Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

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Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by Sundews » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:14 am

First off sorry guys if I have been only asking questions but helping not helping to answer other peoples questions. I'm still new at this and don't want to give bad advice. So here's my set up . I have my sundews growing in a tray along side sphagnum moss. I like to grow them together because the sphagnum produces the soil that the sundews flourish in. The tray is in a South facing Window with a 6500k t5 ho light that runs 8hours a day. I'm in ohio btw.


So from the beginning the plants weren't doing vary well . I use rain water with 8 ppms and ro water with 100ppms. With about 4inches of sphagnum moss for the plants to grow in.
So what I'm looking towards having is lush thick moss with healthy strong plants producing tons of dew with lots of colors. I'm guessing most of you want the same thing so if any of you have experience towards this kinda growing it would be greatly appreciated. Here's some links what's your opinion on these.
.https://www.carnivorousplants.org/grow/ ... /terrarium
https://sarracenia.com/faq/faq6010c.html

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by jpappy789 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:43 pm

What is the source of RO water that you are using (e.g. purchased from store, your own filter, etc.)? 100 ppm is really high for RO water and that may be at least part of the issue of why the plants weren't doing well. It's usually recommended to stay <50 ppm for more mineral-sensitive CPs like sundews.

As for the terrariums, which species are you trying to grow? I am personally not a huge fan because I think they mostly just get in the way. In my experience, most Drosera do not need that high of humidity unless your living situation has your ambient humidity <30% or so. And having a lot of moss around will help keep the humidity directly around the plants a bit higher than what's in the room.

Posting a picture of your current setup might help people get a better idea of what you currently have.

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by Sundews » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:56 pm

IMG_20191120_164224.jpg
The plants barley produce any dew .
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The moss has not grown much since I received it and it's been over a year. And it doesn't look very attractive in my living room.
IMG_20191120_164205.jpg (1001.62 KiB) Viewed 238 times
IMG_20191120_164213.jpg
IMG_20191120_164213.jpg (838.49 KiB) Viewed 238 times
jpappy789 wrote:What is the source of RO water that you are using (e.g. purchased from store, your own filter, etc.)? 100 ppm is really high for RO water and that may be at least part of the issue of why the plants weren't doing well. It's usually recommended to stay <50 ppm for more mineral-sensitive CPs like sundews.



As for the terrariums, which species are you trying to grow? I am personally not a huge fan because I think they mostly just get in the way. In my experience, most Drosera do not need that high of humidity unless your living situation has your ambient humidity <30% or so. And having a lot of moss around will help keep the humidity directly around the plants a bit higher than what's in the room.

Posting a picture of your current setup might help people get a better idea of what you currently have.
the ro unit is old like 10 or 11years. But I replace the filters regularly. My straight well water is over 700 ppms. So it does I good job for what it's up to. I could replace the unit.
The reason why I considered a terrariums is because I thought it might help the moss and the burning on the leaves of the plants.

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by jpappy789 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:32 pm

Sphagnum can "burn" under suboptimal conditions: too much direct light, too hot, bad water, etc. A lack of dew on Drosera usually means too little light as long as their other needs are met. Given the two issues, I would change your water first and see if that helps. But you may have to eventually ditch the live Sphagnum if you want your dews to really look their best (or keep lower-light sundews like D. adelae instead).

Do you know how many stages your RO unit has? I've never had to deal with anything more than 350-400ppm, but a 5-stage RO/DI had no issues getting that down to 0 ppm consistently. I would think about either upgrading to a unit that can bring the TDS down more consistently, or purchasing RO/distilled water.

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by SundewWolf » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:43 pm

I don't think the issue with your plants is due to the fact that they aren't in deep, lush, live sphagnum. To me that peat/substrate looks like it may be old, or too damp, as it's growing algae and has likely compacted and gone anaerobic in some areas.

