Drosera capensis varieties

Drosera capensis (the Cape Sundew) is the most common sundew in cultivation, since it is so easy to grow (once it is given favorable conditions). Drosera capensis originates from the subtropical Cape region of South Africa. Drosera capensis is commonly known to become a weed in sundew collections because the tall flower stalks produce copious amounts of seeds. There are many forms of Drosera capensis, which include the typical, narrow-leaf, broad-leaf, wide-leaf, "Red", 'Albino', Giant, and Bains Kloof forms, as well as many other location forms. Most forms of D. capensis that I've tried so far have been very easy and eye-catching sundews. I will further describe each form towards the bottom of the page.
  Drosera capensis 'Red form'
Drosera capensis 'Red' (not fed) grown under lights behind the typical form of D. capensis.

Drosera capensis 'Albino' leafDrosera capensis 'Typical' leaf
D. capensis 'Albino' (left)  and "typical" (right) 

Drosera capensis Typical grown indoors
 Drosera capensis (typical form) grown indoors

   Drosera capensis hibernacula hibernaculum resting bud dormancy
   Drosera capensis hibernacula (typical form)

Drosera capensis (typical form) flowers
 Flowers from Drosera capensis (typical form)

Drosera capensis "Red" (center), D. capensis x spatulata (left) and D. capensis (Bains Kloof) (right) Cape Sundews
  Drosera capensis "Red" (center), D. capensis x spatulata (left) and D. capensis (Bains Kloof) (right)
       Drosera capensis "Red" overhead view
    An overhead view of Drosera capensis "Red"

Forms of Drosera Capensis

Drosera capensis "Red"
Check out my youtube video of this sundew!
This is a fantastic form of D. capensis that develops vibrant red leaf coloration if given enough light intensity. The plant can become quite large, since the leaves can reach 2.5- 3 inches in length at maturity. This plant does a great job at maintaining its growth without being fed once it reaches maturity. However, while growth is maintained, If grown indoors and left unfed, it will flower much less (or not at all). It is commonly available from many carnivorous plant vendors and is a great sundew to start with! Forms a stalk over time.

Drosera capensis 'Albino'
This strikingly beautiful form can develop vibrant pink coloration on its tentacles if left unfed for a while or if given bright enough light intensity. Under bright light, the leaf lamina develops yellow-green coloration. The plant to the right was grown via the tray method indoors. The growth habit is virtually the same as the "typical" form. This plant will have more of an 'Albino' look if given less light. While some growers report that it grow well in lower lighting, I prefer giving this sundew as much light as possible so that the pink coloration can reach its full potential.

Drosera capensis (Bains Kloof)

Check out my youtube video of this sundew!
This form of Drosera capensis remains rather compact and the leaves do not get very large, regardless of how much it is fed, or how tall of a pot I have used. It gradually forms a stem over time, which is supported by dead growth. This sundew has never flowered for me.

Drosera capensis "Broad-Leaf"
This is a stunning form of D. capensis with leaves that are much wider than the typical form. I do not have this form yet, but hope to in the near future.

Drosera capensis "Wide-Leaf"
While I was not originally impressed by this form, after becoming established, it has grown on me ;). When fed, the leaves reach around 1.5-2 inches and larger (pic by JMatt) but if left unfed, the leaves decrease in size, and remain from 1-1.5 inches long. The petioles can become quite wide, depending on lighting and other factors, which provide this sundew with a varying appearance. Forms a stem slowly over time. This sundew has never flowered for me

Drosera capensis "Giant"

Supposedly, this plant is supposed to reach 60cm tall, and I have seen a picture of the true form. However, I believe that many "Giants" circulating around in cultivation are not the true "Giant" form. In my experience, I've noticed that the petioles are more elongated in comparison with the leaf than the 'Typical' form.


