Cultivation of Tuberous Drosera

These plants are easily cultivated providing they are given adormant period. They are able to grow in a large range of soil media but in cultivation a peat + sand mix is effective.

Although the plants develop only a small root system they do best in large pots, due to both the generally large size of the plants and the temperature and moisture conserving properties, of a relatively large amount of the potting mix. Plastic pots are recommended due to their impervious nature and the optimum sizes are between 10 and 20 cm diameter.

Dormant tubers can be purchased in summer and are best planted 4 to 8 cm below the surface of the slightly moist mix, the larger tubers are planted at the greater depths. The tubers are best planted with the growing point facing up, these are identified as a small conical lump on the surface, which may be within a small depression. Some suppliers also sell plants during the growing season, these are best planted immediately, with leaf growth (if present) at the soil surface. It is important to note that the tubers are able to reposition themselves to greater depth, if planted too shallowly, however, those planted at too great a depth may not have sufficient reserves to reach the surface in the subsequent growing period and may thus die.

Keep the tubers in pots over summerthey can be stored under benches etc. The soil will keep barely moist during this time. In March the pots should be checked for growth and given some water. Once, above ground growth is seen, the pots should be placed in a well-lit position, in a saucer with a few centimetres of rain water and left to grow. Thin bamboo stakes may be placed in pots to support tall, trailing species.

Once the above ground portion of the plant begins to die, the pot should be removed from the saucer and watering stopped. Plants may be fertilised with a dilute solution of Potassium Sulphate to increase the size of the plants. Apply at half the recommended strength during the early growing period. Avoid applying too frequently and if in doubt, experiment with a plant you would not be too unhappy to lose.

Tuberous Drosera are not immune to pests and are occasionally attacked by aphids and caterpillars. These are best removed by hand.

Tuberous Drosera may be propagated by both sexual and asexual means. Seed is best sown in the first autumn after it has been produced, in similar conditions to the parent plants. The seed of some species (e.g. some D. erythrorhiza sub-species) may not germinate in the first growing season. Seed grown plants, generally need two or more years to reach flowering size, although D. auriculata seedlings may produce a few flowers at the end of their first growing season if kept in moist soil.

Asexual reproduction may occur naturally via the production of additional tubers. The abundance and location of these daughter tubers varies according to species and may be produced beside or above the parent tuber (D. platypoda); at the end of horizontal stolons (D. erythrorhiza ssp. erythrorhiza); at the end of droppers produced from the base of above-ground growth (D. tubaestylus); or from stolons extending from the axils of cauline leaves (D. radicans). These are produced when the plants are growing in optimum conditions. The tubers may be divided during the dormant period if desired.

Leaf cuttings from a few species are also successful, e.g. D. gigantea. Healthy mature leaves are chosen and placed on a damp potting medium. Small plantlets will form if the cutting is successful and will produce small tubers by the end of the growing season.

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