Way back on my old site I did a little “How to Propagate Pygmy Sundew” post, so I’m going to go over all that again so everyone can get a good grip on how to do it when their Pygmy Sundew produce gemmae!
The first thing to do when gemmae pop up is collect them! There are a lot of fancy schmancy ways of collecting gemmae that other people use; for example, tipping the pot on its side and scraping the gemmae off the mother plants or DIY vacuum contraptions, but I do it plain and simple, tweezer style. I use a tweezer with a really flat tip to be able to pick off one gemmae at a time, this way there is no tugging on the plant.
If the gemmae are really ripe, you will be able to pick out a few at a time. You’ll want to place them onto a white paper where you can see them easily or a small white plate.
The next step is picking out a pot! Like I mentioned in my last post How To Pygmy Sundew, Pygmy Sundew have a long thin root that snaps easily, so when choosing a pot, choose one at least 4 inches tall, and make sure it is the pot you’d like to keep your Pygmy Sundew in forever. Another option is potting the gemmae into a small biodegradable peat pot. Doing that, you’ll be able to transfer the entire pot into a large pot when the gemmae are mature and need more room to grow.
Dirt and Stuff:
Pygmy Sundews grow in pretty sandy places in situ (in nature), so if you have access to some large grain semi clean sand then awesome! No need to go crazy expensive on the sand, I just buy a five dollar bag of horticultural sand from Armstrong Garden Centers. I rinse it a few times with Reverse Osmosis water before using it, but it is normally already pretty clean. Read my post on cleaning media here (link coming soon!). I find the best mix for pygmies is 50/50 peat to sand. If you want more aeration you can use 50/50 peat to pumice or perlite. I normally use pumice mixed into the lower layers of the media, while the top inch of media is peat/sand and there’s about a centimeter of pure sand at the top to prevent mosses and algae from growing.
Placing the Gemmae:
Depending on the species of gemmae, placing them into the pot can be a piece of cake or a pain in the buns. With large gemmae, you can pick them up easily with your fingers and drop them where you want, while with tiny gemmae it might be more difficult to do that. For small gemmae, you can use your tweezers or a toothpick, wetting the tip with water will make the gemmae stick more easily. Just touch the gemmae to where you want to place it in the pot and voila! You’re done!
If the gemmae have roots coming out already don’t worry! Placing them on their side in the pot will allow them to push their root into the soil, or you can try to get it root first into the media, just be careful not to break the root.
Be sure not to cover the gemmae themselves with soil, just place them on top of the media you chose. You’ll want to remember to try and give each gemmae about a nickel size diameter for growing space.
What to do with the Pot!
Pygmy Sundew gemmae germination is generally pretty easy, although some species can take longer and be a little more difficult than others. There are a few different ways to get a good germination rate, and they all include high humidity. Doing things like placing a the pot in a sealed ziplock bag, placing a ziplock bag over the pot, or placing saran wrap over the pots really help with germination. If you’re completely against that, you can always mist your gemmae daily with clean Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water. Some really hardy gemmae can just be thrown on top of soil and germinate on their own, but I don’t suggest doing that with newly bought gemmae. Place the pot(s) in a tray with a high level of water, the water level in the tray should stay 1-3 inches depending on the height of the pot until the gemmae begin maturing (produce 3-4 true leafs), after it matures you can use less water in the tray.
You’ll want to place the gemmae in a well-lighted area, but not in direct sun. Outside where there is indirect sun with a few hours of full sun works well, a sunny window, or artificial lighting such as T5s, T5-HOs, or LEDs. When I grow mine under T5-HO’s I like to keep them as close to the light as possible, they grow more quickly and gain more color. I have noticed that gemmae grow fastest in natural light and also gain the most beautiful color through the sun.
Hope this helps! Please comment with any questions!