Propagating Drosera falconeri
Joseph Clemens

Propagating Drosera falconeri

I remember the first time I saw a Drosera falconeri; it was in the pages of the ICPS Newsletter, I'm not exactly sure when, but it sent a thrill through my body. Back then, I never expected I would ever have the opportunity to try to learn to grow this species.

Well, it is more than a decade later and I was able to purchase one and have the opportunity to learn to grow this amazing sundew.

At first I treated it like most of my other sundews and kept it together with them, but it was not performing well, it was growing smaller and weaker leaves, hardly had any dew or even properly formed "tentacles". So I contacted other people who have had some success growing it and other Petiolaris complex sundews. They said, "Give it heat, lots of heat". This sounded dangerous and I sure didn't want anything to cause the destruction of this marvelous plant, but I believed that if I didn't do something I would lose it.

So, I experimented. I placed the pot inside a quart size zip-loc bag, sealed the bag, and set it fairly near to a 100-watt incandescent light bulb; right away the temperature inside the zip-loc was well over 100F, more like 120F. I watched and waited and the plant did not die. Wow, that sure was a relief. I kept watching, closely, not only did the plant not die it began to grow, and quite vigorously, it grew much larger than it had ever been before and the entire plant assumed a dark reddish hue and it had grown larger trap leaves (dime-sized), than it had ever produced before, it started to initiate a flower stalk, afterward the crown split.

Okay, so now I could grow it well enough to have one good-looking plant. I wanted more than that, I wanted to propagate it so I could share it with others. I asked, and the one technique that was brought to my attention was to divide the plant by splitting the crown. Sure sounded dangerous. What if both pieces of the traumatized crown just rotted away? Well, I steeled my nerves and since the crown was already splitting naturally I figured I might not have a better opportunity to get more of my favorite sundew. I did it. I pulled the plant into two pieces, separating the two crowns. There were many basal leaf segments that were knocked loose in this process and I placed the smaller crown and the loose pieces into wet, long-fiber NZ Sphagnum Moss in a small translucent plastic box with a lid of the same material. I kept the plastic box within 2 inches of a 100-watt incandescent light. Disaster, this time I had the light too close and when I checked the "propagation ward" everything inside looked mushy, brown, and dead. I almost cried. But I moved the container farther from the light and tried to convince myself that something in there might survive. I waited a week before I looked inside the box again, I saw nothing, I used my magnifying loupe, and I still saw only dead rotten mush that once was Drosera falconeri flesh. I waited several more days, and when I had finally decided to either prepare the box for reuse or throw out the contents a little red sparkle caught my eye and I quickly grabbed my eye loupe. Now my heart was pounding, there was a miniature Drosera falconeri plant in a corner of the box. With the loupe I could see that it had grown out of the basal portion of a detached leaf stalk, very similar to how VFT can be propagated.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is the story of how I was able to vegetatively propagate Drosera falconeri. I am presently trying to duplicate the experience; I have carefully detached several basal leaf portions and placed them into the box with the little Drosera falconeri plant, which has already grown to nearly 3/8 inch (1cm) in diameter.

Perhaps some other brave soul wi