Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Plant Profile: Drosera venusta

This is part of a series of posts describing my experiences with different species, their culture requirements, and photos of their growth in my collection. The full series can be read here, or by species at the Series page

At the end of yesterday's post I shared the following picture of Drosera venusta, which inspired me to do a Plant Profile of this species. It's one of the prettiest plants in my collection.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 5-19-2015.
D. venusta is a South African sundew that is closely related to – some say synonymous with – Drosera natalensis. I'm totally unqualified to take a position on this issue. In any case, I got my D. venusta from California Carnivores back in June 2014.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 7-22-2014.
It was beautiful and lovely and everything for a month or two, but then there was a period of several months where it declined hard and looked very ratty.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 9-2-2014.
I've heard from some people that D. venusta will just occasionally look terrible, or even die back, but then bounce back for no apparent reason. In my case though I think it was high temperatures that sort of fried the plant.

While the main plant was looking terrible I had some good success propagating with leaf cuttings. I started leaf cuttings from several species, including D. venusta, in July. It struck after about 5 weeks, and then developed quite well in the next few months.

Drosera venusta leaf cutting.
D. venusta leaf cutting, 8-15-2014.
Drosera venusta plantlets from leaf cuttings.
D. venusta plantlets from leaf cuttings, 12-22-2014.
I traded the babies away around this time, and luckily my main plant was starting to bounce back.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 11-24-2014.
I really think it was the cooler weather that made the difference. I've since moved my collection into the garage, which stays cooler all year than the house. We'll see if that keeps the plant looking good throughout the summer.

One thing to note with this species: the first time I got it to flower all the way I didn't get any seed. The next time it flowered I basically ignored the blooms, but it looked like it spilled some seed onto my lights. I'll have to keep an eye on it next time to harvest seed properly. In the mean time I can just admire the heck out of this plant.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 2-9-2015.

The Breakdown
  • media: Standard peat:sand carnivore mix.
  • light: As much as you can possibly provide.
  • water: I haven't noticed any particular sensitivity to water levels. My tray goes dry periodically and the plant doesn't care. Keep it wet over all though.
  • temperature: Seems to be sensitive to temperatures much in excess of 80-90 F (25-30 C).
  • feeding: D. venusta really responds well to feeding. It will get somewhat redder without being fed, but not dramatically.
  • propagation: Pretty easy to start from leaf cuttings. No experience from seed or root cuttings or anything.


  1. I've never tried to propagate this plant but for me, it sprouts plantlets from the roots by itself and the seeds germinate everywhere. It does look amazing on its "good" days. Funny how it seems to get super red when it is going downhill.

  2. I agree that it seems particularly sensitive to high temperatures. I had a couple specimens doing very well during the cool winter, but once temperatures started hitting 85, they all but died back. I figured that must be the issue, moved them to a highland area, and now they're flourishing.

    It always surprises me that South African plants seem to prefer cooler temperatures. I would expect them to love heat, but my D. slackii and other South African plants really do seem to flourish in more highland conditions.

  3. It's a good thing I didn't plan on trying to grow this guy outside then! I'm sure it would hate the 100+ degree heat we get here in Kentucky!