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By Hypersapien
Posts:  5
Joined:  Fri Apr 07, 2023 12:48 am
#433256
I picked up this little guy from a nursery recently, it was only labelled as "Carnivorous Plant". The store owner said it looked like some kind of Drosera, but that he wasn't particularly knowledgeable about them. Does anyone recognize what species it is?

I've been giving it distilled water, and keeping it in my garage under grow lights, as it's pretty cold and cloudy in Seattle still. I'm wondering if these are several plants grown from many seeds that are clustered together, and if they should have been thinned out at some point? Its hard to tell in these photos, but It looks to me like they are sprouting from several different origin points (but without knowing the species, and being new to carnivorous plants, I don't know what to compare it to).

Also, I just noticed it got it's first kill (that I've seen). Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
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By ChefDean
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Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
#433263
Yes, Drosera. Maybe tokaiensis. A pic of an open flower can sometimes be a better way to tell what species.
Many sundews do OK clustered, but those might be beginning to get a little too cozy. Thinning them out will let them stretch their legs a bit, but they'll not look good for a few weeks after due to shock. But they'll eventually come back around.
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By evenwind
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#433278
I'd agree that they can be thinned. What I'd do, especially since you're new at this, is slip pot them into several pots to give them room without disturbing them too much. To do that, I'd make sure the medium is damp enough to hold together and flex the sides of pot, so tipping the pot lets the whole root ball come out as a single piece. Then using a dull blade, gently cut the root ball across the middle of the clump to create two to four pieces. Each piece can then be slip potted individually into a new pot. If all goes well, you'll wind up with multiple pots of plants that are happy to spread out. And, yes, cut the flower stalks.
By Hypersapien
Posts:  5
Joined:  Fri Apr 07, 2023 12:48 am
#433279
Thanks for the tip! I probably wouldn't have had the courage to cut through the root ball if you hadn't recommended it, hah. Even if they don't all survive, it will still be a good learning experience. I picked up a small bag of carnivorous soil mixture when I got this guy so I definitely can pot some more.

Why use a dull blade though? am I trying to separate the plants more than cut through them?
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By evenwind
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#433281
Hypersapien wrote: Fri Apr 07, 2023 5:10 pm Why use a dull blade though? am I trying to separate the plants more than cut through them?
Right. The fewer cut ends, the less chance of problems. As you said, you want to push the roots apart where you can. BTW, expect the root ball to crumble - I've never had one that didn't. But you're just trying to kept the majority of the roots undusturbed and undamaged, if you can.
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By Intheswamp
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#433298
evenwind wrote: Fri Apr 07, 2023 5:42 pm
Hypersapien wrote: Fri Apr 07, 2023 5:10 pm Why use a dull blade though? am I trying to separate the plants more than cut through them?
Right. The fewer cut ends, the less change of problems. As you said, you want to push the roots apart where you can. BTW, expect the root ball to crumble - I've never had one that didn't. But you're just trying to kept the majority of the roots undusturbed and undamaged, if you can.
In the past I've divided tomato and pepper seedlings that were in a clump (usually only two or three seedlings) that I grew in a styrofoam cup. I would vertically cut the root ball only partially through on either side of the seedling. Next I would then gently "tease" it the rest of the way apart by grabbing that seedling's root ball using the cut grooves as my gripping point and "wiggling" the bulk of that seedling's root ball apart from the rest. Of course tomato seedlings are very hardy...I later simply carried the cups of multiple seedlings to the garden, ripped them apart, and transplanted them with doing any root ball cutting....they did fine. I still took care separating the pepper seedlings, though. You've got a lot more plants in that wad and I don't think sundews are as robust as tomato seedlings but if you keep them moist and humid I bet they'll do fine. I've also heard of folks using forks to tease the roots apart. The thing about it is that once the big root ball is softened a bit you may find that the plants separate fairly easily. :D Best wishes!!!
By Hypersapien
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Joined:  Fri Apr 07, 2023 12:48 am
#433697
Hey folks, thanks again for your help, just wanted to update you on my success: To my surprise I was able to separate TWENTY different plants from this teeny tiny pot. It helped that many were so young that there wasn't much of a root system to get entangled. Using tweezers and a little sculpting hook I was able to delicately tease apart the plants, with no major breakage of the roots.

I don't know how many of these guys will be viable, but I couldn't bear to throw them out so I planted each in a little starter cell. Wish me luck!
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By Intheswamp
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#433702
At a young age some of the sundews are *very* resilient. I had one in a pot of seedlings. I was picking at something with a plastic tool when I uprooted it. You could seriously only tell it had two or three tiny leaves on it. Well, I scooped it up with the tool and moved it to another pot that I had some sarrs seedlings growing in...I simply made a divot in the surface of the peat/perlite mix and barely poked it down into it. I might've even buried one of the leaves accidently.<grin> Anyhow, I think that little speck of green looked around and said, "Hey, new scenery!"...and never missed a lick growing. As long as they're kept moist, warm, and plenty of light they'll be happy! You'll probably lose a couple, but I bet you end up with a bunch of them maturing! ;)
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By Panman
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#433714
I always bag my seedlings transplants for a week or so to give the roots a chance to reestablish themselves.
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By Hypersapien
Posts:  5
Joined:  Fri Apr 07, 2023 12:48 am
#452568
To update this thread a year later, I regret making the decision to thin these plants out, as none of them survived a full year. At the time I felt I had separated them very delicately and hadn't damaged them, but the smallest of them died off almost immediately. Only the 2 largest plants made it to the following winter, but they did not recover during the next spring (or into the summer). Other similar plants I have are still doing well during these seasons, so I'm assuming its not an issue of dormancy.
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By ChefDean
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#452572
For them to survive that long, it likely wasn't the separating that did them in. Reading back through your thread, I see couple of questions that went unasked, a suggestion that may have gone unfollowed, and a possible action that was unnecessary.
Many commercially available carnivorous plant soils are entirely the wrong media, you don't want to use it as it will slowly kill your plant. What was it? If it's not the proper material, it likely killed the tiny plants almost immediately, and burned the surviving plants over time.
Plus, you said these were under grow lights in your garage. It's possible the grow light was inadequate and/or inappropriate. It could have burned the tiny plants while they were already stressed, then not been able to provide enough light for long term survival of the bigger plants. Do you know if it was a grow light appropriate for carnivorous plants? Or you simply used what you had?
It was suggested to bag the plants. This is to counteract transpiration, and allow time or the plants roots to settle in and make better contact with the media for improved water uptake. Was this done? Even if it was, without the proper media or lighting, it wouldn't have mattered long term.
Last, you mentioned dormancy as a possibility as to why the last ones died off. That's a very real possibility as the specific plants you had, assuming my ID was in the ballpark, do not require a dormancy. Although many subtropical sundews will recover fine if unnecessarily forced through a dormancy, yours were already not doing well due to numerous potential factors, and just may not have had the stored energy to live through it.
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