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Thread: LOTS of Questions Entering First Winter - I'm Scared

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    TENroaches's Avatar
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    Unhappy LOTS of Questions Entering First Winter - I'm Scared

    I'm in the Pittsburgh, PA, area. So it will get below freezing for weeks at a time here.

    I have:

    • VFTs from Lowe's
    • S. rubra from Lowe's
    • S. purp from Lowe's
    • Scarlet Belle from Lowe's
    • D. adelae from Lowe's
    • Redbug
    • Sar x catesbaei
    • N. ventricosa
    • Butterwort from Lowe's, I've been told it's P. primuliflora


    I'm afraid I'm going to lose my first plant with improper care this winter (never lost a plant yet! unless you count mama adelaes, but I have their babies to show for them).

    VFT
    I understand these need dormancy. Mine have been living outside since early spring, and the lows at nights have been getting into the low 50s, but tonight will be down to 39F. My understanding is that this is okay, and it's not until it's below freezing that I need to do something, but I'm not sure what I'll do. Fridge? I have limited south-facing unheated window space. (Still warmer than outside temperature, because it'd share a wall with a heated room.)

    All Pitcher Plants Other Than Nep ventricosa
    Mine have been living outside since spring. My understanding is that it's pretty much the same as VFT for winter, but that these pitcher plants are hardier.

    D. adelae
    No dormancy needed is my understanding. But mine have been living on a dresser by a window that only receives morning sun. From reading, I think the photoperiod may get too short in winter for these ( < 10hr/day in December).

    I already have a setup in my basement with six 5000K 54W T5 bulbs growing VFTs and other sundews from seeds (going to let them stay under there through winter---just planted them in late June---I think the sundews aren't growing, but that's another post....). I could put my D. adelae on the shelf beneath them, which shouldn't be too intense (I think?) for the adelae, which likes less sun than other sundews. I also have some 5000K 32W T8 bulbs that I could get a fixture for to hang over the D. adelae if needed
    .

    N. ventricosa
    This has been living outside since spring, also. I've been bringing it in when I see the low at night is under 57 or 58F. I brought it in last night and put it in a south-facing glass-block window in a heated room. The high is mid-fifties for a few days, so I won't be putting it back outside yet. The same goes for this as D. adelae, I guess. Photoperiod will be getting too short to just keep it in a window. I could put it on a shelf below my seedlings under the T5 fixture, or put it under a T8 fixture.

    P. primuliflora
    I was told that this needs dormancy, as well. So, in my mind, it's just the same story as VFTs and my Sarracenias.

    I also need to repot my S. rubra, Scarlet Belle, possibly my redbugs, and my butterwort. I'd like to put my adelaes into bigger pots, as well. My understanding is that it's best to repot the plants requiring dormancy in the spring. Would this be before or after they start to "come alive"?

    Does special care need to be taken when moving a plant from outside to under artificial lights inside? Matching the photoperiod, or intensity...?

    Please, help me.
    Tim

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  2. #2
    I've got a magic window! elgecko's Avatar
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    Keep the VFT's and Sarrs outside till the temps hit the freezing mark. Then move them to an area that's in the low 50's or colder (above freezing). I would not worry much at all about light for them. I've kept my VFT's and Sarrs every winter in my garage. No light and temps in the low 50's high 40's. Keep the soil just damp. Too wet and they will rot.

    The D adelae you could always let it at the current location, If it starts to look bad, then move it. I grow mine in a south facing window year round. It's in the corner so it gets bright light until the even when the light will shine on the plant for an hour or so.

    I grow my Nepenthes in a south facing window all year, no supplemental lighting.
    At first I tried to grow a few outside spring to fall and move them inside when temps starting to get too low for them. I did this 2 years. I noticed the plants took a while to adjust from the inside to outside growing. I had better results just leaving the plants inside all the time.

    P. primuliflora HATE that plant! I can not grow it to save me life.
    Do yourself a favor and throw it in the trash! J/K

    I usually repot Sarrs after I start to see new growth emerge.


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    TENroaches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgecko View Post
    Keep the VFT's and Sarrs outside till the temps hit the freezing mark. Then move them to an area that's in the low 50's or colder (above freezing). I would not worry much at all about light for them. I've kept my VFT's and Sarrs every winter in my garage. No light and temps in the low 50's high 40's. Keep the soil just damp. Too wet and they will rot.

    The D adelae you could always let it at the current location, If it starts to look bad, then move it. I grow mine in a south facing window year round. It's in the corner so it gets bright light until the even when the light will shine on the plant for an hour or so.

