Pygmy Sundew Care & Propagation Guide 2023

Written by Ivy

Jan 06 2023

Pygmy Sundew Care & Propagation Guide 2023

You've come to the right place if you're looking for information on how to grow, propagate, and take care of Pygmy Sundew indoors.

This could be the ideal plant for you if you want a real conversation starter and don't mind taking care of Pygmy Sundew that requires a little extra care.

Quick Growing Tips of Pygmy Sundew

  • Use only potting mix formulated for carnivorous plants, or mix your own using rinsed materials.
  • Only use distilled water or rainwater to water and rinse gardening supplies.
  • Never add fertilizer.
  • Feed fish food pellets or other suitable alternatives, such as live insects, at least once a month.

What is Pygmy Sundew

Pygmy Sundew

The majority of Pygmy Sundew can be found in regions with wet winters and dry summers. The plants grow and bloom in the winter and spring. They go dormant during the summer and only have a stipule bud above ground, depending on whether they survive.

Their extensive roots serve as anchors for the plant and draw moisture up from the soil's depths. Before the winter leaves appear, the stipule buds produce gemmae in the fall. The plants' gemmae enable them to spread locally and reproduce asexually.

Some species, such as Drosera pulchella, don't typically form stipule buds because they are found in environments that are cooler and wetter in the summer. High elevations near the equator are where Drosera meristocaulis can be found. Gemmae are not produced by it.

Pygmy Sundew are typically small plants, as the name suggests. Although most species in the group are 15 to 20 mm wide and closely adhere to the ground, some of the larger species can reach 50 mm across and 50 mm tall in a single season. After a number of years, they can grow quite tall, with dead leaves completely encircling the stem.

It's very simple to grow pygmy sundew indoors, terrarium or not. When planted closely together, the species that hug the ground can form a dense mat of shimmering little leaves, which is particularly stunning. They do need bright light, though.

It may not be enough light coming in from a sunny window. Lighting with LEDs is advised. The plants might not bloom or produce gemmae if the lights are left on all day long. A light timer with an adjustable on time that takes into account local sunrise and sunset may be necessary.

These plants thrive in outdoor pots and, in fact, are likely to thrive more there than in a lit, humid terrarium. The plants can be grown outdoors all year long in regions with mild winters.

In some places, the plants can spend the winter inside or in a greenhouse. Make sure they continue under a cycle of natural light if they are inside. It may be best to cover the plants outside when it's raining or there are birds around.

How to Grow Pygmy Sundew

  • Mature size: Up to 0.75 inches in diameter in ideal conditions
  • Light: Full sun or grow light equivalent
  • Soil: Carnivorous Plant Soil Mix, pure peat or peat-sand mix
  • Feeding: Feed bugs, dried bloodworms, or fish food every 2-3 weeks
  • Humidity: 50-75%
  • Water: Keep soil wet during active growth and slightly damp during summer dormancy, provide water that is low in salts and minerals such as rain or distilled water
  • Temperature: 40-90°F
  • Dormancy: Most pygmy sundews grow well year-round and don't require a dormant period if kept consistently moist. Watering less frequently during the summer can, however, encourage dormancy. The fall photoperiod should be shortened to promote gemmae production.

Today, more than 200 different species of sundew can be found worldwide, as I already mentioned.

The needs of different species of plants in some plant genera can be very similar or almost identical, but not all sundew species have the same needs.

Sundew varieties can be classified as tropical, tuberous, rosetted, pygmy, woolly, climbing, fork-leafed, fan-leafed, or winter growing, as is the case with the South African and Australian species.

A good place to start is by realizing that all of these species are bog or wetland plants. This can help to identify some conditions that are fairly universal requirements among them, such as consistently moist soil, moderate to high humidity, and adequate feeding.

In this instance, insects serve as the sole source of food rather than fertilizer. Since fertilizer can harm or even kill these plants, you won't ever need to add any. Instead, choose easier to handle insects to feed them, like wingless gnats or bloodworms.

Since they are also used as food by fish and reptiles, gnats and bloodworms are typically available at pet stores.

Some growers advise trying betta fish food pellets instead of live insects if you're not too keen on doing so. These resemble the nutrients an insect-based diet would provide for a plant in terms of composition.

