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By obes5078
Posts:  2
Joined:  Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:44 pm
First time poster here looking for some advice on what I might be doing wrong in caring for a couple of sundews. I have a collection of 4 different D. Capensis and a D. Aliciae. All the plants are currently kept indoors (it's still cold in upstate NY) in a converted aquarium. The humidity in the tank is around 75% with the hinged lid closed. They were initially under a shop light with a 1600 lumens sunlight bulb. A month ago I added a 16w red/blue led light as well.

Last night while I was checking on the plants, I noticed that, while still very dewy, some of the leaf tips were turning brown on some of the D. Capensis. D. Aliciae was not very dewy at all and also had what appeared to be some browning on the tips of the new growth.

I'm thinking that I may have restricted the air circulation too much in my attempt to keep the humidity up. Also, while the tank was very humid, I think I let the soil get too dry (it was still damp, but nowhere near as wet as when they first arrived from the nursery). I'm also wondering if I am giving the plants too much light too quickly.

Would any of the above errors, or any combination of the 3, cause the browning and/or lack of dew that I'm seeing? Thanks in advance for any help.


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By nimbulan
Posts:  2076
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
Generally that only happens when the plant is stressed. Lack of water is a possibility, but I'd expect to see wilting before any other problems. Most people keep these plants in shallow trays of water. What is the temperature like inside the tank? What is your water source?

I should also note that elevated humidity should not be necessary for either of those plants, and you're likely making things harder on yourself by enclosing them.
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By Fishman
Posts:  854
Joined:  Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:16 pm
Try the Capensis outside of the terrarium. I have them growing on windowsills, tables, garage, back patio table etc and they do excellent. Just keep it on a plate with water and let the sun do the rest :)
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By obes5078
Posts:  2
Joined:  Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:44 pm
Thanks for the replies. I broke my thermometer, so I don't have an accurate temperature reading at the moment. It usually stays around 70 degrees F upstairs where the terrarium is. The interior of the tank might be a couple degrees warmer, but excessively so. I water with only distilled water. Rather than have individual trays under each plant, I had been treating the bottom of the tank as one, big "tray" and pouring about 1/8th of an inch of distilled water directly into the bottom of the tank since it's watertight.

I forgot to mention in my original post that I did start seeing algae in the tank, which I'm assuming is from the elevated humidity and lack of ventilation. I've read conflicting opinions on whether algae is an problem for adult plants, but I cleaned the tank as a precaution. I have also, since reading your replies about humidity, replaced the lid with a mesh screen. The humidity has dropped to about 60%.
Oddly, my capensis did the same as yours when it was flowering in my terrarium.
All of the plants with the exception of the D. Capensis "red" are sending up flower stalks. Could this also be contributing if the plants are already stressed for other reasons?

The only other thing that I can think of having changed recently is that I've been a little lax about turning off the plant lights as soon as I get home from work. I've been delaying until just before bed, so they have been getting a few more hours of light each day than they had been. Based on the color of the D. Capensis "red" and the tentacles on the other plants, I assumed they appreciated it. Could the extended photoperiod be too much for them right now?

Also, I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts about the D. Aliciae specifically. Even with the browning tips on some leaves, the D. Capensis is still very dewy. With the exception of a small, offshoot plant, the dew on all of D. Aliciae's leaves seems to be gone.

Thanks again for the help.
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By nimbulan
Posts:  2076
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
Algae in the water shouldn't be a problem, but it can be an indication of mineral buildup. Personally, I've had algae in my water trays that I haven't bothered to clean for probably a year, but it's still reading 20 TDS on my meter and the plants are all fine.
By tommyr
Posts:  1504
Joined:  Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:38 am
I say get them out of the terrarium. My capensis do fine as normal houseplants. It may be too humid and no air flow.
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