Drosera capensis, commonly known as the Cape sundew, is a small rosette-forming carnivorous species of perennial sundew native to the Cape in South Africa. Because of its size, easy to grow nature, and the copious amounts of seed it produces, it has become one of the most common sundews in cultivation. D. capensis produces strap-like leaves, up to 3.5 cm long (not including the petiole) and 0.5 cm wide, which, as in all sundews, are covered in brightly coloured tentacles which secrete a sticky mucilage that traps arthropods. When insects are first trapped, the leaves roll lengthwise by thigmotropism toward the center. This aids digestion by bringing more digestive glands in contact with the prey. This movement is surprisingly fast, with completion in thirty minutes. The plant has a tendency to retain the dead leaves of previous seasons, and the main stem of the plant can become quite long and woody with time.
In early summer or late spring, D. capensis produces multiple, small, five-petaled pink flowers at the end of scapes which can be up to 30 cm tall. Flowers individually open in the morning and close by mid afternoon, lasting just one day each with the next one up the scape opening the following day; the lower ones on the scape can thus be open or "past" while the ones at the top are still forming. The flowers can self-pollinate upon closing and produce copious quantities of very small, spindle-shaped seeds, which are released from the capsules that form when the flowers have died. Under horticultural conditions, carnivorous plant enthusiasts find that these seeds have a tendency to find their way into neighbouring plant pots where they germinate readily, giving D. capensis a reputation as a weed.
Drosera capensis "Wide Leaf" or "Broad Leaf": The "wide-leaved" form is similar to the "typical" variety, but produces leaves at least 50% wider than the typical variety.
The narrow-leaved form differs from the typical form in that it rarely produces tall stems; has thinner, longer leaves and less hair on the plant.
Drosera capensis 'Albino' or 'Alba': Also similar in shape to the "typical" form, but lacks most of the red pigmentation of the typical or Narrow forms, with clear or pink trichomes and white flowers.
Drosera capensis "Red": The "red" form turns blood red in full sunlight, and is also similar physically to the narrow-leaved form.
General Cultivation InformationEdit
Note: this section is dedicated to general cultivation information. As always, these conditions may or may not produce the best results for you.
Media: D. capensis is not a picky plant. A mix of 1 part peat, one part perlite or sand is typically used with much success.
Watering: The tray method is often most used and works well.
Temperature: Again, not picky and a wide range of temperatures suit this plant fine. A minimum of around 40°F and a maximum of around 95°F should be observed. Temperatures below 40°F can encourage dormancy and the formation of a hibernacula.
Dormancy: Dormancy is not required for this spcies to thrive. However, temperatures below around 40°F can send a plant into dormancy.
Humidity: A wide range of humidity levels are acceptable. A minimum of around 40% should be maintained, however.
Seed: D. capensis produces huge numbers of seeds, and this can often be the easiest way to produce large numbers of plants in a relatively short period of time.
Leaf Cuttings: Leaf cuttings work very well with this species.
Root Cuttings: Root cuttings also are successful.
Flower Stalk Cuttings: These, too, work well with this species.
Here, various people growing the plant give their take on its cultivation.
Kyle Krutil, in Northern Colorado, says:
I'm growing this species, and a few forms of it, indoors under fluorescent lights. I use a media of 1:1 peat:perlite and the tray method. During the summer, they experience temperatures of 80°F during the day and 60°F at night. During the winter, 70°F day, 55°F night. Humidity stays around 75% - 85%.