The Cape Sundew, Drosera capensis (Dra-si-ra Cap-PEN-sis) is a carnivorous plant found only in the gardens of true plant lovers.
The species belongs to the Droseraceae family and Drosera genus. More commonly known as the Sundew plant, and it never ceases to amaze.
It lures, captures, and digests small bugs and insects (like the Venus flytrap) using its sticky leaves, which are covered with brightly colored tentacles.
These tentacles release sticky mucilage that traps its prey.
While Sundew species are found all around the world, the small, rosette-forming perennial, Drosera capensis, is native to the Cape in South Africa.
Comparatively, it is easy to grow and propagate this species of carnivorous plants.Cape Sundew (
Cape Sundew (Drosera) Care
Size & Growth
Drosera (cape sundew) capensis is a perennial, herbaceous plant. Meaning, this plant does not have a persistent woody stem above the ground.
It is generally small in size and forms a rosette.
Its leaves are covered in red hair that secretes a sticky liquid which traps the insects landing on the leaves – just like flypaper!
The leaves grow up to 1” – 1.5” inches in length and around 0.2” – 0.5” inch in width.
It forms a rosette with a diameter of around 15 – 25cm. The foliage is characterized by reddish glandular leaves.
Flowering and Fragrance
Drosera capensis starts to flower during the summer. As the temperatures increase get, rows of 15 – 30 small five-petaled pink flowers appear flower stalks.
The flowers are shaped like viola and grow in a variety of different colors, ranging from pale violet to whitish.
They have a faint, sweet smell that works to attract insects.
Light & Temperature
These plants enjoy sunlight and require bright light in abundance to grow and flourish. They do well in the full sun or partial shade.
The ideal temperature for Drosera capensis is a little over room temperature as they enjoy warmth just as much as light.
During the summer, it is best to keep these plants outside in a sheltered location where they receive lots of direct sunlight and warmth.
As temperatures begin to drop, maintain higher temperatures to keep the plant comfortable and healthy.
Keep it in a bright, sheltered position like a sunny windowsill during the winters.
Watering and Feeding
Drosera capensis needs to be watered deeply on regular basis. However, allow the soil to dry out completely before watering the plant again.
This helps the roots grow strong and deeper. Also, keep in mind it is advisable to use rainwater, purified or distilled water. Do not use tap water.
When it comes to feeding, the Drosera capensis is self-sufficient, getting all the nourishment it needs from insects.
However, if there is no supply of insects, use a weak liquid fertilizer to make sure the plant receives all important nutrients.
Soil & Transplanting
These plants thrive and flourish best in sandy peat moss soil mix or sphagnum moss. They do not get much nourishment from the soil.
Repotting is unnecessary as long as the pot is big enough. Transplant only when the plant starts to overgrow the pot.
Wait till spring to repot your plant as this is the ideal time of the year to transplant Drosera capensis.
Grooming and Maintenance
Sundew capensis is easy to care for. All the plant needs is to get rid of the flower stems once the flowers are gone.
Remove the withered leaves to keep the plant in a good shape and aesthetically appealing.
How to Propagate Drosera Sundew
The Sundew plant produces seeds in abundance. On top of that, it is relatively easy to propagate from seeds.
Sow the seeds in a propagating tray and place it in a partially shady spot.
Moisten the seeds using purified water and maintain the temperature at around 70° to 75° degrees Fahreinite.
Once the seedlings grow large enough, move them to individual pots filled with sphagnum moss or sandy peat soil.
Sundew Drosera Pest or Disease Problems
Cape sundew is a strong, sturdy plant with few disease or pests.
However, lack of insects to feed on can eventually harm the plant, turning its leaves pale.
This happens because the plant does not get enough nourishment.
Naturally, the easiest way to deal with this problem is to use fertilizer.
The best approach is to use only a very small quantity of nitrate-based fertilizer.
Feed only during the warmer months of the year and make sure the plant is not over-fertilized.
Keep in mind that these plans require acidic conditions to survive.
If the plant looks sick with the leaves turning yellow, use peat moss based soil and distilled water to restore the ideal pH balance for the plant.
Suggested Drosera Cape Capensis Uses
Drosera capensis is a fast-growing plant that can live on for years.
For years, it has been used in the treatment of various ailments.
Extracts from the plant have been recorded for use against disorders like tuberculosis, coughs, ear and eye infection, etc.
It is also used in the production of tea which is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
As a houseplant, it can make a fascinating addition to any plant collection with its distinctive foliage and extraordinary carnivorous properties.