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Thread: New to Venus Fly Trap Terrariums

  1. #17
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blsmit View Post
    ScottyChaos: I have read an equal amount of people stating that they can or cannot grow Venus Fly Traps in a terrarium. That being said, I have to ask what is the point of having a terrarium?

    To me: a terrarium is a medium set up to grow plants in their optimum growing conditions. If a plant naturally grows in Florida but you live in NY, growing the plant in a terrarium that is set up like Florida you should be able to grow it in NY.

    Thats not saying I'm not going to take your advice and grow nepenthes.

    Thanks
    the point of having a terrarium is to grow plants that will do well in a terrarium!
    a VFT is simply not one of those plants..

    VFTs and Sarracenia need it significantly colder than Florida..they are not "tropical" plants by any means..most terrariums are good for "tropical house plants"..plants that are literally from the tropics and require no dormancy at all...The large family of "house plants" fall into this catagory..they do so well as "houseplants" because they are native to tropical regions that are so warm that they don't go dormant..basically there are no seasons as we know them...every day of the year is warm...just like the inside of a house..

    VFTs and Sarracenia are simply not members of this category..they are not tropical..
    A ficus tree grows well indoors year round..a maple tree doesn't..a VFT doesn't either.

    so thats basically why VFTs are not good terrarium plants..because they are not tropical house plants..

    Scot

  2. #18
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blsmit View Post
    My plan was to let it go into dormancy by moving it to my girlfriends basement (she actually lives in an apartment with a garage), just for clarification when should dormancy happen.

    Ben
    Ben,
    the main reason a terrarium shortens the life of a VFT is because the non-changing environment inside a terrarium doesnt allow the plant to slowly and gradually go dormant..

    rather than type lots of stuff out, I will simply copy and paste from my webpage!
    much easier..

    The reason I have to do the fridge method at all is because I have VERY cold winters, and they last a long time..(5 months).. Here in Western NY, we have brutal winters, sub-freezing temps for weeks on end, tons and tons and tons of snow.. its way too severe for Sarracenia and VFT's to survive outside all winter. VFT and Sarracenia need a COOL winter..not a freezing artic winter. VFTs and Sarracenia (all except S. purpurea) are native to the South East USA..where they get a definate winter season, but a cool, somewhat mild winter, with temps in the mid-30's up to the mid 50's.
    (+2 to 12 Celsius) sometimes they get snow and a light freeze, but when they do, it only lasts for a day or two and it quickly warms to above freezing again. Its a much less severe winter than here in Rochester.

    Those south east USA winters are the conditions that need to be replicated. So..since I cant keep them outdoors, and I dont have a cool basement or an unheated room..what to do? the FRIDGE!
    its perfect. temps very cool, but just *above* freezing..about 35 degrees fahrenheit. (2 degrees C)

    My plants go into the fridge in the late fall. late October or early November.
    whenever the nightime temps begin to seriously fall below freezing. (32F, zero C)
    They stay in the fridge all of November, December, January,
    and they usually come back out in Mid February..Valentines Day. 3 and 1/2 months dormancy.
    but..Mid-February is still the dead of winter here! still far too cold outside.
    So they sit indoors in front of a bright window to slowly come out of dormancy.
    then, by April or May, they can go back outside for the season..
    they remain outside ALL Summer, and then into Autumn..
    I keep them outdoors all through August, September and into October, as days and nights
    gradually fall into the 60's, 50's, 40's.. (15..10...5C)

    I wont even consider bringing them inside unless its going to fall below freezing
    or if there is a heavy frost forecast for overnight.
    This way, nature creates a natural dormancy for me!
    I dont have to do a thing about "making them go dormant"..
    they go dormant naturally through all of late summer and into autumn..
    then, by the time they are ready for the fridge,
    they are already fully "asleep" and are ready to continue that sleep in the fridge..

    Please note that the fridge does not cause or create the dormancy!
    it simply maintains the dormancy that was already started naturally by keeping the plants outdoors all season..the plants need to be already dormant before they go in the fridge.

    In my opinion, VFT's and Sarracenia should never be grown indoors or especially in terrariums..
    the climate inside a terrarium is just all-wrong for them..
    the climate is fine for a few months...but VFTs and Sarrs need very different climates at different times of year..

    Keeping VFTs and Sarrs in a terrarum is the same as trying to grow maple tree bonsai in a terrarium..
    you can replicate June-July-August ok in a terrarium..sunny and warm..but what about the other 9 months of the year?

