Premature Impulse Buy...

j_nail(5 Eastern WA)November 2, 2007

So, I used to dote on all my houseplants. I had a proverbial jungle spilling out of the little bump out on the west side of my house...until I started school last September. Now, I more or less just dump all my plants in the bath tub and sinks every couple weeks and give them a bath, lol! (What's worse is I'm a Greenhouse/Nursery student!!!)

Anyhow, I had promised myself that I would reward myself with the carnivorous plants I want when I had finished school and restored my plants to their former glory through restored discipline. Alas, I still wander through the floral department every time I go to the grocery store. You know those (kinda cheesy) VFT's they sell in the (mostly) clear plastic tube type containers? They were $2 and I couldn't resist...This was on Sunday. I figured I could sacrifice the $2 if I failed, but I really do want to do the best I can for it. I feel bad that I may have just signed this poor guys death certificate!!!

I'm concerned about messing with it too much considering dormancy is approaching. I chose the healthiest looking one there, it has several new leaves ready to unfold. I'm afraid to even take it out of it's little tube to look at it in detail!!! I thought I'd just watch it for a bit to see what it did. I guess my question is whether or not it should stay in the tube or not. The tube isn't creating much condensation, but I'm sure the humidity is higher in it. I just wonder what effect this will have on it responding to dormancy stimuli? I also figure it will fare best if I put it in the south facing window above my kitchen sink. Which, although facing south, in the winter the sun barely peeks up over the neighbors trees for long enough to maybe melt the frost off of the storm window. I hope it will be cool enough (for now at least) and bright enough. Plus that's where I put all my smaller plants that don't respond well to my neglect since I see them every time I do dishes ("You're thirsty? Oh look! WATER!!!") Any thoughts???

Well, sorry for giving you the "War and Peace" version of the story when I could easily have given you "Dr. Seuss", I'm just in a mood today I guess! Thanks in advance!!!

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Hello J Nail,

First off, you should be very happy, VFTs are actually quite easy to grow. Usually when I buy a VFT, regardless of the season, I try to give it at least a month of the best possible growing conditions that I can. After it starts warming up to the conditions of my house, then I start concidering shifting the plant to dormancy. My main problem with freshly bought VFTs is that they are usually starved for light when you bring them home. If a plant is in poor condition when I buy it and I throw it into dormancy, it will usually have a fitful dormancy and a very bad year following the dormancy. If you can Dote on the plant for at least a few weeks before sending it to bed, it should have a much more restful dormancy and better year following. I would put it in the warmest brightest room and suppliment it with 2 shop lights before letting it go dormant.

Be sure that your wattering is done via the tray method with your VFT or you will have signed its death certificate. Give it about an inch of standing rain water, distilled water, or RO water at all times (unless dormant).

As far as humidity goes, I have up to this year, grown mine in like 15% humidity. Usually when I get home with my new treasure I am so excited about it I just rip off the tubing around the plant. I have noticed that usually grocery stores are cold and dim enough that the tubing retains almost no humidity. My plants have rarely shown signs of shock after the tubing was romoved.

If the room you are putting the VFT into stays around 40 degrees your plant will be able to go dormant. Otherwise you will have to refrigerate them or place them outside (zone 5 is a bit cold for that though).

Any way, I just bought one from a local nursery and apparently it was so deprived there it thought it was in dormancy... I an going to make a new post for my questions though.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 5:35PM
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j_nail(5 Eastern WA)

Oh thank you, I feel much better now! I'll keep it in my plant room for now, which is warmer (the dryer is in there) and has the best light. It will have to do with the CFL bulb that I have overhead, but my other plants are super happy with that as a supplement, so should be just fine.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 10:35PM
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Actually, VFT's really need lots of light, particularly in the long run, and the natural, direct sunlight is best. Artificail lighting is good in the short run but the "jury is out" for years down the road.

Having said that, there are MANY carnivorous plants that do well in a simple setup, on a window sill, all year long. Here's a visual:

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 2:12PM
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Yup, Sundews do great in a window sill! I have numerous D. Adelae and D. Capensis doing GREAT in a west window! You can't stop Adelae from reproducing!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 7:28PM
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j_nail(5 Eastern WA)

Cool! Thanks for sharing your photos and advice!

I have all CFL bulbs in my house in accordance with building "green" habits. I don't (consciously) use them as supplemental light. I have *excellent* light from my western windows, but I tend to put the plants (newly planted cuttings mostly) in a southern window sill that is above my kitchen sink so I can keep an eye on them better. This window gets mostly morning light in the winter, since the sun dips just below the tops of my neighbors trees around 10ish. Hmmmm, better light or more attentiveness? I think I'll stick with the southern window for now so I don't suddenly forget all about it when the school work piles up again (kind of a lull right now...makes it easy to surf these forums!!!)

My continuing concerns are how it's going to adjust being moved from a greenhouse, to a grocer, to my home (with dormancy stimuli to boot!) and temperature. Talk about mixed messages for the poor little guy, huh?! All I can do is watch and see. He's doing good right now, so I'm going to try not to manifest a problem by dwelling on it too much. I appreciate all your feedback and responses to my mild freak out (it was just one of those days!!). Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 3:08AM
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Bring a small cooler. That will minimize the shock of temperature changes in transport.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 1:30PM
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