Drosera binata varietiesDrosera binata, commonly known as the Forked-Leaf Sundew, is known for its ability to become a large insect-catching "bush". On top of this, there are several varieties, which are capable of developing massive forked-leaves. Drosera binata is a very adaptable and is great for beginning sundew growers. Below, I will explain each variety including the temperate D. binata var. dichotoma "T-form" and dichotoma 'Giant' as well as the stunning tropical and subtropical varieties: D. binata var. multifida "extrema" and D. binata 'Marston Dragon'. Drosera binata can be found throughout southern Australia as well as New Zealand and Tasmania. For more pictures of D. binata in its natural habitat, check out this link.
A very small D. binata var. dichotoma "T-form"
Drosera binata var. multifida "extrema"
A young D. binata var. dichotoma 'Giant'
A "weed" seedling of Drosera binata (Tairua Bog, NZ)
The hibernaculum of a dormant D. binata "T-form"
D. binata var. dichotoma "T-form" flowers
D. binata (Tairua Bog, New Zealand) seedlings
6-month old Drosera binata var. dichotoma "T-form" leaf cuttings (never fed)
Click here to see the above picture in High-Res
Drosera binata 'Marston Dragon' flower
Media: very adaptable. I've had success with 1:1 peat: sand (silica) as well as 100% dead or living long-fibered sphagnum. Perlite can be added as well, as needed.
Be sure to rinse your media before you use it
Media moisture: keep moist. Drosera binata can be grown in waterlogged soils as well.
Humidity: not much needed, but I'd recommend at least 50% for optimum growth. Try 75-85+% if you want to maximal dew production.
Pot height: does quite well in smaller 2 to 3-inch pots, but the large roots can become crowded. Use taller pots (6-10+ inches tall) to encourage the largest possible growth.
Trapping speed: reasonably fast. Tentacles usually curl around food within 10 minutes. Leaves generally do not curl noticeably around prey unless the food size is quite large.
Feeding: Feed once every two weeks or sooner (if not growing outdoors) for the fastest, largest growth. See feeding page. Feeding also encourages flowering.
Food size: medium. a lot of food can be loaded onto a single leaf.
Plant dimensions: Drosera binata varieties generally become quite large. D. binata var. dichotoma 'Giant' is known to be the largest, which has been known to reach heights from 1.5-2+ feet on average. The "T-form" generally produces leaves from 6-9 inches long. D. binata var. multifida "extrema" is commonly grown in hanging baskets, since its leaves tend to "droop" in lower light conditions. However, if given plenty of light, it can grow into a large, upright bush.
Temperature: not picky. Has grown well for me in the temp range of 40-85 degrees F. If the temperatures drop any lower than that, all varieties will usually go dormant.
Lighting/Photoperiod: Give all forms of Drosera binata as much light as possible. When not outdoors, I grow mine under T-8 lights with a 16-hour photoperiod. Leaves of all forms can turn bright red if given enough light (or if not fed for a while).
Dormancy requirements: A cold dormancy period is normally recommended for D. binata "T-form" or other "typical" varieties. Evidently, D. binata var. dichotoma 'Giant' dies back to the roots during the cold months for its dormancy, but it has done fine for me without dormancy for 3 years now. The 'Giant' as well D. 'Marston Dragon and D. binata var. multifida "extrema" can be grown year-round if grown indoors during the cold months. I highly recommend the tray method. Drosera binata will come back from the roots if is subjected to mild freezing temperatures. The "T-form" will form a hibernacula during this time (see picture to the left), but all other forms seem to die back to the roots. Last winter, my "extrema" died back to the roots, and I thought it died. However, it sent up a new clump of plants in the spring.
Flowers: D. binata varieties generally have somewhat large flowers compared to other species. The flowers are formed on very robust stalks, which usually form several pedicels. The flowers are white with broad petals. There is one form of D. binata var. multifida that has pink flowers. Many forms of D. binata (ie D. binata var. multifida, D. binata var. dichotoma 'Giant' and D. binata 'Marston Dragon') are not capable of self-pollinating and a genetically different plant must be used in order to obtain seeds. However, there are several location forms of D. binata var. dichotoma from New Zealand that are capable of self-pollinating (ICPS).
Propagation Techniques(click here to learn more about propagating sundews)
Seed: generally easy. Cold stratification is evidently not required, but helps increase the germination rate of older seeds. Can be grown to flowering maturity from seed in about 1-1.5 years if fed approx. every 2 weeks.
Leaf-cuttings: easy. water floating method works best. Place directly under lights for the hightest success rate.
Flower stalk cuttings: a "must try!" Flower stalks from D. binata varieties are extremely robust and are capable of forming the largest plantles in the shortest amount of time in comparison to typical leaf cuttings (click here to see a picture). I've even had great success with flower stalk cuttings that had opened all of its flowers already. I usually cut up the flower stalk into several larger pieces so I can fit it into the container I'm using.
Root cuttings: extremely easy. All D. binata varieties produce an abundance of long, thick roots that are perfect for cuttings.
Divisions: easy, unless there is a huge clump tangled together :). D. binata tends to form clumps over time, so dormancy is a great time to divide. If this isn't possible, and you don't mind having a bush, then you can leave them in a clump and the plants will do just fine. D. binata varieties have no trouble dealing with repotting and root disturbance as long as you're careful, so divisions can be taken easily. For the best results, avoid subjecting recently divided plants to elevated temperatures or low humidity.
Additional Questions or Suggestions?
Contact me at: sundewman(at)yahoo.com