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How to Care for Drosera regia

My favourite Drosera, next to pygmy sundews, is The King Sundew. This absolutely stunning plant deserves a category of it's own due to it's difference in care and structure to other sundews.

Drosera regia is very rare in nature, with only two small colonies known in the Bainskloof Range in South Africa at high elevations where they have hot sunny days and cool nights with occasional flowing water running through the soil. They are considered to be an archaic species of which may even be related to the Venus flytrap. There has been some debate over Drosera regia being within the Drosera genus due to it's different habitat to other sundews, thus it cannot be grown like other sundews.

The plant has large sword shaped leaves which can reach 60cm/2 ft in length and has long thick woody roots. Younger plants are able to wrap their leaves around prey rather dramatically yet older plants only curl up on the ends. They are able to capture and take down large and more powerful insects due to their large leaves which are covered in thick drops of mucilage.

Although The King Sundew is greatly desired in cultivation it is often known for being a bit of a diva to grow thus making it quite a challenge for new growers of this species.


These sundews require full sun or as much light as possible in order to produce lots of dew and have strong upright large leaves, they can also be grown under grow lights. The one thing to watch out for is heat, cool but sunny positions are ideal to prevent roots overheating.


Many growers have different methods to water Drosera regia based on where they keep their plants. Personally I find the tray method works well with mature plants in deeper pots, they do not mind it if the tray dries out in between watering.

Some growers prefer to top water their plants with cool water during the hotter months or even use filters which creates cool flowing water through the roots, similar to methods used with Darlingtonia.


A range of mixes can be used for growing Drosera regia. They prefer loose soil mixes, they can be grown in straight long fibred sphagnum moss or in a mix. They can also be grown in a mix of peat and perlite/sand in a 50:50 mix. You may prefer to use a higher ratio of perlite/sand which also works well.

Pots: Small plants do well in 9cm pots. For mature plants they prefer to be grown in deep pots anywhere up to 18cm tall. Deep Tomato or climbing plant pots are often ideal and what I like to use for adults.
White, black or even clay pots have been used to grow regias and all work well, it is best to try different methods to grow the plants to find out what works best for your conditions.


Drosera regia does not require dormancy as such however in winter during the cooler seasons the plants can die back forking a tight cluster of immature leaves, this hibernaculum forms on the woody rhizome and helps to plant survive light frosts.

This sundew cannot survive hard frosts and will only tolerate light frosts. In the event the plant dies back completely they will often come back from the roots in Spring due to their ease to propagate from the roots.

(Right) Drosera regia hibernaculum formed in winter to withstand the cold in my unheated greenhouse.


These plants can be grown both indoors under lights, on cool windowsills or large terrariums or outside in warmer climates, in greenhouses both unheated and heated. As long as their conditions are met and they are not exposed to long hard frosts then you can grow Drosera regia.


Drosera regia require a lot of food, they often capture an abundance of flies, moths and other similar sized prey. Within a greenhouse or similar plants will capture a lot of insects on their own however if they are in a setting which will mean they get little or no prey it is advisable to feed them. These sundews seem to prefer a little supplementary feed in order to keep them happy. You can place live insects onto their leaves or use freeze dried bloodworms or similar. You can also even use diluted foliar feed such as Maxsea and spray occasionally onto the leaves of the plant

Furthermore, Drosera regia are one of the few carnivorous plants that will accept a certain level of soil fertilisation. Using 4-6 slow release high nitrogen pellets per pot of Drosera regia has been seen to aid in the growth of the plants. However if you are using soil fertilisation for your regia then you should place them in a separate tray to other carnivorous plants as this can leach into other pots damaging your other plants which cannot tolerate this level of nutrients. (If you are using fertilisers with your regia it is important to research first and apply the correct levels otherwise this can still be damaging to your plants).

Young Drosera regia covered in insects. You can also see how the leaves wrap around prey!


When mature, the plants produce tall flower spikes which are often taller than the plant, the flowers often form in a cluster. The flowers are self-fertile but the anthers and stigmas develop at different times so it is best to have two flowers open at the same time. I find pollinating the flowers yourself when two at a time are open is best in order to get a good amount of seed.
Flowers do have an exhausting effect on the growth of the plants so if you do not want seed from your plant then you can cut it off.

Seed my 2022 seed harvest on Instagram here

(Right) My oldest Drosera regia with it's first flower!

The flowers of Drosera regia


The two best ways to propagate Drosera regia is through root cuttings and via seed. Leaf cuttings fail, with only a couple of cases of this method working via water propagation.

Root cuttings
Planlets forming from root cuttings
The simplest and quickest method to propagate your regia which is often very successful. This simply includes cutting off inch sizes pieces of the plants roots, this can either be done when repotting your plant or if roots begin to appear from the bottom of the pot. Place your root cuttings onto some sphagnum moss and cover with a very thin layer of fine sphagnum just so the roots are in contact with moisture. Make sure not to let the sphagnum moss dry out during this time. Although it can take several months before plantlets appear, once they begin growing they grow fast often producing a few plants at a time.

The process of repotting and dividing Drosera regia from root cuttings. You can see from image 3 the original roots of the mother plant and where the new plants have formed.


The slowest method to propagate regia but also easy to undertake. Simply place seeds on the surface on sphagnum moss or your chosen carnivorous plant mix and keep moist in a warm bright spot until germination. Seed will germinate usually within a month if fresh and conditions are correct. Young plants may need to be fed in order to keep healthy as they grow.

Drosera regia seeds beginning to germinate and a some seedlings with their first true leaves

Some close ups of Drosera regia seedlings with their first few true carnivorous leaves

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