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adelae problem


carnivorous plants of the world -- unite!
Recently, I noticed that the leaves of my D. adelae are starting to look ... really crappy. Not sure if this is mite damage (though no webbing to be seen nor can I see any of the little vermin -- but considering how small they are that probably isn't surprising) or the result of some other issue. Any ideas ... as well as how best to treat? (The D. binate that is literally right next to them is just fine.)

could be a fungus...how to cultivate it?
It's in a roughly 50/50 mix of coir and coarse sand. Plants were outside during the summer and did quite well. They had been doing okay indoors until about last 2-3 weeks when this issue started to show up. Humidity has dropped to about 30% now that the heat is on regularly. (And that is with a humidifier running 24/7.) So far my D. capensis and D. biniata have been doing just fine as have my P. moranensis and P. Aphrodite.

I have not had luck with either low humidity or a non-LFS media. I have no experience with coir but my plants did not like peat mixes. Your companion plants are all able to handle lower humidity better than the sisters so that's not a real shock. Bugs would still be a possibility even though that would mean they singled out the adelae - that's not uncommon. If you don't have a more humid space for it, pop a humidity dome over the pot (aka: clear dixie cup, starbucks cup, 2-liter soda bottle, etc) & see if it starts to improve. In addition to improving the humidity, it would help to isolate any malevolent critters - just be sure to watch temps as the domes can act like ovens.

Others who grow their sisters in the open in low humidity areas may be able to offer better advice ???
That looks like a burn, either low humidity, to much sun or to much heat.
Remember not all adelae go red in bright light, the red plants are a varient and tolerate much more light, but the green types are from dense shade and preffer low light levels, I also find that certain localities can tolerate less humidity and more heat.
As for soil, I have adelae growing in 60/40 peat sand, pure spag, spag/sand and pure sand, all happy, with 60-80% humidity.
I also use a shallow tray method, although in the wild amny adelae can be flooded and grow in slush for the summer, most populations are either from cool flowing water like water falls, or several meters up the bank from creeks.
Fertalisation is also lethal, so never do it.
D.binata and capensis preffer a low humidity (40-60% is good), but adelae preffer 60% and up, in saying this I have a couple hardend to 40% that are happy, but they produce thinner leaves.
Heat, try to keep the temps in 80's to 90's F and they will be happy, this is more natural temps, but avoid 100 and up, they also recieve temps in the 50's and 60's in winter, but ussually only by night and winter days are still 80's.
Adelae are also tolerant of misting, unlike many other drosera, occasional misting could help with humidity, until they climatise.

Hope this helps, p.s the dome will work if you can control the heat...
Here is a post I did up on another forum, but the pics won't load.

Drosera Adelea, also known as the lance leafed sundew, is the most widespread and adaptable of three Drosera species found within the rainforests of north Queensland, the other two being Schizandra and Prolifera, it should be noted that the below information is based upon my own observations, as opposed to information gathered from books, online or from other growers.

Since moving from the Kimberly to North Queensland in 2006 I have found 27 Drosera Adelea populations, of these, 5 have been destroyed, 3 as a result of a cyclone, 1 as a result of clearance for the highway upgrades and 1 I believe was drought, however am not 100% certain, of these populations I have replenished the highway population, as work in that part was complete, I first attempted to acquire permission from council, who didn’t actually care, I then cleared away all of the steel and timber, waited for the rains to wash away the silt/mud, I then planted some native moss and waited for it to grow out, after 6-8months It was ready for Adelea to be re-established, it should be noted that prior to the road work I had collected seed from this site, so the plants I put here where not from another population , I believe this is important. A few months after I returned to check on them to find that my original 20plants had spread to about 50 plants, a good sign that the population is back on track, I also re-established one of the mountain populations that was washed away during floods, however this was on private property and I attained permission to do so.


Although the largest I have grown is only 32cm, I have measured wild plants as large as 35cm tip to tip, and have no doubt larger specimens exist. They typically have long, narrow leaves that end with a point, however plants growing in lower light levels can have oval leaves, all shaded plants have dark green leaves and plants in sunnier conditions have reddish leaves, these plants form stems as they grow and in some cases can be as tall as 15cm (soil to new growth point).


The plant has a scattered distribution of just over 100kms; from about Ingham to Innisfail, within this range they commonly inhabit permanent to semi-permanent creeks, seeps and bogs that are either within or that border rainforest. The Three largest populations I have ever found are located on the side of a forestry rd near the town of Tully, on a creek bank on Hinchinbrook Island and the largest is a mainland population in a small creek near Ingham, all of these populations have upward of 500 plants and are several years old.

