Q/A #53 - Is My Dormant Sundew Alive?

March 17, 2023

Q/A #53 - Is My Dormant Sundew Alive?

I have Drosera filiformis. It's dormant now but can hibernacula be black or not? Not sure if it's alive.
(Submitted in March 2019.)

When hardy sundews go dormant, they drop their summer leaves and form a resting bud (hibernaculum--singular) on the soil surface. With filiformis, the hibernaculum is sometimes covered with a fuzzy plant material, kind of like a blanket. Sometimes this fuzzy plant material can be black from absorbing broken down peat. Most ofen, however, the fuzz is light brown. 

You can assess the viability of the hibernaculum by pressing on it. It should be firm. If it's soft, it likely rotted away. You can also scrape some of the fuzzy plant material to expose the plant underneath. The actual resting bud should be green. If it starts to fall apart when you scrape it and the inside looks brown, the plant is dead. 

You didn't say where you live, so I can't comment if your plant should be emerging from dormancy now or in a month or two. In Oregon, our plants emerge in mid to late-April. In locations south of us, growers might already see leaves emerging. In colder regions, like USDA zones 5, dormancy might end in early May.

Watch our monthly care video for images of what healthy hibernacula look like. 

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