    Maple trees need a gradually warming spring to come out of dormancy, a gradually warmer and sunnier summer, a gradually cooler and darker autumn, then a cold and dark winter to be fully dormant.

    ...cycle repeats...

    so do VFTs and Sarracenia.
    its not an option..its a necessity.

    If you grow a maple tree indoors it will die within a year...the non-changing environment of a terrarium will also eventually kill a VFT.

    VFTs need it warm and REALLY sunny in the summer..DIRECT sunlight..
    where can you find that? outdoors in the summer!
    Nature provides the perfect light for free..
    then you need gradually decreasing photoperiod and gradually decreasing temps from summer into autumn..
    where can you find that? outdoors..again nature does all the work for us.

    The only tricky season for those of us in the Northern states is the winter..Spring, Summer and Autumn are a breeze..just keep the plants outdoors April - October.
    but the plants need a COOL winter..the winter of South Carolina..
    but winters in the northern states are too severe and will kill them if the plants are left outdoors..

    If you have a cool basement or attic, or a garage that stays in the 40's (4-10C) all winter, thats fine
    for dormancy..or ideally, if you live in the southern US where winters are mild, just leave your plants outside 24/7/365! but right now I lack any of those conditions..hence, they are going in the fridge!
    http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page2.html

    you cant take a VFT that has been in a terrarium all year and just "make it go dormant" by moving it somewhere else....
    it needs to be outside August through October, at least, so that it will go dormant naturally..

    if your plant is in the terrarium all this year, until November, then you try to put it in the basemet..it wont survive...because the plant will not be dormant when you put it in the basement..because it has been in the terrarium..

    Think of your VFT as a Maple tree..
    maple trees make lousy houseplants..and lousy terrarium plants..
    VFTs require the same seasonal changes as a maple tree..the only difference is the VFT cant take winters quite as cold as the maple tree..but the VFT requires a definate spring, summer, autumn and winter season..
    its just needs winters around 40 degrees F for 2 or 3 months...cool, but not freezing..

    Scot

  3. #19
    cmm889's Avatar
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    Hey Everyone,

    I tend to wind up being "the other person" scottychaos refers to when speaking about how some people tend to disagree as far as whether its impossible to grow them indoors in terrariums for extended periods of time...

    everyone by now is clear on the fact that it is MUCH better of an option to grow them outdoors,
    but now that thats out of the way...

    when that is absolutely not possible. Such as the last year and half where I took lived in a small college apart complex with absolutely no outside light accessibility...so I feel your pain

    I've managed to grow VFT's indoors in terrariums for 2 solid years... thats 2 dormancies that were entirely inside and I have good growth this season after the 2nd completed dormancy.
    it is possible to do it, i've done both CFL's and Tubes... I've done dormancies by fridge technique AND by basement and garage technique as well,...

    when it comes to lighting up vft's indoors you'r going to need WAY more than just 2 CFLs, and honestly probably more intensity than 4 -T8's are going to give you... i've got 4 T-8's and 6 CFLS over my one tank where I grow most of VFTs at the moment.. and your going to need them at a pretty close distance to the plants itself... keep that in mind. ( if you have questions on how I did my lighting setup just PM me )

    your pretty much not going to be able to actually do a planted terrarium, in that... you literally use your 10 gal aquarium as the planter... its a much better option for many many reasons to have them in their own individual pots... if you ever had to repot or move for dormancy reasons you dont want to lug around a 10 gal. aquarium that's filled with wet peat and your VFT's... not to say that you couldnt create an aesthetically pleasing scenario for your planted VFT's to sit in if thats what your going for?


    the hard part of growing VFT's indoors is going to be the dormancy period...it requires alot more work than just throwing pots into the fridge for a couple months and forgetting about em, just the same as... moving them from where they were growing all year to a cold basement with no light wont work either... it requires a more gradual process, both with lighting cue's and temperature cues... and thats not exactly always easy to pull off... the over winter health of your VFT's is incredibly important, otherwise you'll lose everything over the winter due to the most likely cause of death being rot, from probably keeping it too wet with no light. its a pretty common occurance that tends to pop up when beginners grow indoors without a REAL understanding of exactly what needs to happen in order to grow them successfully.

    just trying to show you the otherside, not becuase I think you've heard bad advice because thats not at all true...

    I just have to show up in these threads because I don't want you to think that its impossible because its not. ( and because I know scottychaos loves to see me here )

    if you have specific questions on my set up or anything that I didnt explain very well just PM me and I'll try to point you in the right direction as far as whether this is really the approach you wanted..