The soil these plants usually occur in composes of leaf debris and sand, although are also commonly found in clay, pure course sand, fibrous tree roots and amongst moss as both lithophytes and epiphytes (on trunks amongst moss up to 1m from the ground), common companion plants to Adelea include moss (particularly leucobryum mosses), ferns, terrestrial and epiphytic orchids, Utricularia (mainly caerula) and fungi, also occasionally D.spathulata and U.uglinosa . They are most commonly found in rainforest areas where more sunlight may reach to the forest floor such as clearings, creeks, rock faces, roads and forest edges, in some cases experiencing several hours of full sun, generally morning sun.


(In southern range (Ingham-Cardwell)


Temperature (day)

Temperature (night)


70% and up












Small flies, crickets, moth, slaters, spiders, scorpions, beetles, mosquitoes, ants and occasionally atyid shrimp are caught when walking to new water holes.


Plants found growing in shaded conditions are generally larger, with longer, broader leaves and taller stems, these shaded populations are also larger colonies than their sunnier counterparts.

Flowering occurs from mid September through to early December.

Common threats include several species of caterpillar (which also attack my greenhouse plants), trampling on by larger animals, fertiliser run off from nearby crops and forest clearance.

Cultivation (I have been growing these plants for about 5years, and below are my opinions of the plants cultivation)

Soil’s (in descending order of best)

1. Pure live leucobryum moss (plants grow fast and large)

2. Pure dead sphagnum moss (plants grow fast, but not as large as the prior)

3. 1:1 sphagnum : Perlite (better than pure spag in hotter conditions)

4. Live sphagnum moss (plants seem to grow abit slower than all the previous)

5. 1:1 Sand : Peatmoss (generally results in slower growth then typical moss soils)

6. Pure course Sand (best if using a dripper, will result in faster clumping)

7. Pure coconut fibre (cannot use tray water method)

Pot size

10-20cm tall, surface area doesn’t matter, however a large surface area (25cm +) increases chances of off shooting.


I grow my plants in a greenhouse with 50% shade cloth and in full sun from 9am to 2pm summer, in winter a couple hours more sun.

They will also tolerate full morning sun for a few hours, 70% shade cloth (in full sun for several hours) and bright indirect light.

I also have a couple plants in Townsville in a clear polyhouse that recieves full winter sun from 2-4pm and summer sun from 1-2pm, this experiences much hotter temps than the greenhouse.

Water/ Humidity

Either a dripper method or tray, if using a tray keep the water level ¼ - 1/5 the pots height, or about 5-10cm from the surface level.

The target humidity level is 70-90%, however i have grown these plants in as little as 50% for several months, and although the plants soldered on, they slowed growth and threw out smaller leaves, i also mist my plants leaves on hot days (30+) and when humidity drops below 60% (in Townsville), this seems to benefit the plant, it also slows the growth of mould when using fish food pellets.


Small flies or crickets, or Betta fish/turtle food pellets (no larger than ¼ the width of the leaf), avoid fertilising as this only burns the leaves, also avoid woodies which also seem to burn the leaves, possibly to high of protein.


For all aim for temps of 15-25c


Has a high germination rate, simple sprinkle onto a peat/sand mix or sphagnum and mist, than place in a terrarium or put a dome over the seed to create a high humidity and place in bright light, fresh seed germinate in about 2 weeks, older seed may take up to a month, a seed grown plant is capable of flowering once it is 2-4 years old, this is generally a 8-20cm diameter for me.

Root cutting

When re-potting an Adelea, or if a root leaves a pot, simply cut a piece 3-5cm long and place on pure sphagnum, place sphagnum on the ends to hold in place, then into high humidity (70% and up) and bright light, within 2-3 weeks expect to see a small plantlet emerging.

Leaf cutting

This is by far the easiest and fastest way to attain several large plants in a short time frame. Cut a leaf, preferably a large, new leaf (5cm +), and either place it on pure sphagnum and put in a humid environment and bright light, or put in a glass jar of pure water, then place in bright conditions.

Generally the water method has a higher success rate, and even works for older leaves.
That is a crazy-awesome post. Thank you very much for taking the time to write that out for everyone and reposting.

