Venus Fly Trap Winter Care in So CA

akarinzAugust 29, 2009

Hi,

I purchased a venus fly trap several months ago, and it is doing wonderful. My question is watering during the winter time. I understand that I keep it outside all year, but if the temperatures get very low, how do I handle the watering?

Thanks,

Karin

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petiolaris(Neutral)

Yes, keeping it outside is the way to go. I wouldn't worry about the temps getting too low in Southern California. They are native to North Carolina and experience the occasional freeze. As to watering, according to Albert Hammond, it "never rains is Southern California". But I'm sure it does so on occasion. Unlike most carnivorous plants, like American pitcher plants, which are more boglike, VFT's tend to prefer moist to water-logged. And unless it's bone dry, I wouldn't worry about watering. It should go dormant, between the lower phtoperiod and temps, so they just don't need anything more than the occasional "wetting of thre whistle.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 3:47PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Don't keep it waterlogged when in dormancy, just moist. It will rot if kept too wet.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 2:38AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

hi
How low are your winter lows and what duration?? I find that a cold dormant period is necessary. I handle them as annuals by growing from seed during winter then growing as long as possible usually, May here.. You can provide the cold in the fridge naturally but for me not worth the effort.
Have had some actually live around 15 months but usual is around 8 .
Besides strawberries they are the only temperate plant I fiddle with lol gary

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 5:27AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Gary I can understand how it would be hard to induce dormancy in your area. How are you growing them, inside, outside? Our average winter lows here are 28F but last winter it got down below 12F and stayed there for a week and didn't get above 25F for over 2 weeks. We had freezing rain for several days and the plants and trees were encased in ice for over a week. It was the worst winter ice storm here in over 100 years. Thank God I used the frige for dormancy and my power was only out for 24 hours. Some people were without power for over a month. If you stayed outside for long you could hear dozens of tree branches snapping and crashing to the ground.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 4:25PM
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akarinz

I guess my question is, if it is really cold outside and we might get a frost, and the flytrap is sitting in a saucer with water and the water freezes, will it kill the plant. Or if the potting material freezes if it is moist, what happens to the plant? How protective do I need to be in the winter?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 5:53PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

akarinz I don't think you should worry at all. When your plant goes dormant it may die back to the ground but I doubt it. There are others here from S.CA that can tell you exactly what to expect there. Just cut down on watering when it goes dormant. If you are expecting a hard extended freeze, and your plant is up on a table or something off the ground, put your plant on the ground in a more protected area, next to the house, under an awning maybe or inside the garage or shed, but I seriously doubt you will have to do that. I lived in Co co county for 29 years and the temps there never stay freezing long enough to worry about it.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 12:48AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Taz
I grow the VFT in pots sitting on the edge of the lily pool. Last winter had a low of 33 for around two hours .
Almost impossible to provide a cool down let alone a cool rest period.. I used to bag them up and put them in the fridge but I also find they resent late summer highs also. Since they grow easily from seed i find winter sowing best for my area.
i'm a lazy gardener so I try to avoid plants that are too much work but the VFT is such a fantastic plant ,worth a bit of work lol Have the same problem with strawberries .
Probably don't need to explain why they're worth the work?? lol gary

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 5:34AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

gary I know you said putting them in the frige is too much but if you were to leave the plant out during the day to get those lower sun rays and put them in the frige at night and repeat this process for a couple weeks as winter arrives then put them in to stay for 3-4 months, I think you might have a chance. When you get those hot scorching days it wouldn't hurt to cover them with a light shade cloth. I lost a lot of sarr seedlings to the heat this year but I'll be ready next year. There are ways to make it work but you just have to get creative.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 6:44AM
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petiolaris(Neutral)

The growers in Southern California have essentially the same variables in terms of temps and light and latitude. Some may do the fridge thing but others leave them outside all year long. The latitudinal photoperiod seems to be the strongest variable, overcoming the lack of coldness.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 8:28AM
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