--- home for tuberous drosera

Getting started...

Once you made the decision that you would like to try growing tuberous drosera you have the possibility to start either with plants during some stage of the growth cycle, let them be adults or youngsters, or alternatively with dormant tubers or finally from seeds. A seed germination guide can be found in a later section. Therefore I will focus here both the growing plants and the tubers.

It will be appealling to someone new to this field to have a plant in full growth from the beginning as this allows to watch it grow. That is quite different from the tubers which will need weeks or months until some plant appears at the surface. However, the plants in growth are much more sensitive and can be more easily damaged during shipment. Usually, such damage is not permanent if the tuber forming stolon is not affected. Even then the plant may produce tubers, but the plant will be smaller during the next growing season.

If you can pick up a plant during its growth cycle somewhere, it is a great opportunity. However, in most cases the availability will be limited to dormant tubers.
In the northern hemisphere tubers will be available from about may to about september with the peak season being in june and july, give or take a few weeks. If you find tubers offered during winter, they will be most likely imports from the southern hemisphere, usually Australia. As those need to be adapted to the northern growth cycle, I do not recommend those for starters.

When should I plant the tubers?

OK, at some stage you may have found a source for tubers. Once more you are faced with several options, both having some advantages of their own. The tubers usually will come packed in ziplock bags either without any substrate or with a small amount of substrate. I usually send them without substrate with the exception of tubers which tend to desiccate more easily.

Please be aware that any tuber will desiccate (dry out) at some stage, usually smaller tubers are more prone to do so than larger tubers. In addition, some species or forms of species are more sensitive than others but none can be stored without moisture forever.

The easiest possibility to reduce the danger of desiccation is to add some substrate with residual moisture. That can be obtained by mixing moist peat with silica sand (please check the substrate section for more details). Unfortunately, too much moisture can be deadly as well, as then the tubers may rot. Once more, some species are more prone to rot than others. So this is all about a good compromise, and I recommend to store the tubers dry but not bone dry.
You will note that the ziplock bags loose moisture over time as well. You may want to add some moisture after storing the tubers for a couple of months in these bags.

The major advantage of storing the tubers in ziplock bags is that you will be easily able to check on their status. Once a stolon is developing you can plant them.

The protection from desiccation can equally be achieved by planting the tubers into slightly moist substrate upon arrival. Of course, you will be able to watch the stolon forming this way. However, this is made up in my experience by the much easier care during dormancy. I slightly (really slightly!) spray the pots with some water every other week or so to keep the upper substrate layer moist. Smaller tubers can usually be found in the upper substrate layers and those dry out faster than the lower parts.
Another advantage of keeping the tubers potted during dormancy is that at least in those cases where I had some tubers potted and others in ziplock bags, the potted tubers much earlier started to grow and appeared at the substrate surface when the ziplock bag tubers only showed first signs of new growth. That is not much of a surprise, as moisture is reported to trigger growth and the other way around, dry conditions may cause the tubers to inhibit growth. This seems to be a useful adaption to the natural environment as this may allow the tubers to survive during extremely dry winters.

Please respect that all texts and photos were created by me and may not be used without my permission.