A common question many sundew plant owners have is whether or not they are overwatering their sundew. If your sundew is struggling to grow, the leaves are browning, or the roots are rotting, then you might have come to the conclusion that you must be overwatering your sundew. We’ve prepared this article to give you a definite answer to whether or not you are overwatering your sundew, along with some helpful tips for growing your sundew.
Can you overwater a sundew? While it is possible to overwater a sundew, this is unlikely the case as sundews thrive in wet, waterlogged soil and high-humid conditions. By following proper watering protocol – top-watering or the tray method – you can prevent root rot and any fungus or minerals from killing your plant.
Below, we are going to go over the exact method you should use for watering your sundew and provide some additional tips for growing sundews. By following the steps and guidelines outlined below, you can expect your sundew to thrive with no issues for many years to come.
Watering Your Sundew: Best Practices
While it is unlikely that you’ve overwatered your sundew, there are still certain practices you should follow to ensure that your sundew is being watered properly. The goal of watering your sundew is to keep it moist and wet while preventing any fungus from growing.
How Much Should I Water My Sundew?
The answer to the question of how much or how often you should water your sundew is that you should water it as much as you need to and as often as you need to to keep it wet. This will vary from situation to situation; if your sundew is in a fairly humid environment, you might not need to water it as often as a sundew that is in a very dry environment.
To ensure that your sundew is properly watered, you should check on it daily, if possible. Keep in mind that these plants thrive in wet conditions, so it is more likely that your sundew is being underwatered rather than overwatered.
One common way to water your sundew plant (and many other plants) is called top-watering. This is where you add water to the soil from above, allowing the water to seep through to the bottom and eventually make its way to the drip tray. As the water makes its way to the bottom of the pot, oxygen gets pulled through the pores of the soil, which is good for the health of your sundew.
This is the easiest and most common method to follow for keeping your sundew properly watered. For this method, you simply take the pot that the sundew plant is in and place it on a tray that is filled with ½” – 1” water. The water in this tray will travel through the hole in the bottom of the pot and evaporate over time, providing your sundew with the water and moisture that it needs to survive.
As soon as you see that there is no more water left in the tray, simply refill it. Once every few weeks, however, make sure you allow the tray to dry out completely before refilling it. This will ensure that any fungus that might have grown will die off before it has a chance to damage your plant.
Keep in mind that you still want to top-water your plant once every few months in order to flush out humic acids and any salt and minerals that build towards the surface of the media that can kill your plant.
Best Water to Use
As sundews are not tolerant to water with high mineral contents, be sure to only use one of the following for watering your sundew:
- Distilled water
- Reverse osmosis water
- Purified water
- Deionized water
- Mineral-free water
While it is not recommended, you can use tap water as long as it goes through a water softener and/or contains less than 50 parts per million of dissolved minerals.
One feature that makes sundew plants very easy to care for is that they don’t require any misting. In fact, you should never mist your sundew plant.
Watering During Dormant Season
Certain sundews go through a dormant phase during the year. During this time, you should keep the soil only damp to slightly dry.
Depending on the species of sundew, it will either develop a winter bud or hibernacula in the late fall and become dormant for the winter, or it will slowly brown as summer approaches and become dormant during the summer. Tropical sundews are the best sundew for indoor environments, as they do not have a dormant phase.
If your sundew does have a dormant phase, be sure to remove them from their watering tray or terrariums and simply keep the soil constantly damp, not wet.
Tips For Growing Sundews
Below are some tips for you to follow for growing your sundew plant. By following the proper watering protocol mentioned above and the growing tips listed below, your sundew will grow and stay healthy for many years.
Sundews are highly adaptable and can grow anywhere as long as they are protected from harsh sunlight, excessive wind, and freezing temperatures.
When growing indoors, the best place to keep a sundew is on a sunny windowsill, as this will ensure it receives enough sunlight. You can also keep sundews in a terrarium or greenhouse. The pot that the sundew is in must stay moist with consistent watering. Sundews prefer humid environments, so be sure to keep its watering tray full so that it can generate the necessary moisture.
You can also grow a sundew plant outdoors as long as the temperature rarely ever drops below 55°F (13°C). When growing a sundew outdoors, till the soil (preferably moist soil near a water feature) completely and mix in some sphagnum moss to increase its acidity.
If you are keeping a sundew in an office, be sure to provide it with extra humidity and artificial light. Use a growing light and Increase humidity with a humidifier if needed.
Since sundews come from a variety of different climates and regions, they are fairly adaptable to different temperatures. When growing indoors, the standard room temperature is good enough for most sundews. If you have winter-growing sundews outdoors, simply keep them somewhere where they are protected from the snow to prevent frost from accumulating on and killing the plant.
Best Pot and Soil to Use
The best container to use for a sundew is a plastic or glazed pot with holes on the bottom. For small sundews, stick to a pot around 4 inches tall and about 7-10 inches for larger ones.
Be sure to use a soil mixture of 1 part perlite and/or silica sand and 1 part peat moss and/or sphagnum for your sundew plant. Never use potting soil, fertilizer, or compost as these can kill your plant.
Sundews require about 14 hours of direct sunlight (or artificial light) every day and should never be kept in full shade.
Since sundews do a good job of catching their own food, you only need to feed them a few times per month with very small live insects such as houseflies, ants, gnats, moths, or wingless fruit flies. You can also use beta fish food pellets or freeze-dried insects such as fly larvae or bloodworms. Always moisten food before feeding to make digestion easier for the sundew.