Drosera Gemmae
Carnivorous plant sales and growing information
This is a website dedicated to pygmy Drosera!
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Most species of pygmy drosera live exclusively in south-west of
Western Australia. They inhabit a region that has hot dry summers
and cold wet winters. The plants have periods of growth and
periods of dormancy induced by the climate. The plants are well
adapted to the dry conditions. They form white dense stipules to
protect them from the intense summer sun. The roots are long and
go deep into the dry soil to find traces of moisture.
After 3 weeks the small plants have 2-3 leaves capable to catch pray. (photo 3)
After 5 weeks the growth accelerates and the plants gain in size. (photo 4)
Copyright © 2008-2013 Drosera Gemmae. All rights reserved.
After 7 weeks. (photo 5)
After 9 weeks. (photo 6)
After 16 weeks the plants are mature and growth slows down as fall approaches. (photo 7)
After 6 months the plants start the gemmae production as soon as the days get shorter and
cooler. The leaves begin to dry out and soon all the plants energy will be directed towards the
gemmae production. (photo 8)

Flowers? Maybe next summer!

The information provided above is based on our
experience growing these plants. Please remember that
we may live in different climates and that alone will
bring some new challenges in your effort to grow
pygmy drosera.
About The Images

You can use any of our images/photos ,without editing them, in
private purposes only and
not commercial! We will constantly
update the photos and in time try to fill up the gaps. If you have
any comments or questions do no hesitate to contact us!
After 2 weeks from sowing the first true leaves appear!!! (photo 2)

Soil: In the wild most pygmy drosera grow in sandy mixes. In cultivation they do well in mixes of
peat/sand/perlite. There is no mix perfect for all but most growers agree that a mix of peat/sand or
peat/perlite 50/50 will do the trick. You should use more peat in your mix for the species that grow
in wet areas.

Pots: Small plants, small pots...right? Wrong! I do admit that some hybrids don't mind being
grown in 2" deep pots but most really like to have root space. I use 4" deep pots. The deep pots
also help in keeping the soil cool in the summer. Having wide pots give your plants the space to
grow and make nice big rosettes.

Watering: The tray method works well for pygmy Drosera. I just keep my 4" pots in trays with
water 1" deep during the growing season. In the summer i let the water evaporate and leave the
tray dry for a day or 2 before adding more. Some growers are getting good results by top watering.
I did try it but didn't see any difference...it will not cause anything bad either as long as you do it
with caution. Good quality water is a must so please remember to use only distillated, reverse
osmosis or good rain water to grow these plants! If you are using reverse osmosis water make sure
the PPM is under 50.

Temperature: This is the most important factor for me. I live in a climate with some very hot
summers and just 2-3 months of cooler temps. It is important to keep the temps under 90-95 to
prevent the plants from going dormant. Even with a high water level they will go dormant if the
temps are high! This is valid for most but i have to exclude some hybrids that just won't go
dormant no matter what the temps may be. If they do go dormant all you can do is give them
cooler dryer conditions and hope for the best (translation= hope you don't loose all of them!). On
the other hand, they can take low temps even under 32F but i always try to avoid going under 35F.

Humidity: Being so close to the wet soil helps when referring to air humidity. I grow mine in a very
dry climate with very low humidity. They don't care much about it! I haven't provide or grow them
in high humidity yet so i can't help you on that.

Light: Full to part sun. If you live in a region with hot summers you may consider giving them
some shade during the hot temps and prevent any from going dormant. They tend to grow smaller,
healthier and more colorful in full sun but you have to keep them from going dormant during the
hot summer months. The light has to decrease in intensity and the plants have to receive less hours
of light as winter approaches. This and the cooler temps are the trigger in gemmae production.

