Drosera burmanii is one interesting sundew if you like your carnivorous plants greedy. It catches its own insects, I’ve dumped any flies, mosquitoes or ants I found on it, and it just keeps wanting more. It has interesting snap tentacles which propel the prey toward the center of the leaves and dense, globs of muciliage that makes it look like it belongs in a diamond showroom instead of a plant pot. The plant itself is small, but it more than makes up for its size with its greed.
Drosera burmanii is found naturally in India, but environmental degradation and water pollution are rapidly decreasing its habitat and it is relatively rare to now find it in the wild. So, a hobby like this also keeps plant species alive in cultivation, perhaps one day to be reintroduced in their natural homes.
Drosera burmanii is a very easy plant to grow, if you keep in mind some of its quirks. It is greedy. Have I said this before? If you sow your seeds and cover the pot, you will want to open the pot soon after germination or start feeding the seedlings. They attract and trap prey just fine, but the seedlings sort of tend to remain in a limbo and slowly decline instead of growing into plants if they don’t have access to food.
This plant grows quite rapidly and will grow to flowering maturity within a 3-4 months if you give it nice bright light and a place where it can catch insects. Then comes the challenging part. Once it starts flowering, it is basically on a timer until death. It will keep flowering and flowering and flowering till it exhausts itself to death. The good news is that it is self fertile and there will be many seeds and likely they will fall in the pot itself and grow many small plants to replace the one that blooms itself to death. To increase the lifespan of your plant, make sure it has plenty to eat once it starts flowering. If need be, feed it an insect or two every week.
How to grow Drosera Burmanii
Sprinkle seeds on moist substrate. They don’t need any special treatment. You can use peat, cocopeat, sphagnum, live spaghnum, whatever mixed wth sand or perlite or thermacol balls if you wish – as long as it is low on nutrients. I have a few growing on rockwool too. The seeds are beyond tiny. They are like dust. 20 seeds is going to look like the packet has some dust inside – that too you will have to make an effort to spot. Therefore, be sure to switch fan off, work away from any source of drafts, keep a clean white paper underneath to spot any seeds that get away. This is absolutely essential, because if you lose a drosera burmanii seed on any regular surface, the chances are you won’t find it again. to sow, touch the seeds with a finger and rub fingertips gently on top of the substrate filled pot so that they fall onto it. try to keep the substrate as flat as possible before doing this. Keep the pot in a tray of water. Top watering will flush the minute seeds away.
I normally don’t cover the pots and let them just sprout up in regular growing conditions. I find I have far fewer problems with mold like this. You may choose to cover. Fresh seeds can take anywhere between a week or two to germinate if you keep the pot steadily moist always. within a month, you will have very tiny seedlings with a few leaves that will remain like that unless fed. They are really too small to feed properly (though there are youtube videos showing how to do it) – I prefer to keep them in a place where they can catch their own food – always works best for me. Once fed, the plant rapidly grows in size till it reaches maturity – this is about 2 inches or slightly less in diameter. Warning: Do not assume failure if you don’t have seedlings in two weeks. Any reason from temperature to the pot going dry could delay germination and I’d advise waiting at least a month or two before giving up on them if they don’t germinate soon.
I don’t bother to feed my plants. They trap insects just fine all the time. However, this is one plant that MUST feed, so if you are growing it indoors, you will have to put the occasional insect on its leaves or it will start declining. Within a few months, it will start putting up flower stalks. The flowers are tiny and grow on scapes with one flower or so blooming every day for a short time and closing – it is self fertile and sets seeds after it closes. You will want to harvest seed pods as soon as they mature, because otherwise you will have drosera burmanii growing everywhere like a weed. [Don’t ask how I know]
What else….? oh yes. Drosera burmanii will get really pretty red coloration in if it hasn’t been fed in a while. A well fed plant will be a pale yellowish to bright green in color with white crystal-like dew on it. It isn’t the end of the world, but if your plant is flowering, you want to keep it looking well fed always as it can decline quite rapidly as it loses energy with seed production. And then it will die. If you don’t want seeds, you can simply cut flower stalks off to conserve the plant’s energy – it won’t make the plant immortal, but it will likely last longer than if it flowers. Though, I repeat, if you keep feeding it while it flowers, it will survive quite well.
At the end of the day, Drosera burmanii is an annual and nature has designed it to grow in one season, set seed and die. You can make it live longer by giving it good conditions and feeding, but always save some seed (or you can come back here and buy) to grow more plants.
Many drosera can be easily propagated using leaf, root or flower stalk cuttings. Drosera burmanii is NOT one of those. The only reliable way to grow it that I know is from seed. The good news is that even one plant flowering and setting seed is going to give you more seeds than you know what to do with.