The formidable Octopus Plant – Drosera species (Sundews)
Red hairs and glistening droplets attract insects.
Tentacles actually move to smother victims with glue!
Does your Octopus Plant not have any dew droplets on the red tentacles? This is because the humidity is too low for the plant. To increase the humidity set the plant in a dish/tray/tupperware with about an inch of standing water. The plant will now have plenty of water and never get thirsty. Don't worry, the Octopus plant naturally grows in swamps with standing water. O, and don't forget...ALWAYS USE DISTILLED WATER!!!!
DO put your plant in a place where gnats, ants, and bugs can come to ‘visit.’ Or catch a few small insects and put them in the plastic box and close it. Note how long it takes the insects to get trapped.
DO provide high humidity around the plants. If your air humidity is 50% or greater, remove your plant from the plastic box. If you live in a dry area, plant it in a terrarium or leave it in the plastic box it came in. Remove the top twist tie so heat does not build up inside.
DO give your plant as much light as possible. Put your plant in a bright window.
DO water often. Octopus plants grow in wet boggy areas. Keep water in the bottom saucer at all times.
DON’T put a closed terrarium in direct sunlight. The heat will cook the plants inside.
DON’T use any kind of water except distilled or rain water. Other types of water contain natural salts which will burn the edges of the leaves.
DON’T worry about needing to fertilize your plant. As long as it is trapping insects, it will have enough food.
DON’T be surprised if your plant blooms! With proper care, your plant will reward you with tall stems covered by beautiful flowers.
The plant eats flies!
Octopus Plants are active carnivores, or meat eaters.
Octopus Plants, also known as Sundews, get their name from their unique circle of leaves.
Each has tentacles, hundreds of them, balancing droplets of moisture that sparkle in the sunlight.
This is not dew which tips each leaf.
It is glue!
When a fly lands on the leaf, wings and feet stick together, trapping the insect.
Then in a miracle of the plant kingdom, the leave begins to move!
Sensing a meal, tentacles bend and the leaf curls.
As if controlled by magic, one after another the tentacle reach over and add one more dab of sticky glue, until the insect is embalmed in the clear liquid.
The liquid contains powerful digestive enzymes and acids.
Extraction of nutrients is quick – only 24-48 hours!
The digestive power of the Octopus Plant is unusually fast when compared with other carnivorous plants.
When finished, the tentacles release the carcass, ready for another meal.
While your octopus plant eats gnats, some of its larger cousins have been known to devour rats and small birds in briars of sticky leaves!
Seeing this, many people let their imaginations run wild.
They made up fantastic stories of plants with long arms and tentacles that could capture people!
Octopus Plants are found all around the world.
Some have long strap-like leaves.
Others have leaves which end in circular paddles.
All have glue tipped tentacles which hold and digest their prey.