    -Chris

  4. #20
    Halt's Avatar
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    you can put your plants on the window with lights that way they'll get a natural dormacy (shortening of photoperiod) and you can always turn off your lights during the dromacy months to stimulate dormacy. eg. when dormacy monthes come (november and such) do not turn on your light and let the window do the dormacy work. hope this helps (for the lights you can hang them from those chains and maybe 5"-7" away from the plant, and the window will help too, lightwise, and dormacy wise.) After your plant stops growing (that is a sure tell their in dormacy) you can put them in an unheated garage, the fridge, cold room, or you can even keep it growing just make sure you give them dormacy though! i think they can go 2 years w.o dormacy.

  5. #21
    cmm889's Avatar
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    if the VFT is older that just a seedling, I doubt you'd be able to skip 2 dormancy's... you really shouldnt even skip one... if you can help it...

    skipping dormancy is just asking for a weaker plant that's more susceptible to disease and bad growth. if you skip one dormancy having the plant be healthy enough to go thru the next dormancy inside is going to be harder than normal...

    the only time a windowsill is going to be a good form of dormancy is if the windowsill is incredibly bad at insulating temps from the outdoors... it'd basically have to be an open window in order for dormancy to work there...

  6. #22
    Halt's Avatar
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    He said he might order from andy, which of course we all know, are not seedlings and are mature plants that are able to skip dormacy. Temp is not the only thing to induces dormacy; photoperiod also does the trick as well. It just depends on your window. Also, the tempurature in winter and fall decrease fairly more than summer, does it not? Tempurature would decrease in your home unless you have a heater (which no one can afford to keep on 24/7/90), therefore, inducing dormacy.

    Good Luck!

  7. #23
    BigBella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmm889 View Post
    the only time a windowsill is going to be a good form of dormancy is if the windowsill is incredibly bad at insulating temps from the outdoors... it'd basically have to be an open window in order for dormancy to work there...

    I disagree . . .


    My south-facing windowsill flytraps in California managed to go through their dormancy periods -- right down to the ugly little "winter rosettes" for years without a hitch and still do. The photo below is of just such a plant.

    I truly believe that the temperature card is being overplayed -- and that a changing photoperiod with the passage of the seasons also plays a significant role in triggering dormancy . . .

    Dionaea muscipula "Typical"
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

  8. #24
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halt View Post
    He said he might order from andy, which of course we all know, are not seedlings and are mature plants that are able to skip dormacy. Temp is not the only thing to induces dormacy; photoperiod also does the trick as well. It just depends on your window. Also, the tempurature in winter and fall decrease fairly more than summer, does it not? Tempurature would decrease in your home unless you have a heater (which no one can afford to keep on 24/7/90), therefore, inducing dormacy.

    Good Luck!
    Halt,
    im not quite following you on a few things..

    and are mature plants that are able to skip dormacy.
    ABLE to skip dormancy is an opinion..not a fact.
    its still not a good idea to skip dormancy if you can avoid it..

    Also, the tempurature in winter and fall decrease fairly more than summer, does it not? Tempurature would decrease in your home unless you have a heater (which no one can afford to keep on 24/7/90), therefore, inducing dormacy.
    I see you are from California..maybe you dont often need to use a furnace/heater in the autumn and winter?
    interesting..
    if so, you are in a very small minority..

    for the majority of the USA, except perhaps Florida, southern California and parts of Arizona,
    the temerature does not decrease in the autumn indoors..the furnace starts up in September..
    indoors goes something like this:

    January - 70 degrees
    February - 70 degrees
    March - 70 degrees
    April - 70 degrees
    May - 70 degrees
    June - 70 degrees
    July - 80 degrees
    August - 80 degrees (turn on the AC if warmer than 85)
    September - 70 degrees
    October - 70 degrees
    November - 70 degrees
    December - 70 degrees

    the furnace runs every day for 5 months for at least half the USA..and definatly all of Canada.

    most people dont leave their windows open in September as temps fall into the 50's and 40's..
    I dont know many people who enjoy a 40 degree living room..

    thats why an indoor plant, in a terrarium, doesnt get the decreasing fall temps..because its INSIDE! thats the whole point of this entire discussion..

    yes, you also need decreasing photoperiod..which in theory can be achieved for an indoor plant on a wndowsill...but you need decreasing photoperiod AND decreasing temps..

    decreasing photoperiod, by itself, isnt enough if the plant is at 70 degrees year-round..

    Scot

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