Be aware that some species require daily feeding to prevent a rapid decline and eventual death. A plant's ability to reach its mature size will be hampered or impossible by inadequate feeding, which will also slow or stop growth. They can be fed less frequently once they've reached adulthood.

Frequent bloom production is another sign of health in well-fed sundews. When the plants are mature, you should feed them every two to three months rather than just once a month for young ones. Also, make sure to research the variety you are growing to learn about its feeding needs.

Direct sunlight is another crucial requirement. Whether it comes from a window or a grow light, you should make sure your plant receives at least six to eight hours a day. The ability to produce mucilage, or the gooey sap that emerges from the leaves, may be compromised in plants that receive insufficient light.

Lack of color may be a sign of inadequate lighting for plants. In a sunny environment, the trichomes of the majority of species are red, orange, or purple; in inadequate light, they turn flat and dull green.

Moisture and humidity, along with food and sunlight, are crucial factors. Preferably, keep your potted plants submerged in a dish of water that is about a third the depth of the pot. If not, you'll need to bottom water at least every other day to keep the soil sufficiently moist.

In the winter, you can lower the amount of water you provide in the dish to one-fourth the depth of the pot, or bottom water every two to three days, but make sure to never let the soil get completely dry. For winter-growing varieties, switch to the summer season.

You'll need to pot sundews so Pygmy Sundew can reach deeply for water because, relative to the size of the plant, they often produce roots that are fairly deep. The root system was created as an adaptation for the conditions found in bogs, where there is a high water table but not always wet or saturated ground at the surface.

It is important to do your research on the variety you have chosen and make your potting plans accordingly. A one to two-inch wide plant can have a root system that extends four to six inches deep.

Cultivation and History

In the early 1800s, Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish "father of taxonomy," was introduced to the He was indignantly incredulous in his response, believing that no plant could be carnivorous because doing so would go against God's will.

However, a different well-known botanist wasn't as offended. After some initial research, Charles Darwin became so enthralled with carnivorous plants, especially Drosera species, that he spent several years studying them.

He conducted experiments with D. rotundifolia, feeding them various types of material and observing the results.

The Pygmy Sundew was the first of the Drosera genus that he confirmed was in fact digesting insects as a food source, which was a breakthrough in botany.

Sundews, however, had already been used for centuries in Italian medicine, so Darwin was late in discovering these plants. A Dr. At the School of Salerno, Mattheus Platearius discussed using the plant to treat patients.

It is unclear when sundews were first used as houseplants, but during the mid- to late 1800s, many renowned botanists became interested in carnivorous plants.

Poachers complied when laypeople were urged to try growing new species as they were discovered and described.

Due to the unique growing conditions these plants need, hobbyists who mastered indoor habitat replication were able to produce hundreds of plants at once, which contributed to their increased availability. Today, growers of specialized carnivorous plants can be found all over the world.

Despite the fact that this plant is found in the wild all over the world, each species differs from the others in some way, whether it be slightly or significantly. Some resemble a spider's web, some have circular leaves, and some are more upright in habit than low rosette-like.

They come in a wide range of hues, with various species showing variations in chartreuse, purple, and scarlet. Contrary to what scientists once thought, there does not appear to be a correlation between a species' coloration and its propensity to attract prey. Instead, it seems to be related to how much light they are exposed to.

Due to poaching and the destruction of their natural habitats, sundews that are found growing in the wild in some areas are endangered.

Nevertheless, depending on the species, they can also produce a lot of seed, create plantlets, and split into productive rhizomes, so they're working hard to naturally repopulate wherever they can.

Additionally, they are well known for being incredibly simple to propagate as houseplants, and they add a stunningly unique touch to planters and terrariums.

Let's examine the best procedures for home sundew cultivation and propagation.

Pygmy Sundew


Growing Pygmy Sundew indoors is much simpler than you might think. You can grow them from seed, transplant plantlets, or root leaf cuttings.

But the potting medium is one requirement that cannot be compromised. It may seem counterintuitive, but they require nutrient-poor soil.

You can either buy carnivorous potting soil like this one from Amazon or make your own by combining one part peat moss or coconut coir with one part sand or perlite.

Prior to use, be sure to thoroughly rinse the coir, peat, sand, and perlite in distilled water.

