Should You Prune a Cape Sundew?

can you prune a cape sundew

If you’re interested in growing and taking care of carnivorous plants, then a cape sundew, also known as Drosera, is one of the best types of carnivorous plants with which to start. Sundews come in more than two hundred species and do need to be cared for differently than other types of carnivorous plants. 

Should you prune a cape sundew? While you can prune a cape sundew, whether or not you choose to prune your sundew is entirely up to you. Some growers prefer a tidier appearance with their sundews and cut leaves often. Other growers perform a massive cut at the end of the season. Still, some other growers don’t cut the leaves at all. It all depends on how you want your sundews to look.

In this article, we’ll cover some helpful information about cape sundews, including information about pruning. We’ll discuss pruning, watering, and caring for your cape sundew so that you get the most out of your beautiful, carnivorous plant. 

How to Prune Sundew Leaves

If you decide you want to prune your sundew leaves, the process is quite simple. If you choose to prune your sundew leaves, you can cut off dead leaves with a pair of gardening scissors. However, you don’t need to remove the leaves from your cape sundew plant unless you know your plant is having problems with pests.

When your cape sundew plant is having issues with pests, you will want to trim off any dead leaves on the plant with scissors. You’ll also need to transplant the cape sundew into a new container to keep it healthy if you notice pests in the old container.

If you need to transplant your cape sundew into a new container, you’ll need to purchase a container that’s larger than what the plant had previously, primarily if your plant has grown. If you don’t want to buy a new container, you can always disinfect the old box and use it again. However, only re-use an old container if the container is in good condition, and your cape sundew plant hasn’t grown much.

You won’t need to trim leaves on your cape sundew often, if at all. You also won’t need to re-pot your plant very often unless you are dealing with pests. Typically, re-potting your cape sundew once every three to four years should do the trick. It’s also best to transplant your cape sundew when the plant is dormant so you won’t experience as much stress.

If you’re dealing with pests and it’s causing you to re-pot your plants often, you’ll need to look deeper into the problem. You don’t want to re-pot your cape sundew too often because of the stress it causes on the plant. So, make sure you are re-potting only when necessary whenever you experience pests or once every three to four years.

Why Prune the Leaves on Your Cape Sundew?

While it isn’t necessary to prune your cape sundew, some growers like to prune their cape sundews to keep them healthy during the winter season or to get rid of pests. Since the plant will go dormant when the weather gets colder, many growers want to cut off dead leaves to make things easier on the plant.

Also, depending on the climate you live in, you may need to cut the leaves on your cape sundew if you notice the leaves are getting frost on them. Most cape sundews can handle a light amount of frost if they aren’t in a heated area. However, if the leaves are getting too frosted over, it’s best to cut them off when the plant is dormant.

Some growers cut the whole lot off at ground level. By doing that, you can grow a busy, large, healthy-looking plant when you enter the next spring season. If you do cut the lot off at ground level, you’ll want to keep the plant’s soil damp and not too wet. It’s best to keep your cape sundews indoors during winter if you live in a cold climate.

How to Propagate Sundews: Leaf Cuttings

While you’re not required to prune your cape sundew unless you want to or you’re experiencing other issues, you will want to use leaf cuttings when you are trying to propagate your cape sundew plants. If you’re not sure what we mean by that, don’t worry; we’ll explain below.

If you’re trying to propagate sundews, the best way to do that is by using leaf cuttings. We’ve listed the steps below.

  • When you’re propagating, you’ll need to cut off a few leaves in the main stem area of the plant.
  • Then, put these leaves in mineral-free water for two to two and a half months.
  • Once that’s done, you’ll slowly reduce water levels in your leaf cuttings.
  • Once you’ve completed that process, you’ll want to get a carnivorous plant soil mix. Place that in a small three or four-inch container.
  • Then, put the cuttings in there. You should use one cutting per container.

If you’re trying to propagate cape sundews, you should also try to keep your plants indoors. The best places to keep cape sundews are in a terrarium, windowsill, or even any room that’s got a decent amount of natural light coming into it. If you feel you don’t have enough light coming into your house to help the plants, you can keep cape sundews outside if the weather permits.

You can also propagate your cape sundews by using their seeds. Typically, during the warmest months of the year, your cape sundew will grow flowers that are full of a bevy of seeds. If you want to get the seeds out of your flower, shake the bulb once it’s mature, and you’ll get access to the seeds.

Keep in mind that it is very tiring for carnivorous plants to grow and maintain flowers. So, if you’d like to help your plant out, you can cut off the growing flowers to preserve some of the plant’s energy. However, we only recommend doing that if you don’t plan on using any of the plant’s seeds.

Containers for Cape Sundews

When you are growing cape sundews, it’s best to use plastic containers that have holes on the bottom. Keep in mind that certain types of sundews grow better in humid conditions, so you’ll want to make sure you do that for your plants. If you are potting small sundews, you’ll want to use four-inch pots. If you are potting larger sundews, use containers that are seven to ten-inches large.

What to Feed Your Cape Sundew

Cape sundews are beautiful plants that are known to attract their prey. So, if you leave your plant outside often, it should be able to catch the prey it needs to eat. Leaving the plant outside means that it should be able to feed itself often.

However, if you keep your cape sundew indoors, then you’ll want to make sure you feed it various insects to keep it healthy and happy. You can purchase freeze-dried insects and moisten it to make it softer and more comfortable for your plant to digest. You only need to feed your cape sundew once per week.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about pruning your cape sundew, you can decide if it’s something you’d like to do to your plant. While pruning can make your cape sundew appear better, it isn’t necessary to prune a cape sundew unless you are having pest problems. However, if you want to propagate more cape sundews, then you can use leaf trimmings or seeds to do so.

We covered how you can use leaf trimmings to propagate sundews, and we also included how you can germinate seeds to plant more seedlings. Now that you know how you can use the leaf trimmings off of your cape sundew, you can start growing more of these remarkable carnivorous plants for your home!