How to Propagate Cape Sundew?

Cape Sundew (1)

Houseplants breathe life into any space, adding a vibrant touch of Mother Nature to our indoor environments. Among the fascinating world of houseplants, there’s one that stands out with its unique carnivorous character and dazzling dewy fronds – the Cape Sundew.

This remarkable plant not only serves as an attractive addition to your plant collection but also keeps small insects at bay. But how do you go about multiplying this beauty for your home or to share with fellow plant enthusiasts? In this article, we will uncover the secrets of effective propagation of the Cape Sundew. Also, here is a detailed article on how to care for Cape Sundew

Cape Sundew Propagation Basics

The Cape Sundew, or Drosera capensis, can be propagated through a variety of methods. Here’s a quick glance at the different propagation techniques, their timelines, difficulty levels, and the materials required.

Propagation MethodTime for PropagationWorking TimeTotal TimeDifficulty LevelMaterials Required
Leaf CuttingsSpring/Summer15 mins4-6 weeksIntermediateSharp knife, potting mix, plastic bag
Root CuttingsLate Winter/Early Spring15 mins2-3 monthsIntermediateSharp knife, potting mix, plastic bag
Seed SowingSpring30 mins6-12 monthsAdvancedSeeds, potting mix, plastic bag

Remember, each propagation method has its own unique set of challenges and rewards. While leaf cuttings and root cuttings might be faster and easier, they require a mature plant to begin with. Seed sowing, on the other hand, allows you to start from scratch but requires a great deal of patience and care.

Propagation Methods

Leaf Cuttings

cap sundew Leaf Cuttings

Propagation through leaf cuttings is one of the most popular methods for Cape Sundew due to its simplicity and efficiency. Here’s how you can go about it:

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Start by selecting a healthy leaf from the parent plant. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to carefully cut the leaf at its base.
  2. Prepare a pot with a suitable carnivorous plant mix. I usually mix sphagnum peat moss and perlite in a 1:1 ratio.
  3. Lay the cut leaf flat on the surface of the mix and gently press it down so it makes good contact with the soil.
  4. Place the pot in a plastic bag to create a humid environment and seal it.
  5. Keep the bag in a bright location but out of direct sunlight.
  6. After 4-6 weeks, you should notice new plants growing from the base of the leaf cutting.

Root Cuttings

cap sundew root cutting

Root cuttings, while a bit more challenging, can also be an effective method of propagating Cape Sundew.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Carefully unearth the parent plant and select a healthy, robust root. Cut a piece of root about 1-2 inches long.
  2. Prepare a pot with the same mix as mentioned above.
  3. Place the root cutting horizontally on the soil surface, and slightly cover it with the potting mix.
  4. As with leaf cuttings, place the pot in a plastic bag, seal it, and put it in a bright spot out of direct sunlight.
  5. In about 2-3 months, you should see new plants emerging from the root cutting.

Seed Sowing

cap sundew seed

Starting Cape Sundew from seeds is a longer process but can be rewarding in its own right.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Purchase Cape Sundew seeds from a reputable source.
  2. Prepare a pot with the same carnivorous plant mix.
  3. Scatter the seeds lightly on the surface of the soil. Do not cover them as they need light to germinate.
  4. Place the pot in a plastic bag, seal it, and put it in a bright spot out of direct sunlight.
  5. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. In 6-12 months, the seeds should germinate and you will see tiny Cape Sundew plants.

Problems in Propagating Cape Sundew

Propagation can be a rewarding process, but it isn’t without its challenges. As a seasoned grower, I’ve seen my share of obstacles when it comes to propagating Cape Sundew. Let me shed light on some of the common issues you might encounter and how to overcome them.

Low Humidity

Cape Sundew, like many carnivorous plants, thrives in high humidity environments. It’s especially crucial during propagation when cuttings or seeds need the extra moisture to help stimulate root development. If your environment isn’t naturally humid, you might find that your propagation attempts are slow or unsuccessful.


To overcome this, use a plastic bag or a propagation box to create a mini greenhouse effect. This setup helps maintain a consistently humid environment conducive to propagation.

Poor Quality Cuttings or Seeds

The quality of your cuttings or seeds can significantly impact your propagation success. Damaged, diseased, or old plant material might not root well, if at all.