The kind of water you must use when misting, watering, or rinsing the potting medium is another unbreakable rule for growing these plants.

Only distilled water or rainwater will do; any other type of water will introduce nutrients and minerals to the soil that will kill the plant.

While reading on, bear these things in mind.

From Seed

Pygmy Sundew can be multiplied by seed, but for annuals, this is the most effective way to do so.

The seeds can be so tiny that they resemble fine dust or powder, so you'll want to handle them carefully to prevent losing any.

If you're not ready to use the seed right away, whether you collected it yourself or bought it, you can store it for several years in the refrigerator at about 35°F in a sealed zip-top bag or container with a lid.

Because the seeds must always be moist after planting, you can treat them with a light spray of neem oil to stop mold or fungus from growing, which can kill seedlings.

Whether it was bought or made at home, Pygmy Sundew potting mix should be poured into four-inch plastic pots with drainage holes. Use distilled water to thoroughly moisten the potting medium before pressing it into the container and pressing down so that any extra liquid drains off.

Do not add more than a light dusting of sand to the seeds after carefully scattering them on the soil's surface. Sand can hold the seeds firmly in place until they sprout, which will help the tiny roots penetrate the soil.

To maintain humidity, mist the seeds and cover the container with a clear plastic sheet or put it in a clear storage container with a lid.

Place the container in a dish of water that is about one-third the depth of the pot, and then leave it there. Refill the container as needed to prevent water absorption.

Use a grow light or choose a sunny location where the seeds will be exposed to eight hours of direct sunlight per day, where temperatures are constantly in the 75 to 85°F range.

Use a heat mat set to 75°F if you don't have access to a location with consistently this warm temperature.

The seedlings should start to look like miniature versions of the mature plants in two to four weeks after the seeds are planted. You have the option of letting them grow in a cluster or dividing them up and planting them one at a time.

In as little as four months, some species can reach maturity.

From Cuttings

One of the simplest ways to grow Pygmy Sundew is by cutting leaves. Numerous leaves may be present on even the smallest specimen, and these leaves can be used to propagate additional plants.

Remove leaves from the central stem by cutting them off at the base. Put them on a moist paper towel to prevent drying out.

Sphagnum moss that has been dried out can be placed in a flat or small pot after being thoroughly watered. Without any standing water that is dripping off, it should feel moist.

Put the leaf cuttings in the potting medium so that the cut ends are pressed into the moss. Place the container in a clear storage tote with a lid, wrap it in clear plastic wrap, or use a humidity dome to protect it from moisture.

If you don't have enough light available, put the cuttings under a grow light or in a spot that gets eight hours of direct sunlight. A heat mat can also be helpful for maintaining the growing environment's temperature at a steady 75 to 85°F.

Make sure to maintain moisture in the potting medium by misting it daily or bottom-watering in a shallow dish that is about one-third as deep as the pot. Within one to two months, roots will start to form.

From Plantlets

Plantlets can grow from parent plants that are producing new branches. The plantlets should be ready to transplant after two to three months of growth.

By removing Pygmy Sundew from its container and gently crumbling the soil off the roots, you can usually easily divide offshoots that have grown from a parent plant.

Compared to an individual plant, a cluster may appear more mounded, and as the leaves compete for space, you might notice that some of the leaves begin to drop.

Keep in mind that even for a small specimen, the root system can be up to four inches long. As you separate the roots, be careful not to harm them.

It's relatively easy to see the rosette pattern that some varieties form if you carefully pull plants apart where leaves sprout from the main stem.

The plantlets should be placed after division on a moist paper towel or in a shallow dish of distilled water until they are ready for repotting.

Choose individual pots that are four to six inches deep, and then fill them with carnivorous potting soil. Press out the excess after thoroughly wetting it with distilled water.

To create a large enough hole for each plantlet's root system, just poke your finger inside. The plantlet should be placed inside gently.

Place the potted plantlets in a location that consistently has temperatures between 75 and 80 °F and where they will get eight hours of direct sunlight every day. Gently compact the soil around the roots.

Be sure to seat the pots in a dish of water one-third the depth of the pot, or bottom water every one to two days to keep the soil consistently moist.


As I previously stated, some perennial Pygmy Sundew species found in temperate climates will hibernate during the winter.

