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Drosera finlaysoniana

D. finlaysoniana.jpg

Range: From China and Taiwan south through Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, may be present through the SE Asian archipelago, recorded through most of inland and coastal Australia

One of the most widespread and well-known species in the “indica complex,” this sundew is found in moist, often sandy soils in any regularly or seasonally wet or flooded region. Plants may reach nearly 45 cm tall (though 20 cm more typical), with narrow apetiolate leaves up to 15 cm in length alternating around the stem. Color is somewhat variable, typically lime green throughout with colorless or pale pink tentacles, but can have scarlet tentacles and blush reddish particularly in older leaves. Wiry stalks bear cymes of white to bright pink or mauve flowers on long pedicels, the petals broad and obovate or ovular. This species is distinct in its widespread nature, lacking petioles, and all parts of the plant possessing dense coverings of small, white glandular trichomes.

Cultivation: grow in a sandy peat soil, kept moist to wet and moderately humid at all times, with high temperatures year round. Sow seeds on soil surface, and grow in full sun.

Lifespan and reproduction: Annual. Reproduces through seeds only; stem cuttings may prolong the life of a plant but are not viable for propagation.


D. finlaysoniana is a species that has given me a truly phenomenal level of frustration. For a species so claimed to be easy to grow (even weedy for some), time and time again it has failed for me no matter what I attempt. Read about it liking drier soils? Tried it, didn't work out. See photos of people growing it in swampy conditions? Did that too, fungus grows on the bases of the stems and the plants either die or if I'm lucky re-root adventitiously. Prefers hot, very bight conditions? Done everything but stuck it directly below my lights (which I can't yet really do without shading something else out) and in every condition, even outdoors in full sun, the seeds I obtained all result in lanky, skinny plants that fall over readily and eventually wimp out. Only once have I ever managed to get one to both flower and produce seeds, and even then only just before it died.

D. serpens, by contrast, is an unfailing species for me in the exact same conditions, and even less picky about whatever it's growing in or where. Truly baffling as they should grow in relatively similar environments, certainly similar lighting (as they both like open ground and full sun), so the experimentation continues...

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