In the plant world there are many plants that could be categorize as 'the pretties'. There are also those out there that could be categorized as the scary monsters and super creeps...the crazy cool carnivores. Carnivores or carnivorous plants, in my opinion, are the new succulent. For the past decade everyone has been going gaga over the trendiness of succulents. Well, they better move over because there's a new hipster in town; the carnivore. Carnivores are known for their alien aesthetic and sinister ways. Their sinister ways are the fun part! One such sexy beast is Drosera capensis commonly referred to as the Cape Sundew. It comes to us from the bogs, marshes, and wet grasslands of South Africa. It has the special talent for masquerading as a sweet nectar covered candy store open for any insects that might want to drop in for a sugar fix.
Drosera capensis grow as a basal rosette of grass-like foliage the color of crisp green apples. As these grass-like blades of foliage unfurl they reveal ends dressed in what look like teeny tiny antennae, each holding a delicious drop of a nectar-like substance on its end. In daylight, this plant looks as though its covered with a fine misting of dew. The look is mysteriously alluring.
The dewdrops of Drosera capensis attract insects looking for a sample of something sweet. What the insects don't realize is that it's a trap. The nectar-like substance they seek may be attractive but it is very, very sticky. Once an insect touches one of these dewy antennae, the tentacle-like structures begin to move and curl with the leaf surface to adhere to any surface of the insect they can touch. In the end, the insect is wrapped by the leaf and smothered with a dewy enzyme that slowly digests them providing the plant with nutrients. Diabolical but definitely cool to see!
Drosera capensis grow 6 inches tall and wide. They're little guys. This makes a great plant for a curious collector or kids that are easily intrigued by creepy coolness. These plants like growing in a moistened mix of peat moss, sand, and sphagnum moss. Drosera capensis are subtropical plants, so they do their growing when temps are 40 degrees fahrenheit/4 degrees celsius or above. As far as where to grow a Drosera capensis, try indoors on a bright windowsill or in a container out of doors when temperatures are warm. If you want to learn more about carnivorous plants or order your own, check out California Carnivores.