I realize carnivorous plants seem daunting and difficult to those who aren’t familiar with them, and some are! I’ve accepted there are are some plants I will only admire from afar, because I don’t want to deal with everything they need. But there are also plants that are ridiculously, and I MEAN RIDICULOUSLY! easy to care for. If you’re afraid of killing everything you touch and want to start with the super-basics, read on to learn all about one of the one of the best carnivorous plants for beginners!
Cape sundews (drosera capensis) are so easy to grow, they are often considered a weed in many collections. In New Zealand, they are even considered an invasive species. These sundews are native to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, and are considered a tropical plant. However, many growers (myself included) have successfully grown cape sundews alongside temperate Venus Flytraps and American pitcher plants outside year round. (Read the difference between tropical and temperate here.)
Where I live, winter lows occasionally get into the 20s F (around -4 C). The Venus Flytraps and Sarracenia can handle this no problem. Any sundews living among them die back completely in the winter, to the point where you’d think they’ve been killed for good. But time and time again, I see tiny points of new growth in early spring and I have a full, lush Cape Sundew plant again in the summer! I’m sure longer, harder freezes will kill a sundew off eventually, but they are definitely hardy to my California winters.
But since Cape Sundews don’t need a dormancy period, you can also keep them inside on a sunny windowsill to enjoy their beauty all year long. This is definitely #1 of the carnivorous plants for beginners in terms of adaptability. I don’t know of any other easy growing plants that equally survive below-freezing temperatures and indoor environments long-term. Where you put them is completely up to you, and they will most likely thrive.
Cape sundews are available in a few different forms, and all are equally easy to care for. There is the typical D. capensis with green stalks and red dew drops. There is also an “all-red” form, in which the whole plant turns red in bright sunlight, and an “albino” form, which has white dew drops and flowers. Cape sundews are also available in wide-leaf or narrow-leaf form.
You’ll need to water your sundews frequently to keep the soil from drying out. However, it is practically impossible to over-water sundews. They are perfectly happy in wet, waterlogged soil, and you can fill their watering tray once a day or whenever it runs out. That is essentially all the maintenance they need. Remember to use distilled or reverse osmosis water!
Some us also really enjoy growing plants from seeds. Cape sundews are insanely easy to germinate from seed, and they grow quickly! Just sow them over a pot of moist equal parts peat moss and perlite and set them in a window sill with bright, but indirect light. Spray gently with distilled water to keep the humidity up. Seeds are cheap and plentiful online. The seeds are extremely tiny though, like specks of dust! Just be careful when sprinkling them over your potting media.
Cape sundews are the prime example of carnivorous plants for beginners, but there are many tropical and temperate sundews which are just as easy to care for. Here’s a quick lists of some other types of sundews:
- Spoonleaf Sundew (drosera spatulata)
- Fork-leafed Sundew (drosera binata)
- Lance-leafed Sundew (dosera adelae)
- Thread-leafed Sundew (drosera filiformis)
- Oblong-leafed Sundew (drosera intermedia)
- Round-leafed Sundew (drosera rotundifolia)
Sundews are the only genus of carnivorous plant found on every continent except Antarctica, so its no surprise they are extremely adaptable to all sorts of environments! Even if you try to kill them, you may not succeed! I can’t recommend sundews enough for new growers. I hope this post put some fears at ease! ! Feel free to comment with any further questions or concerns!