Far Out Flora

Cape Sundew is Flowering


Our Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis) is flowering.  We pick up this beauty about two years ago at California Carnivores up in Sevastopol CA.  Carnivorous Plants are a strange bunch, but this one is actually fairly easy to grow.

The Cape Sundew in flower - Drocera capensis

Close up of the Cape Sundew flower - Drosera capensis

Cape Sundews produce sticky sap-like droplets at the margins of their leaves called mucilage.  Insects are attracted to what looks like water droplet on their leaves, but after landing for a drink…the bug get stuck in the tacky goo.  Eventually that leaf will curl up around the captured insect and it is digested.

The Cape Sundew in flower - Drocera capensis

The Cape Sundew in flower - Drosera capensis

Above you can see a couple of Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia sp) mixed in with the Sundew.  Belonging to the Droseraceae family, they originate from the Cape region of South Africa; they evolved to feast on insects.  Cape Sundew’s self pollinating flowers produce scores of tiny seeds.  Besides self sowing, Sundews can be propagated by division and through rhizomes.

Detail of the foliage of The Cape Sundew - Drocera capensis

Detail of the foliage of The Cape Sundew - Drosera capensis

The Cape Sundew loves wet feet, so best to keep them in standing water.  Two don’ts: Don’t use tap water…use either distilled or rainwater; and don’t fertilize.  The Sundews get their nutrients, mainly nitrogen, from eating insects.  Adding a nitrogen based fertilizer will actually inhibit the growth of those specialize leaves that catch insects.

…and speaking of Carnivorous Plants, Chomp 2 is coming soon to the SF Conservatory of Flowers.

– Far Out Flora


  1. My cape sundew is withering. Do you think its from the tap water? I had no idea.

    • Hum…if I had to guess based on nothing else but the tap water…I would say that it your issue. I know our water in SF is pretty decent, but their roots are sensitive. Here is what the literature says about tap water…the salts and minerals in tap water can burn the roots…thus making the roots less efficient at absorbing water.

  2. I normally cringe when I see carnivorous plants but this one’s is pretty.

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