I haven't really gotten my sphagnum to grow well in terrariums for whatever reason, but I do have my drosera intermedia and rotundifolia growing in pots outside in live sphagnum which I layered like a bog and keep them in fairy high water through the summer.
Your's look like capensis and maybe capillaris? The capensis would likely do better if repotted into a fresh mix of sphag and perlite and kept a little less wet that what's needed to grow sphagnum. Of course in a high humidity terrarium the sphag would grow better but you don't really need that for capensis. The capillaris would probably do fine in either fresh peat or sphagnum. Like I said, I think if you repotted into fresh substrate you don't have to worry about building a terrarium or changing this set up too much. Sometimes my sundews sulk but then bounce back after a fresh repotting.

Also how old are your t5's? I heard they loose strength over time and some even say to replace the bulbs every 2 years. I've almost entirely switched over to LED so obviously I recommend them, but if those t5's are old and you don't want a new light I would switch them out for new bulbs. Of course the sphagnum could burn under higher light the sundews would appreciate so we run into another potential issue of why growing them in live sphag may not be the best solution here.

The water is also kinda high for sundews, I would look into lowering that a lot and in the mean time watering with as close to 0ppm as you can.
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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by Sundews » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:16 pm

I should start using distilled water I don't see why not and it's not that expensive.




The sun could be burning the plants. I have a t8 four ft light with 6 bulbs in the basement. I could move the plants in my room and hang the light over the plants Would that be better?. I don't know a lot about t 8s besides they grow tomato seedlings well.
If I did move the set up I could set it on my wire shelf and punch some holes in the tray so it would allow for drainage. I would also like to try and keep the moss if possible with the plants because I know they grow alongside each other in the wild ...right ?
Last edited by Sundews on Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by Sundews » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:39 pm

SundewWolf wrote:I don't think the issue with your plants is due to the fact that they aren't in deep, lush, live sphagnum. To me that peat/substrate looks like it may be old, or too damp, as it's growing algae and has likely compacted and gone anaerobic in some areas.

I haven't really gotten my sphagnum to grow well in terrariums for whatever reason, but I do have my drosera intermedia and rotundifolia growing in pots outside in live sphagnum which I layered like a bog and keep them in fairy high water through the summer.
Your's look like capensis and maybe capillaris? The capensis would likely do better if repotted into a fresh mix of sphag and perlite and kept a little less wet that what's needed to grow sphagnum. Of course in a high humidity terrarium the sphag would grow better but you don't really need that for capensis. The capillaris would probably do fine in either fresh peat or sphagnum. Like I said, I think if you repotted into fresh substrate you don't have to worry about building a terrarium or changing this set up too much. Sometimes my sundews sulk but then bounce back after a fresh repotting.

Also how old are your t5's? I heard they loose strength over time and some even say to replace the bulbs every 2 years. I've almost entirely switched over to LED so obviously I recommend them, but if those t5's are old and you don't want a new light I would switch them out for new bulbs. Of course the sphagnum could burn under higher light the sundews would appreciate so we run into another potential issue of why growing them in live sphag may not be the best solution here.

The water is also kinda high for sundews, I would look into lowering that a lot and in the mean time watering with as close to 0ppm as you can.

My picture just isn't any good there is no water standing in the tray . It's actually damp or slightly dry to the touch.
Yes the substrate is old like a year and a half. It was hard to find pure sphagnum in my area so I have not replaced it in a while. Is there any way I could save the old stuff they are currently growing in. like rinsing the substrate. If not I'm sure I could find some more. The plants are not growing in the live sphagnum but the soil near by. Would it be better if I planted them in the live stuff? Yes I agree the unhealthy sphagnum is not why the plants are dieing. I thought the sundews might be getting sun burnt. Yes you have the species right. I forgot what the seller told me they were actually called but now I remember.

I don't know if you watch Brads green house "you tube" but his plants grown along side sphagnum moss is where I originally thought of my idea. Also what lights would you recommend.I don't like the red leds but grow aquarium led lights seem ok.

