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The Tuberous Drosera

Adapting Tuber

How to Adapt Tubers from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere

Because of the tilt of the earth's axis towards the sun, the seasons of the northern and southern hemisphere are reversed. When there is the summertime in down under the north Americans and Europeans are cold and when the Northern’s are having barbeque in a hot summer night the Aussies are wearing winter clothes.

Because the tuberous Drosera are heavy adapted to the climatic conditions of the southern hemisphere, they need to be acclimated to the reverse seasons if they are brought to the northern hemisphere, which can be quite challenging. First of all: pot them into nearly dry medium

If you got tubers from Australia, you will usually get them from January to March and then there are three different possibilities:

Option 1

The tubers won't sprout until the next growing season (happens rarely to never).

In this case, you’re very lucky! If the tubers remain without getting rotted or shriveled because of dehydrating and didn’t sprout, then let them remain like this. If they don’t sprout during the next autumn, very lightly water them (dropwise!) to coax them to sprout. This is a hypothetical situation, since this has never happened to me and I never heard about it happening before.

Option 2

The tubers start to sprout after you receive them (happens often).

This happens quite often because the internal biological clock of the tubers triggers them to start sprouting in April or May, which is the beginning of the growing season in Australia. When this happens, pot the tubers as described above.

There are two different ways. The first is to give then a short growing period. Water them and let them grow, until they reach their full size. Let them grow for about one or two months and then stop watering. Because of the short growing season, the plant can’t collect enough energy and as a result, the tubers will be smaller than when you received them. The second is to let then grow as long as the want to grow. In the recent times I used to use the first method and right now I use the second. In both cases you can get good results.

Because of the summer temperatures, it is possible that they will start to dry out even though they are still in wet media. In this case, immediately stop watering when you see the first signs. I have lost some tubers because they have rotted at this point. Now let the pot remain like this until you see a new sprout coming out of the soil. If everything works well, this could happen when the temperatures are dropping in winter. But usually, they are a month or two later for the first or second seasons. So don’t worry if the others are emerging and the new ones are still in dormancy, possibly dreaming of flies and cold, wet weather :). If the new plant is coming out during the winter, then you've managed to adapt them to your conditions!

Option 3

The tubers grow continuously until the next summer (happens occasionally).

If you are at the point that the tubers start to grow, you potted them, let them grow, and even if you stop watering the leaves don’t become brown, then you have 2 choices:

a. Water them again in order to let them grow the whole summer long or

b. wait until they will dry out

This is a difficult choice to make. Apart from some species, which are known to grow sometimes whole year long like Drosera gigantea and Drosera auriculata, I would recommend not watering them again. However, it depends on the circumstances.

Option 4

A new tuber forms directly out of the old one (happens rarely).

Once I got a tuber of Drosera obriculata from Australia. It starts to grow and a very tiny stolon was visible. I potted and treated it as described above and waited and waited. After a month I could bear it no longer because nothing happened and look fort he tuber. I saw that directly under the tuber a second tuber was formed, nearly of the same size. I let the tuber in the pot with the slightly moist medium. In October I started to give a few drops of water each week and keep it at a cool place. End of December it starts to grow. Since then, it grows like the other.

Watch your plants closely!

There were a lot of possibilities and none of them is the only one right in a situation. You should observe your plants very closely and, if necessary and something seems strange to you, look in the pot to see what the tubers are doing there. It may also be that two tubers of the same species that you got together behave differently. This adaptation process is not something that nature has intended and means stress for the plants and it is quite possible that you can lose tubers in this process, which is of course very annoying.