putting a vft into dormancy?

paul_(z5 MI)September 23, 2006

In the past, I simply put my vfts in a chilly room [temps in the 50's most of the winter] & that seemed to work quite well. Then a couple of summers ago, squirrels ate them while the vfts were summering outside. This past summer I finally got around to getting a new one. However, I also moved and no longer will have a chilly room in which to overwinter them. When I first tried vfts years ago I tried putting them in the fridge as I had heard mentioned by some as the way to go but the bulbs rotted away [had them in barely moist peat]. So while I am leary of trying the fridge again I see little choice. My main questions are as follows:

Presently my vft is out on the balconey. We're starting to get some chilly nights -- temps in the 40's F. Realistically, temps will probably warm up a little bit again until some time in October.

Should I start withholding water now to try to force the greenery to die off?

Should I leave the plant outside until we start getting hard frosts?

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petiolaris(Neutral)

I live in Western NY, so our climates are somewhat similar. What I do with dormancy type plants like VFT's and Sarracenias was grow them in minibogs outside and when the temps begin to have overnight lows below 30, I toted them upto the attic for the winter. The temps get cold, but don't freeze, drawing a little heat from the apartment. I kept them, as is, right at the SW window sill and by February, one by one, the plants began to wake up. First the sundews and then the pitcher plants, in response to increasing photoperiod and temps.

Dormancy includes a few variables - reduced photperiod, decreased temps, less water and less food. So less water is a part of the process.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 9:51PM
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xymox(CA)

I would leave the Vft outdoors. Then, when the climate decreases, water it less, then move it into a somewhat rather colder area, with atleast 3 hours of sunlight. The fridge dormancy method is a bit tricky in most circumstances.

If you live in a climate that has very very cold harsh winters, you may bring your Vft indoors. Vfts are tough little plants and may survive temps below 20 degrees. just avoid the harsh frost winter storms and what not.

VFTs stop decreasing growth in not just temp but light too. WHen the days become shorter and colder then that's when they will show signs of Dormancy once more(late october)

Sorry to hear about the little squirrels :)
the only time a critter messed up my sarracenia was a blue jay but i didn't do anything to it, i respect little animals.

whatever you do, don't force your vft to go dormant, it will go dormant on its own once temps decrease and day become shorter. the fridge method is usually recommended for those CP growers who live in rather drier climates.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 11:21PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
I've used the fridge method for several years because i have no choice since I'm in s florida lol. I ususally have to force it as it will grow well into December.
This year I'm going to allow it to grow into Dec and then put in the fridge until Aug.
Hoping to avvoid the worst of summer.
gary

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 12:39AM
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trap7

ok so i have a question. im thinkin of puttin my plants that need dormancy on the stairs towards my chilly attic. ive read somewhere up in those messages that they still need 3 hours of light? and also. how dry should the peat get so that the roots dont rot? i currently have to dorment the saccarnia pitcher, VFT, and the sundew. i have tropical pitcher and butterwort which im going to let grow in my house. i hope all turns ok. thanks.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 12:40PM
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xymox(CA)

hey Trap7,

CPs in the wild recieve some lighting even though they are dormant. mine recive atleast a few hours(like 2 or 3) of morning sun. then they get covered by shade on their own(we have a tree that's why) but as days decrease, CPS get clues , but by temps as well. when days decrease in light hours and temperatures drop; they go dormant on their own.

the soil must be moist, but not completely dry out. this means you may water your plant every week or twice a week.

Your sarracenia, VFT may be kept outside all year round. if you have really cold winters, then they may still be outside during their dormancy.

if your sundew is a tropical type, you may bring them inside with your Nepenthes & butterwort, and grow them under lights.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 1:17PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Alas, as I live in an upstairs apt in zone 5, both outdoor overwintering and attic/chilly stairwell are, unfortuately, not options.

Gary, any hints/advice for successful 'fridging'?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 5:09PM
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xymox(CA)

hey Paul,

if you're thinking of fridging your Plants. make sure their soil is moist and not wet. the reason why this must be done because spores are also present during really cold/enclosed environments. and also, make sure to use some type of fungicide before storing your plants into the fridge.

what i used to do with the fridge method was;

I would allow my plants' soils become moist, then i would store them in ziplock bags. they would be stored potted as well, not bareroot. i would check them every 2 weeks and see any sign of fungus growth or mold. i would spray their soil and the plants everytime mold or fungus was present.

After spraying the plants with fugicide i then replaced the ziplock bag with another new ziplock bag, then after a few minutes(about 10 minutes) i would store the plants again inside the fridge. it's a bit trickier preventing mold growing on the soil or on the plants.

but now i grow my plants outdoors all year round, day and night so i have no problem with mold or fungus whatsoever.

hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 12:20AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
Sounds about like the system I used have been treating them as annuals the past couple of years Getting new ones in early spring. As I mentioned I'm going to try to reverse cycle a couple this year and try to get them to grow during winter. July Aug Sept are brutal here for temperate plants. With Iris I keep them chilled during this period and then flower in Jan Feb.
Wife keeps complaining that there's no room for food in the fridge lol The annual route is sure a lot easier lol
gary

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 6:26AM
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trap7

wait wait, so i cant put my plants in a dark stairwell? cause my plants are in huge pots now since i just repotted them, and i have too many plants to put them in a fridge so what do i do? i have an attic, gets cold, its dark. downstairs. dark dark. chilly, and my porch which it can get as low as... maybe 10-20. but i think light very shaded light can get in there. how much fungiside do i put in the soil? what other problems may occur.? thanks u guys

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 7:01PM
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xymox(CA)

Trap7,

i would keep the plants in the porch during the winter if it gets very cold. if you grow your plants outdoors during the winter dormancy, you don't need any fungicide.

i never tried growing them in attics since i don't have any :P you should consider getting pointers from other growers who put their plants in attics during the winter! i think petiolaris does this :)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 7:10PM
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petiolaris(Neutral)

My first winter for VFT's was a bit of a wild ride. I moved them like 4 times, trying to get them cool enough and then keeping them from freezing. I ended up putting them in the butter keeper, uncovered, in their store-bought pots. I added water sparingly, just to keep them from drying out - but also to keep them from getting mold. I didn't use a fungicide. Not a bad idea, since I may have just lucked out, being a total newbie.

I like the attic (Sarracenias, cobra lily, and temperate sundews)because I can get them cold, with out freezing and responsive to the photoperiod change. Being exposed to the air, they didn't get mold. The VFT's Ihad with them died, but I think they were on their way out before I moved them to the attic. If one is fortunate to have an attic, great. Some people also use an unheated garage and place at a window.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 7:53PM
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trap7

so i should use fungicide? yes? so they do need light????????? ill just put them in the porch, should i put a bag on the plant? umm. thats all i have to ask for now.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 8:19PM
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