They might either wither away to the roots or form a hibernaculum, a bud from which the new growth will emerge when dormancy is over.

When you notice a seasonal die-off, move dormant plants to a cooler area so they can rest and store energy for the upcoming growth cycle.

Keep them protected from temperatures below 32°F and avoid freezing or soil drying out on dormant plants. If you have a cool area in your garage or a spot in the back of your refrigerator where the plant can survive the winter in temperatures between 35 and 50°F, those are good options.

After two to three months, leave the plant in the cooler area and gradually bring it back to the warmer one, starting with a few hours each day. You can move it back to its usual growing position after three to five days of being exposed to warmer temperatures.

You should remove any dying and browning leaves from the previous season or as they emerge when it grows back. Keep dry; getting the dead stuff wet can cause gray mold or botrytis infection.

Smaller species rarely outgrow their containers unless they begin in one that is very small, but larger species will require repotting every three to four years. It is best to repot them in the spring after they have come out of dormancy.

To prevent transplant shock, keep the roots consistently moist for one to two days before repotting.

Prepare a container that is between one and two inches larger than the existing pot. Fill the container with enough potting soil for carnivorous plants so that the plant stays at the rim's level. Place the Pygmy Sundew in the new pot after turning it out of the old one gently, then cover it with soil.

Return the container to a dish of distilled water after gently pressing it into position with your hands.

The pollinated flowers can be allowed to mature and set seed before being harvested. To give the seeds enough time to fully mature, seed pods must dry and turn brown.

Snip the stem below the pods off with clean, sharp scissors. Keep the pods contained so you don't lose the tiny seeds by holding a piece of paper or a plastic bag beneath the stem to catch them.

If you can't use the Pygmy Sundew seeds right away, keep them in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag. Otherwise, plant the seeds right away. They can last for years if stored at a temperature of around 35°F.

Pygmy Sundew

Managing Pests and Disease

There aren't many things to worry about with Pygmy Sundews. The pests and diseases that may occasionally affect these plants are, however, less frequent than those that may affect many other kinds of indoor plants.

We'll discuss the ones you're most likely to encounter right now.


Despite the fact that both of the pests we'll talk about are common, no list of houseplants or garden plants is ever complete without mentioning one insect pest in particular that you might also see on Pygmy Sundews.


The aphid appears to be constantly present and is always an unwanted visitor, as you probably already guessed.

We experienced gardeners and indoor plant keepers have fought many battles against these insects, both winning and losing.

On Pygmy Sundew, however, it might seem strange to find an infestation while observing a bug-eating plant being eaten by bugs.

The best thing to do is attempt to remove and then smash any aphids you find if you notice any signs of damage brought on by them, which can include curling or dying leaves, discoloration, and stunting.

However, for some species, it is practically impossible because the structure of the plant not only hides them but also causes the leaves to grow very closely together. Remember that some sundew species can only reach a width of one to two inches.

The best method for treating infestations on this plant is a little different from the solutions that are frequently effective for treating infestations on other houseplants.

The best method is to fully immerse the plant in distilled water for about 24 hours, pot and all. Remove it, let the soil drain until it reaches a normal moisture level, then watch the results. You can immerse the plant once more if more aphids are discovered in a few days.

You can apply a light spray of neem oil to your plant to get rid of the remaining infestation if submerging it in water doesn't work.

Fungus Gnats

An infestation of fungus gnats is indicated by the presence of gnats that resemble mosquitoes and buzz around plants. These gnats are drawn to moist soil, where they lay their eggs.

There are numerous species of fungus gnats in the Sciaridae and Mycetophilidae families, and all are drawn to bog plants like the Pygmy Sundew by the moist soil they prefer to grow in.

Since they are small—one-sixteenth of an inch—and difficult to see, by the time you notice them, they have probably already laid their eggs in the ground.

Since they spend the majority of their time under the soil's surface feeding on plant roots, their larvae, which are less than a quarter of an inch long, are even more difficult to spot.

The presence of larvae below is indicated by shiny, thread-like trails on the soil's surface. Other signs that you'll see when the roots are damaged by the larvae include wilting and loss of leaves, caused by a secondary infection known as damping off.