Thanks also for your work on behalf of D. adelae!!
It looks pretty dry, did it just suddenly loose all the dew, or does it just not show well on the photo?
Ya just gotta love D. adelae.
I agree with the two gentleman above. It looks like some kind of burn. Maybe adjusting to the new conditions.
I do grow mine in open air and there as a fan blowing across them. The fan is for other plants but even with the low humidity and air movement they are doing just fine. Not as dewy as I like but fine non the less. One even decided put up a flower stalk. New conditions can throw them in funk. Are the close to the lights?

I've never tried coir but my plants in peat mixes grow alittle slower. Lfs/perlite is the best mix I have found for them. I have switched most of my Adelae away from peat but I am still experimenting.
  • #10
That is a crazy-awesome post.
Wow - really agree on that!! :hail: Providing real-life experience with both plants in the wild & in cultivation is fantastic.

Adelea, While I don't want to do a thread-hijack, do you have similar information on the other two sisters (prolifera & schizandra)? If so, I think it would be excellent to start another thread to share this level of information.
  • #11
Sticky time! And thank you for your conservation/restoration efforts.
  • #12
Recently, I noticed that the leaves of my D. adelae are starting to look ... really crappy. Not sure if this is mite damage (though no webbing to be seen nor can I see any of the little vermin -- but considering how small they are that probably isn't surprising) or the result of some other issue. Any ideas ... as well as how best to treat? (The D. binate that is literally right next to them is just fine.)

My thoughts from looking at the close-up would be thrips or chemical burn. Thrips are tiny and can spend part of their life-cycle in the tissue of the leaves. Have you sprayed anything near the plants? Insecticide, fungicide, fertilizers, or air-freshener - anything?
  • #13
My thoughts from looking at the close-up would be thrips or chemical burn. Thrips are tiny and can spend part of their life-cycle in the tissue of the leaves. Have you sprayed anything near the plants? Insecticide, fungicide, fertilizers, or air-freshener - anything?

was going to say the same thing. I have seen similar when the plants get big changes in environment . Like when i move them from T-12 lights to outside partial shade and found partial shade now enough for them in my conditions. But yeah looks like mites. thrips would be some black spotting . many of them leave a black tar like spotting which is their poop...
  • #14
My thoughts from looking at the close-up would be thrips or chemical burn. Thrips are tiny and can spend part of their life-cycle in the tissue of the leaves. Have you sprayed anything near the plants? Insecticide, fungicide, fertilizers, or air-freshener - anything?

Nope, no chemical sprays. Because most of my plants are indoors with me for most if not all of the year, I am always reluctant to use any type of pesticide/chemical as I will be constantly exposed to it as well. With regards to fertilizer, I tend to be very forgetful with regards to fertilizing any of my plants. :blush: Most of my orchids had gone 3yrs before finally receiving some fertilizer this past summer. The cps were not exposed to any of the fertilizer. Only watered with RO water.

It is definitely cooler where they are now then where they were over the summer. Summertime they were out on the balcony (unobstructed SE exposure) that gets quite hot. They were shaded during the worst of the midday sun by plants above them on the plantstand. Currently they are sitting where I took the photos -- on the floor by the sliding glass doors. (It is the best lit unoccupied area.) Apt temps are around 75F by day and around 68-69F at night. Imagine it might be a couple degrees cooler on the floor by the glass doors but not much more than that.

Leaves are still slightly dewy, but nowhere near as dewy as they were outside over the summer.

Assuming thrips or mites are the culprits, suggested course of treatment?

Thanks for the info, Adelea!

  • #15
You'd have to ID which pest as the treatment would be different for mites. If it is thrips Spinosad works great - biological and somewhat specific to which families and genus it will work on. Shouldn't hurt the plants. D. adelae are somewhat sensitive to chemicals and unfortunately most miticides are rather strong.
  • #16
Alright. I have enough time to finally take a crack at this. Keep in mind my judgment is only subjective.

I am going to throw in a strong possibility that it may be a simple nutrient deficiency, probably potassium combined with nitrogen. Potassium is known for its ability to cause spotting as well as marginal burn; nitrogen causes chlorosis beginning on the lower foliage. I think that the pattern appears to be mostly regular on the leaves, and this to me suggests the problem is not related to a pest. Pests simply don't care where they feed and the resulting patterns are usually irregular.

