Feeding Sundew Seedlings

Aphids can be easily fed to young Drosera seedlings.

Aphids can be easily fed to young Drosera seedlings.

3 months old Drosera capensis seedling eating aphids.

3 months old Cape sundew seedling eating aphids.

Some people feed their young Drosera seedlings dry fish food, since it’s time of the year with abundance of insects outside, I intend to use living food.

I introduced springtails into the soil mix that I used for sundew seedlings by sheer accident. They were happily living in sphagnum moss I gathered and mixed into the soil. I soon discovered that small creatures often ended up being caught in tiny little carnivorous traps. Springtails primarily eat fungus and algae on moist soil and don’t attack even the smallest and most fragile seedlings, so they are safe to use as janitors and easy prey for growing carnivore seedlings.
I isolated several springtails and started growing whole colony in separated glass container. I used Agar as moisture and food source and gave them a tiny chunk of potato, which eventually started to decay. Springails enjoyed their new home and started multiplying.

Springtails and aphids are ideal food for small carnivorous seedlings.

Springtails and aphids are ideal food for small carnivorous seedlings.

In a couple of weeks there were thousands and I was able to blow them from their container into the pot full of Drosera capensis Alba seedlings. When traps get larger, it’s easier to feed small insects, so I started looking for appropriate food for my carnivores. I started with live aphids, but soon realized that they can multiply and some extremely small aphids managed to somehow escape the traps. I caught all the escapees and helped them get caught. Since then, I always put them into the freezer for a couple of days, together with aphid infected leaf. That way I can be sure they are all dead and harmless. When larger leaves appear, they can easily digest a mosquito.

During the summer and fall, there can be a lot of fruit flies around decaying fruit. I found a way to easily feed my sundews during the night by putting a small LED light so it lights up the sundew I’d like to feed. When you force flies or fruit flies into the air, they instinctively follow the light. In only a couple of minutes, you can end up with well fed sundew, completely covered with small flies.

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