    I grow my Nepenthes in a south facing window all year, no supplemental lighting.
    At first I tried to grow a few outside spring to fall and move them inside when temps starting to get too low for them. I did this 2 years. I noticed the plants took a while to adjust from the inside to outside growing. I had better results just leaving the plants inside all the time.

    P. primuliflora HATE that plant! I can not grow it to save me life.
    Do yourself a favor and throw it in the trash! J/K

    I usually repot Sarrs after I start to see new growth emerge.
    Thanks sooo much. I thought I killed my primuliflora, with Ortho Orthenex, since all its leaves turned brown and dissolved, but it put out new healthy leaves. I need to repot it, because the soil settled, and its leaves are hitting the edge of the pot now.
    Tim

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  4. #4
    Sarracenia Collector Adam's Avatar
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    i put them in my garage last night, tim. if you have an unheated one, it would be good to put sarrs, vft, purmiflora. I would reccomend putting them in each night till the high gets above 50 if it does again. i put mine out after school for about 4 hours, but not in the rain, as im trying to get them drained. I also have devil claws i take in each night
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    Minor x Purp I actually have. Well,technically it's Minor Okee x Psitt Green.

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    For the sars and the VFT's, I think people worry about them too much.

    I overwinter mine outside here in NY. Granted, they're in a bog garden (that's in the ground), not in pots....though you can always just dig a hole and put the pot in (up to the rim of the pot). I did that with a window box of VFT's as an experiment one year...and I only mulched with about 2 or 3 inches of cedar chips (that was REPTILE BEDDING for heaven's sake). Then we proceded to have one of the coldest winters in several years (-35 one night.....naturally the night we lost POWER).

    I had no hope for the plants in the spring when I took off the mulch, but low and behold, they were just fine. Some of the traps were even still ACTIVE!
    17 Nash Rd.
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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    Schloaty gave the right answer. I put the plant pots in the ground, to within an inch or so of the rim, and pile a foot or more of oak leaves on top. I use oak leaves because I have them and because they don't mat down when wet like the maple leaves I also have. Then I build a little lean-to over top to keep snow from piling up.

    The plants and their pots are frozen solid for a long time, but the important thing is they only freeze once and thaw once. Exposure to sun and drying winds and lots of freeze-thaw cycles are what kill plants. Or the time before I started doing the lean-to when a lot of snow built up and water trickling down from above on warmer days froze down below and suffocated plants in a mass of leafy ice. Live and learn. By the way, this works here in Zone 6 and I suspect it'll also work in Pittsburgh, but I'd experiment before entrusting any valued plants to it somewhere with severe winters.
    Bruce in CT

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    TENroaches's Avatar
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    There's a frost advisory tonight. I think I'm going to leave everything but my sundews and nep out. I'm scared. Low says 38 or 39. But there's a frost advisory. I wish I knew what all this meant for my plants. The lows won't be above 50 any time soon, I'm pretty sure.
    Tim

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TENroaches View Post
    There's a frost advisory tonight. I think I'm going to leave everything but my sundews and nep out. I'm scared. Low says 38 or 39. But there's a frost advisory. I wish I knew what all this meant for my plants. The lows won't be above 50 any time soon, I'm pretty sure.

    Tim,
    38 - 39 is TOASTY warm!
    even with the frost adviosary..
    seriously, not a problem at all..

    Im in Rochester, NY, and I have left my VFTs and Sarrs out in the first light frosts of October ever autumn for 16 years in a row..havent lost a plant to frost yet!

    In their native habitat of the south-east USA VFTs and Sarrs get frost and a light snow quite often..they can handle it just fine..
    going from 30 at night to 50 the next day isnt a problem..
    October in Pittsburg is about the same as January in South Carolina..

    The problem in our northern climate is 20 degrees for 3 months straight!
    thats the real killer..
    thats why we cant leave our plants out all winter..

    I watch the forecasts, and I wont touch my plants unless I see a forescast low of 27 or 28..
    in that case, I will move my plants into the garage..otherwise, anything above 30 is perfectly fine for them..no problem at all..

    If you are worried about the frost, move the pots so they are sitting directly up against the house, if you can...on nights with frost, you probably wont get frost right next to the house, because the house provides warmth..

    you can also cover the plants with a sheet..frost will form on the sheet, maybe, but not on the plants under the sheet..

    frost is basically frozen dew..
    its water that condenses right out of the air..
    this time of year, with nights getting cold, we will probably get dew every night..
    take a look at the dew in the early morning, see where it forms and where it doesnt form..
    frost will form, or not form, in those same places..

    If you havent seen it yet, take a look at my CP pages, (link below)
    I have written a lot about dormancy for our climate..

    Scot

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