Additionally, it appears that the lower leaves have a different pattern than the younger growth, and this is also often indicative of several nutritional problems. I felt like similar issues were evident in that african violet I got from you, and it may very well be that your regimen is a little spartan. I don't mean any offense by this, as I'm sure you understand, and I am completely motivated by really wanting your plant to live. I have tried 1/8 strength (1/8 tsp per gal) liquid feeding on the D. adelae I got from you and the plant was not negatively affected at all. I repeat, despite other info, I have given low-strength feed to D. adelae and not caused any burn nor any consequences whatsoever at this rate. I would recommend starting a course of treatment by ruling out any possibility that this could be related to nutrition. It may be that the coir is beginning to decay and the microbial demand for nutrition is starving your adelae.

I do not think it is thrips personally. Their damage looks like tiny striations (lines) because their feeding is kind of like a miniature bulldozer. They scrape up tissue in a line and then eat it. I have never seen thrip damage that looks like yellow spots. Moreover, I rarely see thrip damage that leaves the leaf shape unaffected. Since they prey mainly on new tissue that is still growing, the tissue continues to grow and ultimately develops malformed. For this reason it's also weird that you have older leaves with damage--it just isn't their preferred hunting ground.

Thrips are known vectors for many diseases and viruses but I see this possibility as unlikely unless an affected plant nearby was bitten first. If I have a plant with thrip damage, I am almost always able to find thrips if I look hard enough. Since you have a wide variety of other plants, take a good, long look at every single flower you have for thrips. They prefer pollen and flower parts because they are soft. The best strategy is to flick the flowers or leaves, because it causes them to move around. If you see any, cutting every flower off is the best preventative action while you curtail the outbreak. If this is a problem you've noticed over multiple weeks, I expect you would have seen them by now. Thrips love yellow and blue sticky traps also and this is an easy way to detect but not defeat them.

If you do find thrips (young are reddish and adults are black and are roughly the size of little chunks of pencil lead) you can fight them with neonicotinoids (Safari is the best thing I have tried in this category), organophosphates (orthene), and spinosad. Spinosad seems less effective or shorter-lived in its effects than the others; it also must be shaken before mixing to agitate the ingredients. I greatly prefer something with a systemic mode of action that gets into the pollen.

I also doubt it's mites because you would be able to find them on the underside of the leaf. The amount of damage you have is something I could only foresee getting when my infestations are beyond severe, and usually the webbing occurs at that same time. Also, damage is rarely done to the top of the leaves. The spots that mites leave are not as big as what I'm seeing in the photo.

So, in conclusion, I think first you should get it fed at 1/8 tsp/gal strength once a week (for the first time, soak the entire pot and rootball in it for a couple minutes), see what that does, and start scouting meticulously for any kinds of pests. If you find no little bugs, we can then assume your cause is cultural in some way (light, humidity, nutrition) or pathological (diseases). I also second the notion to dome or cover the plant. It will both act as a quarantine barrier and the humidity will help it out in a variety of ways. Maybe even take one of the plantlets out and repot it into the LFS/perlite mix that several have suggested. Since you're in MI, the sun shouldn't be able to fry your adelae for quite some time. This week I accidentally left my hobby greenhouse sealed on a sunny day with the heater on, and the temps only got up to 85F--hardly anything to worry about. And that's in Georgia.
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  • #17

Just a quick photo edit to demonstrate what I am getting at when I say the spots make a pattern. I think that whatever your issue is, it's corresponding with the venation and vascular system of the plant. It's even more indicative on some of the lower leaves of your second photo, where there are giant green veins in a sea of yellow.
  • #18
In my opinion this is just what this plant does sometimes. I'm sure there is some contributing factors and it could be slowed but my Adelae does this every year almost. I keep them outdoors in filtered sunlight pretty well year round in florida and basically the plants will do really really good for several months, be covered in dew and bugs, then all of a sudden they all start to look like this. Most of the time they end up dying, the plants always have LOTS of off shoots from the roots though. I usually just clear all the dead ones and repot the small healthy ones and it starts over, within a month the small plats are usually full size again. The longest I've had the plants full of dew and really healthy looking was for two years. Currently mine are looking like yours again and I'll probably repot soon. I've been doing this for seven years with the same plant/offshoots. I haven't found a way to avoid this happening to mine yet.
  • #19
I didn't know one could propagate them as leaf cuttings! I'll be trying that the next time I obtain a plant.
  • #20
I didn't know one could propagate them as leaf cuttings! I'll be trying that the next time I obtain a plant.

You SURE CAN Jim! They're easy!