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Thread: Sundew Help ~ Confused and a bit Overwhelmed

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    Sundew Help ~ Confused and a bit Overwhelmed

    EDIT: UPDATE: 12.16.15 --- Alright it's been a minute since I've posted for help, I re-potted the thing in the moss, I rinsed the moss, and I've been watering it in a tray with distilled water. It's been in bright light in a window, it's not in a tank or anything but it's still pretty high humidity here and when I got it it was in relatively equal humidity.

    For a while the older leaves were brown and dead looking and it had constant new growth, now it has... no new growth. There's not an ounce of green on the thing I looked at it one morning and it had a piece of fluff mold on the top of the moss x.x I'm going to take a picture to add but... I'm feeling like I killed it and I feel pretty dumb at the moment, lol. I smelled the moss and it smells like mold, so now I think that maybe it got root rot? :/ And if so I know with regular plants you have to re-pot them in new soil, so I'm not sure if I should re-pot this poor guy again? Bah I'm so frustrated, he's so pissed at me.

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    Original:
    Hey everyone! I'm very new to the carnivorous plant world, my local nursery got a couple in and they rarely ever carry something like that so I panic bought one because it just so happened to be my favorite plant, the Sundew <3 That meant kind of learning on the fly, so I've been googling stuff and learning (my fiance and I both have) unfortunately I am reading a lot of conflicting information, so now that my Sundew essentially looks like it's dying I'm panicking a little and wanted to join up to get various opinions and more specified help. This was what the plant looked like when I got it:


    And since then I've apparently murdered the plant, or in the very least pissed it off badly. :'( Not long after I purchased the plant, I read that I needed moss, specifically long fiber sphagnum moss, so I bought a brick of it. When I bought it it was not in the LFS, so I'm not sure if that's a contributing factor. I really feel that I need to transplant it into the better moss, but I read that their roots are delicate (?) so I'm slightly nervous to transplant, especially if it is sick and in the winter months, I don't want to cause EXTRA shock to it. Here is what the plant looks like right now :'(


    I'm extra confused because there is constant new growth on it, but the ends of the leaves turn brown before they even have a chance to fully grow. I also know the pot is not deep enough for the roots, another reason I want to transplant it. (But was also reading you should only transplant medium sized plants.) It sits in the windowsill during the day, I remove it at night because it's very very cold by the window and I leave it on my desk, then replace it in the morning. I had it in a Tupperware bowl with a lid partially on it so that it had more humidity (the lid is clear) but then I noticed last night that the leaves had furry mold on them. I think I might just be making one mistake after another because I'm unsure where to start.

    Sorry If I've rambled a bit too much, I'm just now sure what the problem is. Any help is appreciated thank you very much!

    ((EDIT: Let me know if the images are too large, I'm on a 27" monitor so they don't seem too large to me, but I'm sure on a smaller computer or whatnot they might look huge? I just wanted the detail visible))
    Last edited by Apothecaria; 12-16-2015 at 07:39 AM. Reason: Resize images

  2. #2
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    It takes a lot to kill a Cape Sundew, but it isn't impossible.

    Tell us the conditions you are growing it under.

    Repotting often helps if the planting substrate is bad. Drosera capensis has fairly robust roots. Even if you breaks parts off the bits are likely to sprout new growth.

    Are you watering with distilled or Reverse Osmosis purified water?
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    w03's Avatar
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    As mentioned earlier, that's Drosera capensis. It actually has really thick, long roots and can survive a lot of punishment. Listing your conditions would be a great help.

    Just a few things to consider in advance: first of all, what water are you using? Tap water is generally quite bad for them as there are lots of dissolved minerals in it that will burn the roots of carnivorous plants. Bottled water isn't necessarily safe either unless it specifically says "reverse-osmosis" or "distilled" without any minerals added.

    Also, the peat that it came in looks kinda yucky and decomposed. This can lead to root problems (though it's probably not the main cause of the issues here).
    You really don't need a humidity dome unless it was grown in very high humidity originally and you're trying to acclimate it down to house humidity.