Can grow well in pretty much any medium. I have successfully grown Drosera capensis in 1 peat: 1 sand, pure Long-fibered sphagnum (LFS) 1 LFS: 1 perlite. Be sure to rinse your media before you use it

Media moisture:
 moist, though Drosera capensis can tolerate drier soils farily well.

not much needed. I'd recommend at least 50%. 

Pot height: Drosera capensis grow in most sizes of pots. I'd recommend 4 inches or taller, since Drosera capensis can develop a a long, branching root system. A tall pot will allow the roots to spread out, so the plant can reach its maximum height. 

Trapping speed:
moderate. Leaves will curl and fold drastically around food within a few hours. 

Feed your Drosera capensis once every two weeks for rapid, robust growth and flower production. See feeding pageFeeding encourages flowering.

Food size:
medium to large

Plant dimensions:
My typical form of D. capensis planted in a 12 inch pot reached 5+ inches across at maturity. Will form a stem over time. Drosera capensis 'Albino' will also generally form a stem over time. The giant form is supposed to grow exceptionally large,  but so far it has remained the same size as my typical Drosera capensis. The 'Red form' grows about the same size as the 'Typical' form, but its leaves are narrower.

not picky. Has grown well for me in the temp range of 45-90 degrees F. Give Drosera capensis subtropical conditions. 

I grow mine under  T-8 lights with a 16-hour photoperiod. Drosera capensis 'Typical' can develop red-orange leaves in intense light. The 'Red' form will turn completely red if given enough light. Drosera capensis 'Albino' form will develop light pink tentacles under strong lighting.

Dormancy requirements:
None required. Can be grown year-round if given subtropical conditions year-round (ie. grown indoors during the cold months). I recommend using the tray method. D. capensis will form a hibernacula
(see picture to the left) if consistently subjected to temperatures around 35-38 degrees F or less. Growth will resume when temperatures rise to 40 degrees F again. If temperatures briefly drop below freezing, or if the media dries out completely in the warmer months, the vegetative growth above the ground will die. However, never give up on your plant- Drosera capensis frequently comes back from the roots once provided with favorable conditions again! Very hard to permanently kill once established.

Drosera capensis generally produces hundreds of seeds on its own. With most varieties, they will readily self-pollinate. Once, when fed often, my 'Typical' and 'Albino' forms have produced huge flower stalks, which created around 1000-2000 seeds per stalk. I have had issues with Drosera capensis 'Red', but I think it is because the stalk gets burnt in my lights. My Drosera capensis (Bainskloof) and "Wide-Leaf" have never flowered for me.   

Propagation Techniques

(click here to learn more about propagating sundews)

Seed: extremely easy. no cold stratification required. Can be grown to flowering maturity from seed in a little over a year if fed often.

Leaf-cuttingsvery easy. The water-floating method works well for the "typical", "Red", and 'Albino' forms, but is very slow for the Bains Kloof and "Giant" forms. I had better luck with those by propagating them directly on media. Place directly under fluorescent lights for the hightest success rate.

Root cuttingsExtremely easy. The roots of Drosera capensis are long and thick- perfect for cuttings. I've even managed to propagate a big plant from root cuttings by tossing a large root segment in my water tray and letting it sit there for 2 months. It doesn't get easier than that!

Divisionsvery easy. Drosera capensis tends to form clumps over time, when the seeds scatter everywhere. Drosera capensis has no trouble dealing with repotting and root disturbance, so divisions can be taken easily.


Drosera capensis "Red" flower - Red Cape Sundew flowering

Drosera capensis "Red"

Drosera capensis 'Albino'
Drosera capensis 'Albino'

 Drosera capensis (Bainskloof)

Drosera capensis (Bains Kloof)



 Drosera capensis "Wide-Leaf"

Drosera capensis "Wide Leaf"

  Drosera capensis "Giant" young plant
  Drosera capensis "Giant" (a young plant)

Additional Questions or Suggestions?

Contact me at: sundewman(at)yahoo.com