Always choose healthy and vigorous parts from the parent plant for cuttings. If you’re sowing seeds, ensure they are fresh and sourced from a reputable supplier.

Insufficient Light

While it’s important to avoid direct sunlight during propagation, which can scorch young plants, light is still crucial for healthy growth. A lack of light can lead to slow or poor germination in seeds, and cuttings may struggle to produce new growth.


Place your propagation setup in a bright location, but shielded from direct sunlight. If natural light is insufficient, consider using a grow light to supplement.

Incorrect Potting Mix

Cape Sundews prefer an acidic potting mix, and using the wrong type can hinder their growth and development.


Always use a suitable mix, like sphagnum peat moss and perlite in equal parts. Avoid using regular potting soil or compost, as these can be too nutrient-rich for Cape Sundew.

Cape Sundew

Tips To Propagate Cape Sundew The Right Way

Growing houseplants is an art and science combined, and propagation is no exception. Over the years, I’ve picked up some handy tips and tricks that can take your Cape Sundew propagation game to the next level. Let’s dive into some basic and advanced level tips to help you propagate this plant the right way.

Basic Level Tips

Water Propagation

While water propagation isn’t the most common method for Cape Sundew, it can be a fun and straightforward way to observe root development, especially for beginners.

  1. Start by taking a healthy leaf cutting from the parent plant.
  2. Instead of placing the cutting in soil, submerge the cut end in a glass of distilled water.
  3. Keep the glass in a bright spot but out of direct sunlight.
  4. Change the water every couple of days to prevent bacterial growth.
  5. Once roots have formed, transfer the cutting to an appropriate potting mix.

Soil Propagation

As we’ve discussed before, soil propagation is a more traditional method. The key here is creating the right soil conditions for your Cape Sundew.

  1. Use a mix of sphagnum peat moss and perlite in a 1:1 ratio. This mix provides the necessary acidity and good drainage.
  2. When taking a leaf or root cutting, ensure the cutting makes good contact with the soil for the best chances of rooting.
  3. Always cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a humid environment.

Advanced Level Tips

Propagation by Division

This method is best suited for mature Cape Sundews that have formed several rosettes or clusters.

  1. Carefully unearth the plant and gently separate the rosettes at the root level.
  2. Make sure each division has sufficient roots attached.
  3. Replant each division in its own pot with suitable potting mix.
  4. Maintain high humidity and keep out of direct sunlight until new growth appears.

Rhizome Propagation

For the adventurous plant parent, rhizome propagation can be an interesting method to try.

  1. During the plant’s dormant period, usually in late winter or early spring, unearth the Cape Sundew and locate the rhizome (a thick root-like structure).
  2. Using a sharp, sterilized knife, cut a section of the rhizome, ensuring there are buds present on the section.
  3. Replant the rhizome section in a suitable potting mix and wait for new growth to appear.
Cape Sundew (2)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for Cape Sundew seeds to germinate?

Cape Sundew seeds typically take between 6-12 months to germinate. Patience is key when propagating these plants from seeds. Ensure the seeds are kept in a humid environment and receive plenty of indirect light to encourage germination.

Why are my Cape Sundew cuttings not rooting?

Cape Sundew cuttings may not root for several reasons. They might not be receiving enough humidity, the cuttings might not be making good contact with the soil, or the parent plant may not have been healthy. Always ensure your cuttings come from a healthy plant, and maintain high humidity and good contact with the soil to promote rooting.

Can I propagate Cape Sundew in water?

While water propagation is not the most common method for Cape Sundew, it is possible. Leaf cuttings can be placed in a glass of distilled water until roots form. The cutting can then be transferred to a suitable potting mix.

What type of soil is best for Cape Sundew?

Cape Sundew prefers an acidic soil mix. A combination of sphagnum peat moss and perlite in a 1:1 ratio typically works well. Avoid nutrient-rich soils or compost, as these can harm the plant.

Can I propagate Cape Sundew in any season?

While Cape Sundew can technically be propagated in any season, they tend to root best in the spring and summer. If you’re propagating by root cuttings or division, late winter or early spring is often the best time.

About Christopher Evans

Hello, I'm Chris, the green-thumbed Founder of I'm passionate about bringing the beauty of nature indoors through houseplants and indoor gardening. Let's create healthier and more beautiful living spaces, one plant at a time!

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