Propagation: The best way is by gemmae. These are modified leaves that serve as a food reservoir
for the small plantlet attached. Gemmae appear during the wet season and have different shapes
and sizes. They have a very high germination rate if placed on wet soil. There are many gemmae
germination methods. Some species can be propagated well by leaf cuttings or decapitation (for tall
species) but these are less popular choices. A few species are relatively easy to propagate by seeds
but the vast majority are annoyingly hard! A pygmy plant usually produces tens or hundreds
gemmae every season. Some species can produce gemmae 2 or even 3 times in the same year. Last
year i had some scorpioides plants producing gemmae in November and again in June. It is
nothing uncommon, some species tend to do that. Also some species can produce gemmae really
fast before reaching maturity (maturity=flowering). I had pots of different species producing
gemmae after only 2 months from germination! All depends on the time of year the gemmae get
sown and on the growing conditions provided.
------------------------------------Gemmae Germination

As we all know the best way of propagating pygmy drosera is by gemmae. Gemmae are
reproductive buds, a perfect clone of the mother plant. They usually appear from September to
April and have different sizes, shapes or color. Most look like small round spheres or  flat green to
brown seed-like buds located at the center top of your plants.  

Pygmy drosera gemmae are not seeds, they are living plants and do not store well. It's
recommended that you plant them as soon as possible. If you have to store you can wrap them in a
wet paper and place inside a plastic bag in your refrigerator in a area that won't freeze! You can
keep them like this for a few weeks but you have to remember that they lose their viability as the
days pass!

If you receive a gemmae pack form us you have to get them out of the packing. Just open the
ziplock bag and pull out the paper. Unfold the paper and you will see your gemmae.

Get a pot. Try to find a plastic pot 3" or deeper. The plants may be small in size but their roots are
very long. Make sure the pot has drainage holes.

Prepare the soil mix. You will find many good mixes out there but you have to remember that no
mix will fit all! As a general rule the species that don't go dormant tend to do better in more peaty
mixes, the more rare that go dormant do better in sandy mixes. Many growers use a standard
peat/perlite (50/50) or peat/sand (50/50) mix. A standard mix will not kill your plants but the right
mix can make them grow like crazy! Make sure your silica sand is lime and salt free. Always choose
a good peat (Canadian) and use fertilizer free perlite! We recommend starting with a mix of
peat/sand since perlite will facilitate the growth of algae on the surface of your soil. If you are using
a peat/perlite mix you can put a 1" layer of peat/sand or pure peat on top to hide the perlite and
inhibit the algae growth. Some growers also use a top layer of pure sand. The trick is to maintain a
very high water level and humidity until the gemmae germinates and their roots go deep in the soil.
This method is a good way to prevent or delay moss growth in your pots.

After choosing your mix place the pot in a water tray so the mix can get wet. Take a pointed object
and carefully remove the gemmae from the paper and transfer them to the pot. If the gemmae have
roots make sure you don't break them when taking them of the paper! Lay them flat on the soil
and gently bury the roots, if any. Place the gemmae on the soil surface and DO NOT cover them
with soil! Make sure you space them accordantly.

You can place them in a terrarium for greater humidity or just gently sprinkle them with
ro/distillated water a few times a day. They can also be germinated in same conditions as the
mature plants grow but if you want to give them a head start you have to grow them under
fluorescent lights for the first month. Good quality water is a must so please remember to use only
distillated, reverse osmosis or good clean rain water to grow these plants! If you are using reverse
osmosis water make sure the PPM is under 50.

After forming 3-5 true leaves you can take them in your greenhouse or windowsill. Most pygmy
sundews don't grow well in terrarium for long periods of time with the exception of a few hybrids.
This is in part due to the poor air circulation most growers have in their terrariums. Some species
can grow well outside in full sun during the summer months others will just go dormant and never
wake up. It's common for a pygmy sundew to die from heat exhaustion during summer so take
precautions and have spare pots in different locations.

It is also crucial to protect the young plants from pests like spider mites and fungus gnat. The
fungus gnat larvae (small black headed transparent worms which can be found in the soil) poses
the most danger since it's hard to detect. They will consume the plant's young roots and eventually
making the plant dry out.
--------------Care Guide
                 From gemmae to gemmae

This representation shows Drosera scorpioides growing from gemmae until the plants get to
produce gemmae of their own. The plants are grown in a square 4" plastic pot in a 50/50
peat/perlite mix with a 1" peat/sand top layer.

