I purchased a Drosera regia from you last spring and it has done very well up till last week. It suddenly started wilting and drooping, although the middle new growth still seems slightly ok. It has been steadily watered but not waterlogged, in bright garden window. Do they normal die back in Winter?
(Submitted in February 2019.)
RESPONSE BY JEFF DALLAS:
Sometimes Drosera regia will go dormant when exposed to frost. One year, we left our mother plants outside all winter. The plans dropped their leaves after some significant frost. In spring, they came back from the roots. However, they don't wilt when going dormant. Insted, the leaves turn black. The way your plant is wilting looks like the roots are not happy, so there's something going on in the soil.
Two things come to mind. Either the soil accidentally got too dry or too warm. Those are the most common causes for sundews to wilt. If you're certain that the soil had never dried out, then we have to explore heat.
Drosera regia can also be fussy. Most of the time when I've lost D. regia it's been because night temperatures were too warm for the plant. But, that's not likely the case in winter. So, maybe the soil got too warm in that window. I see you have the plant in a black pot. If this window is nice and sunny the pot could be getting too hot. Ceramic and a large soil volume will also hold on to the heat more,
Another possibility is anaerobic bacteria. Are you allowing the water to drain through completely or are you adding only enough water to keep the soil moist without any water seeping out from the bottom? If the latter, then you might have accidentally created an anaerobic environment for pathogenic bacteria (root rot). Ideally, you should water your plant with lots of water and allow it to drain through to aerate the soil. D, regia seems to need it more than other sundews.
I recommend unpotting your plant and taking a look at the roots and soil. The roots should be thick and firm. If you break off a small piece, the inner portion should be white. The soil should also have an earthy smell. If it smells like rotten eggs, the soil may have gone sour.
Repot your plant into fresh soil, ideally with 40% peat moss and 60% perlite (2 parts peat and 3 parts perlite). The extra aeration will assist with evaporation and moderate the soil temperature. Also use a light colored pot. You can also use an unglazed terracotta pot. Normally we don't recommend it for the majority of carnivorous plants, but D. regia is one of the few exceptions. The unglazed terracotta will allow for more evaporation. You just have to be careful not to let the soil dry out.
Give this a try and wait a month. Your plant has a chance of making it since the new growth looks decent. But only time will tell.
If you need more help, tell more more about your care. I need to know your water source, how much direct sun comes in through that window, which direction that window is facing, and your use of fertilizers. (You should also stop using those fertilizer pellets for now until your plant recovers.)
• The original question and response have been edited for publication.
• With a database of thousands of questions, we will post a Q&A every few days or so.
• To search for similar posts, click on a hashtag below or use the site's search function.
• To submit a carnivorous plant question, visit Ask the Growers.