    Lastly, when you do go to buy peat moss or lfs, make sure it's not from Miracle-gro and that it doesn't have any fertilizers added. If you're having trouble finding the right soil, you can also get it online (Amazon has lots, but it's slightly pricey).
    "Potential has a shelf life." -Margaret Atwood
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    Oh awesome! I didn't take notice of what kind the website I had found said had sensitive roots, I think I might have been a bit too panicking and not thinking clearly x.x;

    I was using tap water that I let sit for 36hours before pouring it in the tray, but our tap water is well water so there isn't any chlorine in it could that still be the problem? (and I'm putting it in a tray underneath the plant.) The humidity here is fluctuating back and forth between 40% to 60-70% weirdly enough, and that's just because it's winter-y time. In the summer it's much more humid, I live in Pennsylvania. The humidity right now is 41% and it's 46 degrees outside, so the plant is inside, but in the windowsill.

    The LFS I got definitely is not miracle grow brand thankfully, it's the Mosser Lee brand (Link to the exact kind) I was also reading that I needed to soak the LFS in water for a while, to rinse it and saturate it before I place it in the pot.

    Thank you so much for the help, it means a lot <3

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    w03's Avatar
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    Mosser Lee LFS is really terrible quality, but for relatively vigorous Drosera like D. capensis it should be alright. You'll probably get a lot of algae and other crud sprouting from it though.

    The problem with tap water isn't necessarily the chlorine, but the dissolved minerals. Even with well water minerals can leach out of rocks that the groundwater rests in and make the water toxic for carnivorous plants. Letting it sit out won't do anything to take out the minerals - take a cup of salt water and let the water sit overnight; it'll be just as salty in the morning. If you want to quantify this, get a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter and measure the reading for your well water. Anything above 100 isn't really usable. <50 is generally the benchmark for water you can consistently give to your plants.
    "Potential has a shelf life." -Margaret Atwood
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    Enthusiastic Enthusiast Zath's Avatar
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    Well water is probably worse than city-water in most places, since you probably have a much higher dissolved mineral content. If you have a water-softening tank that it passes through before it reaches your tap, that's doubly bad. Distilled water can be bought by the gallon at practically every grocery store for less than $1 a gallon. (Also leaving well water to sit won't do anything, since as you said, there's no chlorine).

    If I were you, I would go ahead and repot it in fresh moss (Mosser Lee is one of the worst brands, incidentally, but it's serviceable. Keep an eye out for Better-Gro brand Orchid Moss, usually sold at Lowes / Home Depot), and start watering it with distilled water only.

    From your conditions, I wouldn't worry about the humidity at all. My house stays at a pretty constant 30% or less now and throughout the winter, and I have 'dews growing in the open air under lights with no problems.

    Even after you do all this, it will still probably take a week or two for it to perk back up. You'll just have to be patient with it.

    (Heh, W03 ninja'd me while I was typing. )
    Last edited by Zath; 11-24-2015 at 01:29 PM.

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    Lotsa blue bluemax's Avatar
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    If you haven't seen this page you will want to take a look: International Carnivorous Plant Society. Without testing your well water there is no real way to know if it contains dissolved minerals that would be harmful to your plant or not. I strongly recommend that you used bottled distilled or de-ionized water as mentioned above. Also Mosser Lee is the lowest quality of lfs you will likely come across but it might be fine. I generally grow D. capensis in a soil mix of peat moss, sand and perlite. These 3 ingredients form a sort of standard soil mix that can be used to grow many species of carnivorous plants.

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    Last edited by bluemax; 11-24-2015 at 01:30 PM.
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    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    Well water is usually high in dissolved minerals -- which makes it unsuitable for most cps. If you don't know how hard your water actually is (the actual amount of total dissolved solids) you'd likely be best off assuming that it is unusable. Rain water, distilled or reverse osmosis (RO) water is what you'll need to use.

    If the grower had this in a very humid environment, then you might be seeing a reaction to the shock of now being in a much less humid environment. IF this is the cause (or part of it) then the plant will adjust over time. Mine have no problem dealing with my winter 10-30% humidity.

    Unfortunately, the Mosser Lee brand of sphagnum moss is garbage. See if you can find Better Gro moss -- http://www.joeshydro.com/media/gento...-cu-in-e4f.jpg . It can often be found at hydroponic stores or places like Lowes or HomeDepot.

    There is also the Q of how much light are you giving it. This plant likes LOTS of light. Mine sit outside on my balcony all summer long where they receive direct, unobstructed sun from 8am - 2pm. In the winter I give them either an extremely sunny window or have them under lights on a plant stand (around 4-6 inches away from the bulb).
    "Blessed are the cracked….
    For they are the ones who let in the light."



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