Cultural Information

Planting Media

Sphagnum moss (living and nonliving), sphagnum peat moss, 1 part sphagnum peat moss to 1 part perlite or 1 part sand, 1 part sphagnum peat moss to 3 parts sand or 3 parts perlite. Some growers add powdered limestone or dolomite at a rate of 1 teaspoon (5 ml) per quart (liter) of medium.


Plants will survive a light frost and temperatures up to 100°F (38°C). They grow best at lower temperatures of 40-75°F (4.5-24°C).


In their native habitat Drosophyllum plants usually cease to grow during the hot, dry summers. Consequently, when grown in culture the planting medium must be drier during the dormant period.

Water & Humidity

The key to growing this plant as a perennial is to use a well-drained medium which is kept slightly moist. If the medium is constantly wet, the plant will grow as a biennial. When growing plants from seed, medium is kept wet until the seeds germinate and thereafter on the dry side until the seedlings are 4-6 in. (10-15 cm) high.


Drosophyllum plants grow best in strong light and will thrive in full sunlight. If they do not receive enough light they develop elongated internodes, weakening the stem and causing it to fall and grow along the surface of the medium. When this happens the

suppressed buds in the leaf axils will start to grow, producing secondary stems along the primary stem resulting in an unusually shaped plant.

With strong light Drosophyllum plants will grow into compact shrub-like structures with very short internodes and red colored tentacles. (Photo 4-18)

If using artificial light provide the plants with at least 1500 foot candles. Photoperiod: summer about 14 hours, winter 10 hours.


The known pests are mealy bugs, aphids, and fungus. See Chapter 8 for treatment. Feeding

See Chapter 7 for feeding directions. Miscellaneous

Once Drosophyllum plants have reached heights of 4-6 in. (10-15 cm) they can be watered freely or kept in standing water and will grow well. Under these conditions they will grow as biennials and will produce viable seed the second year. The seed assures a steady supply of plants. A few precocious plants will flower the first year but usually do not produce viable seed. First-year flowers should be removed so that the plants can direct their energy to vegetative growth.

Plants can be grown as perennials by adhering to the following procedure. Use a planting medium of 1 part sphagnum peat moss to 3 parts sand or perlite. Keep the medium wet until the seed germinates. Following establishment maintain the plants in an almost dry medium. The plants will grow continuously for several years in this almost dry environment. We have one plant that has been growing for 8 years. The key for maintaining Drosophyllum plants as perennials is to use a well-drained medium and to keep it damp but not wet.

Plants grow much larger when a single plant is grown per pot. The plants produce a chemical that inhibits the growth of nearby plants of the same species.


Sexual Reproduction

Flowers self-pollinate to produce viable seed. When the seeds are mature they will be visible in the translucent, cone-shaped seed pod. The seed is enclosed in a hard coat which inhibits germination. If the seeds are not treated, germination can take up to 4 years. To encourage germination scratch the seed coat. When the seed coat is scratched, germination usually takes place within a month.

We have discovered that cutting a very thin slice from the widest end of the seed greatly speeds germination. When done correctly a white color should be visible inside the seed coat. (Fig. 4-9)

There are reports that soaking the seed for about 10 minutes in a strong solution of detergent will hasten germination. Seeds will germinate at temperatures as low as 40°F (4°C), but they take longer at this low temperature, so we recommend maintaining the temperature at 70°F (21 °C). Since Drosophyllum plants grow most actively during cool, wet winters, the seed should be planted in late summer or early fall so that the plants will be well developed before the summer.

Drosophyllum plants inhibit each other's growth. Therefore, plant only one plant per pot, if large plants are desired. To insure that you will end up with one plant per pot, plant 2-3 seeds in each. Plant seeds about 0.25 in. (0.6 cm) below the medium surface. If the intention is to transplant the extra seedlings, the seed should be planted as far apart as possible. After germination the largest and strongest seedling is left in the pot. These plants are almost impossible to transplant successfully except in the seedling stage. It is important when transplanting the seedlings to move them with as large a ball of

medium as possible. Medium should be kept quite damp or wet until the seeds germinate and thereafter kept on the dry side to prevent both damp-off, (that is, a fungus infection,) and a biennial growth pattern. Spraying the medium and seeds with a fungicide will help control damp-off. After the plants reach a height of 4-6 in. (10-15 cm) the danger of damping off is minimal.

Asexual Reproduction

None reported to date.

Fig. 4-9 How a seed is cut to hasten germination.



The genus was formerly classified as a member of the families Lentibulariaceae and Droseraceae but now is classified in Byblidaceae. Byblis gigantea was first discovered by James Drummond. The carnivorous nature of Byblis was suggested by Ms. A. Nikon Bruce during the early 1900s. Byblis gigantea and B. liniflora are the sole species in this genus and are indigenous to Australia and New Guinea. The name Byblis is derived from the Greek word "byblis" which refers to a nymph who loved her brother.

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