The gemmae on the mother plant in the month of May (photo 1).
                    What is a pygmy Drosera gemma?

A pygmy Drosera gemma is a modified leaf, a vegetative bud produced by the plant as means of
asexual propagation. These plants can also propagate naturally by seeds but this comes as a
secondary option and less effective.
The gemmae are produced by the plants as soon as the rainy season
approaches. It appears that the decrease in daylight, the lower temperatures
and the moisture are the trigger  for gemmae production. Each plant will
make teens or hundreds of gemmae each year. They can be found in the
center of the plant where the terminal bud (grow point) is.

In nature, the rain is the decisive factor in gemmae dispersion. The gemmae
are dispersed from the parent plant with a springlike mechanism when the
rain drops fall right on the center of the plant. In cultivation some species
eject the gemmae when mature, others just dry up on the plant if not
collected. In some cases gemmae can germinate on the plant by reaching
with their root into the soil and growing suspended on the mother plant.

A pygmy Drosera gemma has 2 main parts: the modified leaf and the plant
"embryo" (not an actual embryo but more of a terminal bud). They are
perfect clones of the mother plant. The modified leaf serves as a food
reservoir until the young plant develops a functional root system. The
"embryo" has a green body which will be the terminal bud or grow point of
the new plant and a red tip from which the roots will grow. Once on the
soil, the gemmae need wet conditions in order to develop their roots.

It is sometimes hard to ID pygmy Drosera when not in flower. A good way
to tell which is which is also by gemmae morphology. Most pygmy specie
will produce gemmae that will have a unique shape and size.
-------------------------------------How to collect gemmae

There are many ways you can do this operation. We will present here the methods we use in
collecting gemmae.
We usually don't collect all the gemmae at once. We want them to be as fresh as possible before we
send them to you so we collect only what we need at that time.

If you want to collect all gemmae present here are 2 easy ways to do it:

a) Get a sheet of paper and brush the gemmae off the crown onto the paper with the help of a
pointed plastic object, the tip of a plastic plant label will do.  You might want to keep the pot to an
angle and have the paper in a cone shape so it can catch any flying gemmae.
Gemmae vacuum
Gemmae vacuum
Gemmae vacuum
Gemmae vacuum
Gemmae vacuum
b) You can use a gemmae vacuum. It's a simple tool that you can make. You
need a plastic tube, 2 caps and a small flexible aquarium tube. The vacuum in
the photo is made out of an aquarium vacuum. I just shorten the plastic
transparent tube, add a cap to each end. In one end i drilled a hole and
attached the small diameter (1/8") aquarium tube and on the other end you
can do the same but with a grater diameter tube (like 1"). You have to place
fine mesh on the 1" tube to prevent the gemmae from exiting the vacuum. The
white cap was airtight sealed with silicon while the blue on is removable. To
use it you just have to position the 1/8" tube over the gemmae crown and
inhale air through the other end of the vacuum. The gemmae will start
collecting inside the transparent plastic tank. When you're done just take off
the removable end and take the gemmae out.
If you need to collect only a portion of a gemmae crown and leave to
others on for later we suggest that you use our method:

1) Take a pointed plasctic object like a plastic plant label.
2) Dip the tip into water
3) Gently touch the gemma with the wet tip. If the gemma doesn't stick
to the tip right away then try to get it loose by applying lateral pressure
on the individual gemma. They will stick to plastic tip and you can then
transfer them to the pot.

These are the methods we use to collect our gemmae. Every grower has
their methods and what works for one may not work for others so
please feel free to experiment, improve and develop your own way of
doing things.
Collecting gemmae
Collecting gemmae
Collecting gemmae
Collecting gemmae
Collecting gemmae
Collecting gemmae