Even though some gnats may be attracted to, caught by, and digested by Pygmy Sundew, the larvae cannot be repelled, necessitating the application of a liberal amount of cinnamon on the soil surface to eradicate the infestation.

The larvae will become suffocated as a result, and adults will be deterred from landing to lay eggs.


Moisture is essential for the survival of all wetlands and aquatic plants. But regrettably, it can also spread illness.


Infestations of pests are a common way for some pathogens to spread. Aphids and fungus gnats are often responsible for spreading Botrytis cinerea spores, which can colonize readily on Pygmy Sundew and lead to infection.

Standing water, warmth, and humidity are all conducive to colonization. Thus, Pygmy Sundew become obvious targets.

The plant should not be kept wet for extended periods of time, even though consistently moist soil is crucial. Wilting, the appearance of brown and black spots, and the growth of fuzzy gray mold are indications that an infection has taken hold.

The best course of action is to stop an infection in its tracks, so avoid allowing wetness to remain on plant surfaces like leaves and stems for longer than necessary.

To remove excess moisture, gently tap the leaves or dab them with a dry paper towel; however, try to stay as far away from the mucilage as you can to prevent causing the leaves to fold.

The airflow in terrariums can be restricted, which can cause slower drying times if plants get wet. As a result, plants in terrariums should be constantly monitored.

A terrarium with a panel or window that can be left open to increase ventilation is preferable. Make sure water is not dripping or collecting on the leaves of the plants in the terrarium.

Cut off affected portions with clean, sharp scissors and toss them in the trash if you notice any spots of gray, fuzzy mold developing. Before cutting any other plants, make sure your scissors are clean.

While fungicides could be applied, they may damage a delicate sundew, so avoid resorting to this if possible.

Root Rot

Any Pygmy Sundew must have consistently moist soil to survive, though overwatering is still a possibility. Even though it seems contradictory, in the wild, these plants would reach below the soil's surface to access water—they wouldn't be sitting in saturated soil.

When you press your fingers into wet soil, it feels soupy or releases water, indicating that the soil is too wet. Wilting, leaf loss, and die-off can result from oversaturated soil. When plants are infected, a potent, mold-like odor may also come from the soil or roots.

Fungal and bacterial infections caused by a host of various pathogens, such as Armillaria mellea and Phytophthora oomycetes, are more easily spread in soil that is very wet. The symptoms of either infection are the same as the symptoms of overwatering.

To examine the plant's roots, take it out of the ground. They must not have an unpleasant odor or a slimy texture, and they should be firm, white or brown, and healthy.

Using a pair of sharp, clean scissors, remove any diseased or damaged parts of the roots or tubers as well as any dead or dying leaves or stems. To combat bacterial spores or fungal spores on the roots, a sulfur-based fungicide or neem extract can be applied sparingly.

Put the used soil in a bag and the trash. Before repotting, clean the container or terrarium and allow it to completely dry.

To repot the plant, use fresh carnivorous plant mix and distilled water, and avoid overwatering to lower the risk of reinfection.

Best Uses

If you don't mind the extra maintenance requirements, a Pygmy Sundew might be the ideal addition to your home if you want to add a delightful living element of enchantment.

In a sunny window or under a grow light, Pygmy Sundew can be potted and placed.

They can also be used as part of a multi-species bog garden with other carnivorous plants like butterwort, pitcher plants, and Venus flytraps, or they can be planted in terrariums or other indoor environments. You might even be able to add a few varieties of orchids.

You might think about moving your plants outdoors in the spring and summer, weather permitting, if you'd like to put them to use and lessen the amount of food you'll need to provide.

They can help with insect control if your area's temperatures during these seasons range between 60 and 90 °F and you have a sunny spot on your porch or patio. They adore those pesky mosquitoes and gnats, after all.

Instead of moving the plants into direct sunlight or an area with a significant temperature difference, make sure to give them a few days to a week to adjust to the outdoor environment.

Make sure to inspect the plants before bringing them inside after being outdoors to ensure that you are not bringing pests into your house.


Pygmy sundews enjoy being fully exposed to the sun. When powered sufficiently, artificial lighting sources like LED or fluorescent tubes also produce good results. In the summer, lighting should be left on for 12 to 14 hours, while in the winter, it should be left on for 8 to 10 hours.