Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pygmy sundew check-in

Another programming note before we get into the post: The Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Society is having its Fall Meeting on Saturday the 24th at the Lake Merritt Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave. in Oakland from 12:00 to 4:00. The topic will be...pygmy sundews! We're heading into gemmae season, so we've all gotta be prepared. There will be lots of photos, a guide to building an aspirator for harvesting gemmae, and more. California Carnivores will be there selling plants, and everyone's gonna have a good time. If you're in the area it would be awesome if you could make it through. Okay, on to the post.

I've been checking in on my pygmies more lately so I can see when gemmae start forming. There are several pots I need to re-sow this year to keep the collection looking tidy. Consider Drosera pygmaea and Drosera roseana here.

Drosera pygmaea and Drosera roseana.
Looking a bit tired there guys!
The D. roseana on the right were fed recently. I think they just burned a bit too brightly – these were the plants that produced gemmae only 12 weeks after being gemmae. No wonder they look a bit exhausted. As for D. pygmaea, I've always had trouble with this species. A number of people describe it as being one of the easiest pygmies, but I've just never been able to keep them happy. Who knows.

Drosera patens is showing a bit of a stem/skirt of dead leaves.

Drosera patens.
They're burning out.
The life cycle of pygmies is so short. This picture from my Instagram is was taken back in mid-May (follow me on Instagram for more plant pictures!). They looked so happy then. D. patens is part of a group of closely-related pygmies including Drosera nitidula and Drosera allantostigma, so I really like them when they're growing well.

My supposedly orange-flowered Drosera pulchella has also shrunk back a bit.

Drosera pulchella.
It would be cool to see the orange flowers.
I say "supposedly" because I've never had any flowers from these guys. I don't seem to flower pygmies very readily. Not sure why! Plants are weird. Maybe my conditions are too consistent from them. After all, they're native to a much more extreme climate than my garage (southwest Australia).

My good old Drosera scorpioides are glad to have been recently fed.

Drosera scorpioides.
Ah, memories. My first pygmies.
I definitely need to re-sow this species this year. Not sure how much longer they'll hold out. Also I've heard from multiple people that their D. scorpioides tend to conk out suddenly sometime during year three. Also I think there's a slug or snail in that tray somewhere. I hate slugs.

Moving on to plants that are doing quite well, check out this Drosera occidentalis ssp. microscapa. It...exists!

Drosera occidentalis.
These are so hilariously tiny.
Back in February they were nowhere to be found. I'd figured that sowing on the sand had been a bit too extreme for the tiny gemmae – being so small they have less stored energy and moisture, so they wouldn't have time to grow roots into the soil. Guess I was wrong! It still took like 6 months before I could tell they were there though. What a silly plant.

I'm very pleased with how Drosera silvicola and Drosera barbigera are doing.

Drosera silvicola.
These have really filled out nicely.
Drosera barbigera.
Four plants per pot seems perfect.
These both seem to have some affinity with D. scorpioides in terms of growth habit, but I like how the stem is less pronounced, leading to this nice dome-like set of traps. Quite handsome plants!

I've gotta post about Drosera ×Dork's Pink. Just look at it.

Drosera ×Dork's Pink.
I hope I get a lot of gemmae from these.
D. ×Dork's Pink is D. lasiantha × callistos, an absolutely fabulous man-made hybrid that was formally described in the March 2015 issue of the Carnivorous Plant Newsletter (join the ICPS to download it). I just love the density of the traps and the truly wonderful glowing pink color. It's also quite a large pygmy, so it's very striking.

Finally, Drosera sargentii. Drosera Gemmae is actually calling it Drosera parvula ssp. sargentii now. Whatever you call it, I think it's my new favorite pygmy (sorry D. allantostigma).

Drosera sargentii.
I could stare at these all day.
Just LOOK at those pygmies. Like perfect little bullseyes. Wonderfully distinct bands of color, almost perfectly circular. I can't even handle how cool this plant is.

If you like sundews you've gotta be growing pygmies. I'm pretty sure they're the coolest.


  1. Devon, those look incredible! You really make me want to pick up more pygmy Drosera. They are so interesting looking! I really ought to try to make a setup for them that's like yours. It looks so awesome!

    1. Thanks Natch! I'm trying to trick everyone into growing pygmies because seriously they are really cool and easy to grow. They can definitely grow outside in lots of climates, although I think New Hampshire might be a bit too cold for them, hahah.