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by jpappy789 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:00 am

Sundews like a lot of light, so I would be skeptical if the sunlight is somehow too much.

I echo the comment about changing media though.

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by mcgrumpers » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:38 pm

Sphagnum can take a lot of light if properly acclimated. It grows better in full sun since sphagnum strands tend to etoliate in low light, but it needs a lot of water and/or humidity to avoid getting burned. What temperature and humidity is your setup seeing?

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by twitcher » Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:19 pm

I'm in PA so we have similar climates. Please consider the following:

1. With the level of TDS in your RO, you should flush out your trays regularly. Consider having water that is 100 TDS in the tray. It evaporates leaving the minerals behind. You add the same amount of water with 100 TDS, which absorbs the minerals left behind, so now you have 200 TDS water in the tray. While this is a simplification for illustration purposes, the principle hold. I use 0 TDS ro water but after a month or two when I check the TDS water in the trays, it has increased.

Check your water in the trays! Use a TDS meter. Periodically drain, rinse, wipe dry before reusing. This helps maintain cleanliness as well and slows down pest algae.

2. I agree with the comments above regarding lighting. However I suggest using the light for a longer period of time. I keep my CP's under light for 12-16 hours per day. Moving out of the window could help if sunlight is too hot or bright.

3. I would not let the sundews sit in a tray that does not have any water. Minimum half inch at all times unless there is a specific reason for letting them dry, such as dormancy for some of the species at which point they need a separate tray.
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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by Sundews » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:36 am

twitcher wrote:I'm in PA so we have similar climates. Please consider the following:

1. With the level of TDS in your RO, you should flush out your trays regularly. Consider having water that is 100 TDS in the tray. It evaporates leaving the minerals behind. You add the same amount of water with 100 TDS, which absorbs the minerals left behind, so now you have 200 TDS water in the tray. While this is a simplification for illustration purposes, the principle hold. I use 0 TDS ro water but after a month or two when I check the TDS water in the trays, it has increased.

Check your water in the trays! Use a TDS meter. Periodically drain, rinse, wipe dry before reusing. This helps maintain cleanliness as well and slows down pest algae.

2. I agree with the comments above regarding lighting. However I suggest using the light for a longer period of time. I keep my CP's under light for 12-16 hours per day. Moving out of the window could help if sunlight is too hot or bright.

3. I would not let the sundews sit in a tray that does not have any water. Minimum half inch at all times unless there is a specific reason for letting them dry, such as dormancy for some of the species at which point they need a separate tray.


Thanks I will definitely consider all of this. and I'm going to flush out the tray I used my tds meter and it s 250 .!! That's a lot. When I siphoned out some of the water that I filled the tray with that's what I tested.

I believe the glass could be magnifying the light?

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by twitcher » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:31 am

The TDS of 250 is likely the problem. It is also easily fixed. I would pursue that route and not change the other stuff until you verify that is the cause. Changing too many things at once makes it hard to isolate a cause for a problem.

Good luck.
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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by steve booth » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:23 am

The increasing TDS from watering with relatively high TDS water is your problem as twitcher describes, once that is sorted and you can get the light right everything will grow well. The Sphagnum well enough to overgrow your smaller sundews, so beware what you wish for.

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by Sundews » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:57 pm

jpappy789 wrote:Sundews like a lot of light, so I would be skeptical if the sunlight is somehow too much.

I echo the comment about changing media though.

Today I just decided to move the plants out of my living room and into my work room. If the plants start to look better and the moss fills out because I have begun rinsing the medium regularly. Then I most likely will move it back into my living room. I'm still using the t5 but the problem with this fixture it the bulb is not standard in length so you have to buy directly from the seller when replacing it. And it only lights a narrow line . So do you think white LEDs will work?

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Re: Sphagnum moss grown with Sundews? Question.

by jpappy789 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:51 am

White LEDs shouldn't be a problem so long as they are still bright enough. Were you able to find a better source of RO or distilled water?

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