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Thread: Help Me Brainstorm How to Keep Plants Through Winter -- Not Inside -- Frugally

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    TENroaches's Avatar
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    Question Help Me Brainstorm How to Keep Plants Through Winter -- Not Inside -- Frugally

    It's seeming more and more like I'll have to get rid of my plants real soon. But I really don't want to.

    This summer, I got real bad chest pain, ended up going to the hospital, got 300 cc of pus drained from around my lungs, and the doctors had no idea what caused it. Possibly mold. They asked if I live on a farm or anything, and I said no, but I have plants in peat moss, and the infectious disease specialist said okay yeah it's probably peat then, since she couldn't figure anything out.

    But it might also have been black mold from the basement bathroom in my house. But that mold has since been removed.

    I used to have a plant grow rack in my (finished) basement, where I spent most of my days, and my nights as I got sicker. I neglected the one container that was growing some real funky stuff, and had a fan over it, so if my plants were really the cause of my sickness, I bet that was the cause.

    Anyway, I'm underemployed and this is my parents' house I'm in, and my mother doesn't want me to have my plants inside anymore, except possibly on a small rack in the garage.

    I could possibly have a place for my nepenthes, on a windowsill at my friend's apartment, for the winter. My understanding is that my sundews don't need dormancy, but could go dormant.

    I've heard of people trimming the green off plants and putting them in fridges in bags. That would work for some of my bigger plants, possibly, but I have pots of seedlings, too.

    I'm in western PA, so it stays below freezing consistently in winter.

    I'm pretty sure my grow list in my signature is up-to-date. Here are some pics of my precious plants:















    Thank you! Any questions, just ask.
    Tim

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    bogspot - my blog about my plants

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    well the sarracenia, vfts and perhaps some of your sundews are temperate so they should survive the winter. I would say keep your water levels low and you should be ok(when it gets cold that is...not now). I have heard that some of the african sundews will die back to the roots and come back but I am not sure how that works if the pot freezes and if it will work for all African sundews...I have heard the capensis will survive though. There are people on here that keep these temperate plats outside in the snow located in Oregon so I would think you'd be ok.

    If you are still concerned perhaps a heating matt under that table on the backside of the glass with some clear plastic around it maybe for a makeshift heated cold frame?

    I planned on leaving my temperate plants on the front porch for the winter and luckily all my African sundews can fit in a 10 gallon terrarium.
    Last edited by cpbobby; 09-29-2012 at 11:27 AM.

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    TENroaches's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. I thought they had to be planted in the ground to survive the winter. I'd have freezing air all around the pot, so the soil would freeze solid. One of my Sarrs even says not to let it get below 50 I think for winter. I forget which Sarr; I have the tags downstairs and can check.

    I also have a patio under a deck behind my house. I wonder if a lean-to with just plastic would keep it any warmer at all. Probably only when sun's beating in it.

    There are woods behind my house, so if there were any creative ideas with burying pots in other sealed containers, I might be able to pull that off. If that'd be needed.

    Ideally, I'd like to not have to unpot any of the plants, because this past Spring I repotted everything in bigger pots hoping I can leave them potted awhile. When I did that repotting, I also didn't use a dust mask, which could be what got into my lungs. Who knows.
    Tim

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    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    If your winter temps are consistently below freezing, I would protect the pots as much as possible. One method would be to surround the pots heavily with straw and mulch the top (like fill that chicken wire enclosure with loose straw and nestle the pots down into it). The sarrs and flytraps should do fine with that. If you have consistent snow cover through winter, that may also help insulated them. D. capensis probably will not survive in pots in your winter. Mine survive only because they are in a large inground bog, and we don't get below freezing temps consistently. D. intermedia, D. rotundifolia, and D. capillaris may do okay.

    Another option, although drastic, would be to try to find temporary homes for them in warmer states. I would be willing to foster a few of your sarracenia here in Oregon through winter and then ship back to you in spring.

    Edit: You are correct, some sarrs do not take consistent freezing temps well and the capes will perish in pot that freeze solid. Burying the pots in the ground and mulching on top might work.

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    TENroaches's Avatar
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    You grin like you're not serious, but I may have to find foster homes.

    I could probably find a friend locally for some of my capensis pots to stay above freezing, but I have too many big Sarr pots for that to be an option for them.

    I've also wondered how warm an unheated (or heated) storage unit stays in the winter. I imagine a heated unit costs too much to make sense to rent for 4 months.
    Tim

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    your under the porch approach sounds good as far as temps but then you need some light. perhaps put your smaller pots into bigger containers and line with straw for insulation? This is informative for me as well....perhaps I will move my pots closer to the windows on the porch when it gets really cold but luckily here it doesn't consistently stay below freezing too long and judging from the summer temps; I anticipate a milder winter here in central VA....hopefully.

    Not sure how soon your cold season starts in Pittsburgh but you have already solved a third of your problems....you don't necessarily need to keep it warm just above freezing I would imagine except for that one plant you mentioned......You should definitely consider foster care for that one perhaps at a friends house.

    Lastly, depending on how understanding your parents are you could construct a makeshift hothouse if there are any windows close to ground or porch level. With the use of wood or plastic or whatever and plastic sheeting you kinda make an extension off of one of your windows and seal it. Then after it is sealed simply open the window and temperature control is basically leeched from your furnace. Not sure if it is viable but just throwing it out there.
    Last edited by cpbobby; 09-29-2012 at 11:47 AM.

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    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    Yeah, the cost of a heated storage unit may be cost-prohibitive. In your situation with options limited, I would dig some holes in a protected area and bury the pots and mulch the top. If you get freezing winds, cover the pitchers of the sarrs (if you leave them on) with black plastic until the winds die down. As for the capes, if you end up losing yours over winter...I can replace them come spring as I will have plenty.

    Another option is to check with local nurseries and see if they might lend you some space in one of their temperate greenhouses?

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    TENroaches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpbobby View Post
    your under the porch approach sounds good as far as temps but then you need some light. perhaps put your smaller pots into bigger containers and line with straw for insulation?
    There's light; the deck is about 15 feet high, and it'll get sun in the evenings from SW, but light throughout the day. Oh, maybe you meant because of darkness caused by the leanto. I was picturing just a plastic sheet, but that probably wouldn't keep much heat at all in.
    Tim

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