Re: New subscriber needs help with Drosera

Rick Walker (
Fri, 15 Jul 1994 10:44:00 -0700

Dear Tom,

> Most of my plants are growing well, save the Drosera. [...] I am
> under the impression that Drosera need live food to trigger the
> movement of the glands. Is this true? [...] Can my butterwort be
> given the same food?

As Jeff Welch has pointed out, you don't need live food for either
Drosera or Pinguicula. Darwin often used boiled egg-white for testing
the tentacle response of Drosera. Following his lead, I've started
spraying with a solution of 1/4 tsp/gallon Miracid + 1/4 tsp per 8
ounces of dehydrated egg-white + 10 drops per gallon of Superthrive B1
vitamins. The latest change to this brew is the egg-white powder. The
plants seem to respond very well to it, with vigorous leaf production.

I've also experimented applying the egg-white powder with a salt
shaker. It is usually absorbed cleanly by Pings within two days,
but a very large "blob" of egg may overload the leaf and cause some
spotting. For this reason, I think the liquid application is better.

Once you've mixed up the egg solution, you need to use it all at one go
because the egg may spoil when sitting around at room temperature. I
usually keep the inorganic miracid stock solution sitting around, and
mix up about one cup of egg solution as I need it. I bought my powdered
egg-white at the local health food store.

> I have a D. capensis growing outside along with my pitcher plants. I
> am using the "tray system". [...] However, the leaves on the D.
> capensis are not fully developing. The ends of the leaves aren't
> unfolding; instead they make a point, and turn brown after a couple
> days. I think the plants get about 4-5 hours of afternoon sun. Any
> suggestions?

You may need more humidity. I have two flats of D.capensis side by
side: one is sitting in a water tray in the open, and the second is
sitting in water inside of an open 10-gallon aquarium. The plants
inside the open aquarium are *much* better developed and freely
flowering. The outside plants are stunted, burned on the leaf tips, and
have very poor glandular development. Perhaps you might try building a
plastic cage around your growing area to increase the humidity and block
any drying winds.

Rick Walker