Q/A #64 - Is My Drosera filiformis Dormant or Dying?

April 5, 2023

Q/A #64 - Is My Drosera filiformis Dormant or Dying?

I received my dormant Drosera filiformis on March 8. I bought the soil for sarracenia and sundew from you. I followed the directions. I put my plant into a 5" plastic pot with holes in the bottom. It is in planter on my railing with my other bog plants. I have reverse osmosis and rain water in the bottom. The pot is sitting in about 1 to 2" of water. The pot depth is 8". The sundew has turned from green to red. That didn't sound good. Is this normal? Everything else is growing well. I live in zone 8, Virginia Beach. Most days have been warm to hot. I put loose gravel in the pot to help diffuse the rain. I washed it first. The yellow specks are the abundant pollen happening here.Is it just dormant or dying?
(Submitted in April 2019.)

This one rotted out. The center is black and the green portions are really dark. This can happen with D. filiformis hibernacula during dormancy for various reasons. But given your region and the time frame, I wouldn't expect that, so we need to explore other issues.

The main one that pops up for me is the rocks you're using for top dressing. They look like some kind of granite or marble. I don't recommend using these rocks for top dressing because the acidity of the peat leach out minerals from the rocks. I'm not a geologist, so I don't know the exact type of rocks those are or if they are reactive to peat. The only types of rocks I've used are pea gravel, a type of non-reactive river rock.

I'll send you another plant, but I will request that you keep the plant in its original pot for the initial 30 days. That way we can determine that the plant is healthy. After that, you can repot it into a larger pot. You can also salvage the soil you have by removing the rocks (and the dead plant) and flushing the soil with RO water. A gallon or two of water should sufficiently flush away minerals. 

When it comes time to transplant the sundews, make a big hole in the soil to accomodate all of the soil from the oritional pot. Keep the soil around the plant intact and plop it into your hole. This will minimize root disturbance as the plant comes out of dormancy. 

If you want to use top dressing, try pea gravel or sphagnum moss. (I see a pot in the background of your photo with sphagnum moss.)

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