    " You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya
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    Wants a Hamata Soopaman's Avatar
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    I have D. spatulata, and mine aren't growing at any fast rate or anything, but they look great, with orange and pink hues on whatever form it is that develops that color. They really started to perk up and produce dew for me when I blasted them with two power compact fluorescent lights, 65W each, about 10 inches about them. I keep the substrate slightly moist to the touch, but never flooded. I water my planted tank about once a week, intermittently, to the point where the water seeps through the substrate to the bottom level of gravel and pools up about 1/4 of an inch.

    Here's a terrible pic of one of my current D. spatulata, sorry for the blurriness, it was taken on my iPod:



    But yeah, judging by how the substrate looks, you're keeping them terribly wet.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-18-2011 at 10:37 PM. Reason: Nomenclature adjustment - the second part of species names are always lower case

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    SDCPs's Avatar
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    It is definately related to overwatering...to much moisture. I had probably a hundred of the same plants from the same batch of seed, and they are spread out in different conditions.

    Anyway, the pics show media that is quite wet. The crown will not wick these "acids" if water is reduced...this is my experience.

    These dews come from South Africa, it isn't exactly wet most of the time there. So, reduce the water, as you will do, and see what happens. It wouldn't hurt to squirt them as long as the media becomes drier soon.


    Quote Originally Posted by amphirion View Post
    i dont think it's overwatering....it's actually humic acid buildup. get a squirt bottle and give the crown a good gentle spritz.

    just to prove im not making it up:
    http://www.growsundews.com/sundews/S..._and_care.html
    "The leaves on my sundew are small and deformed, and there is a black substance at the crown of the plant. What do I do?
    "The darkening of the growth point, as shown by the photograph [below], is caused by humic acids, and perhaps other solubles, wicking up and depositing themselves, first on the hairs and stipules of the leaf primordia, eventually covering the entire surface of the growth point and leaf primordia. My experience is that this can have a damaging effect on the growing point and can supress new growth. The easiest way to reduce this is to gently provide overhead watering with warm, purified water as often as necessary to reduce this precipitate. Another solution would be to use less peat moss, since it is a strong source for the most offending compounds, though other media ingredients may also be sources. It is also affected by temperature, ambient humidity, air movement, etc."
    This substance will also wipe off, if you rub the affected area with a moist cloth. If no action is taken, many of the leaves will become deformed. The preceding quote was found at this page: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...ighlight=water "

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