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Weird Drosera nidiformis "behavior"

This is a smaller, single plant. It's got six leaves, ATM, and a flower spike coming up. When received it was bright green, whitish tentacles, red tips. Through no fault of my own, this plant caught fungus gnats (multiple) on every leaf. It then sent out a flower spike and started turning reddish-pinkish-brownish, including all leaves, tentacles, and spike. Now, it's not producing dew, but the leaves aren't dying and the flower spike is still rising and uncoiling. It's being lit by T5HOs 16 hours per day. Day: 80ºF, 65-70% humidity. Night: 70ºF, 75-80% humidity. Does this sound normal for this species?
unfortunately yes. this species of drosera harbors a endosymbiotic fungus...for reasons unknown, the fungus goes crazy and takes over, turning the plant bright red and lose all its dew. not many people can keep this plant long term. the only way to keep this plant in continuous cultivation is to make seed and plant those. but the fun doesnt stop there....as hinted, the fungus already lives in the seed, and will make its debut when the plant is fully grown.

you should give it a lower cooldown, perhaps 60F if you can...that could slow down the rate of the fungus.
Kind of cool actually... I mean, we're not talking about a multi-hundred dollar Nepenthes here, right? :) The biological aspect of what you've just explained is very cool and very worth sharing with my daughter, who loves to hear about these kinds of things. So, the plant, it's still alive, just "body snatchered" at the moment, right? Then, the flower will still bloom? Can be selfed? I'll just keep seeding if that's the case, super cool to watch once you know what's happening.
yes. the seeds can be selfed...usually when the plant turns red like that, the fungus is taking over....the plant's health will continually decline. but the plant will carry out processes such as flowering and growing leaves---however, the leaves will get smaller and smaller.
They are pretty much annuals anyway which decline after setting seed.

This is the most invasive species around, far worse than D. capensis.
All fine by me. I'm wondering if the fungus takes a part in KEEPING this species an "annual"? Has anyone ever succeeded in obatining a "fungus free" specimen? Or eradicating the fungus altogether by some method? It would be interesting to see whether or not the decline is related to the fungus or not, for sure. Are any of the other Drosera in my terrarium in danger, or is this an obligate "parasite"? What about other genuses? I've Dionaea, Ultric, Ping, and Sarr as well in the terrarium, none in pots, all planted in soil. No other plants are showing any signs of any problems, currently. IOW, this is cool, for one plant, but not if it kills and contaminates an entire terrarium.
dont know if it's specific strain that plauges nidiformis. that being said, i've had experience with a similar fungus attacking my D. graomogolensis, and i hear that it plagues D. falconeri---same symptoms, but not necessarily the same strain or type of fungus.

and come to think of it, same thing can happen to Heliamphora, Darlingtonia and Cephalotus if i recall correctly.
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  • #10
Cephs too? (breathing a sigh of relief that my Cephs are separated)
  • #11
The way D. nidiformis spreads they won't be separated for long.
  • #12
LOL, they'd have to jump the terrarium, walk across the room and into another, and climg up into a garden window to get at my Cephs. :)
  • #13
hehe they might just find a way (but you should be pretty safe) ;)

well just to throw in my 2 cents (granted it doesn't seem to apply to your problem, KDoods), i've been lucky enough to grow a few D. nidiformis long-term for 3 years now (under lights) with several plants never dying on me. However, i did have some problems when i grew mine under a shorter 9-10 hour photoperiod and gave it a bit too much water. They seemed to experience the fungus issue, but once I cut back on watering, increased the photoperiod, and gave them a better-draining mix (about 2 peat: 3 sand, packed down), they never had any further problems.

Not sure what your pot size is, but i use a 4-inch pot. Assuming you're using something similar. Also, I did see another grower with the fungal-related issue on his Nidiformis when he had it under bright light intensity, but forgot to water it a few times (was not dessicated though). Otherwise, your conditions sound great- possibly just a bit more humidity than mine get, by about 20%...

To be honest, I've neglected mine as they rarely get fed (maybe once every 3 months) while I'm away at school. So they generally only keep about 4-5 large leaves going at a time. Then when i get a chance to feed them, they go crazy, flower and then go back into the slow growing stage til i feed them again...

Anyway, enough yapping for me. I might as well post a few pictures after rambling on so long...

  • #14
<sigh> Yeah, that's what mine looked like... before the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Humidity and moisture, eh? Thing is, the other Drosera (spatulata, capensis, binata) in the terarium seem to prefer it a little more humid/wet than the nidiformis did/does. IOW, the nid was quite happy quite dry, dewing up nicely under 50% humidity where the others looked a little dry and barely dewed until I brought it up to 60-80%. Ah well, there'll be no catering to the lowest common denominator here, survival of the fittest and all. If I get seed, maybe I'll try growing in a separate container.