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Thread: Why can't dormancy be 2 weeks?!?

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    "Oh, now he's a philosophizer" Baylorguy's Avatar
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    Why can't dormancy be 2 weeks?!?

    So I seriously know the answer to the subject line... but it has been hard getting really neat sarracenia plants when they are in dormancy... it is such a tease BUT the price is right.

    For those of you that have been growing sarracenia for awhile now... is it normal for a fairly new sarracenia grower to worry that the plants look too brown while dormant or to wonder if they are ok? I am not used to this as my forte (if you can even call it that) is more in tropical species. Typically I know if a plant is ok by new growth, which makes it a tough judgment call when it comes to sarracenia.

    I have them planted in a minibog with the typical peat and perlite mix in the back yard and so far this year we've had 1 hard freeze of 24 degrees. There should be plenty of root space since there is over 12 inches in depth of pure media. Other than this we only hit freezing a couple of other times. Since Sarracenia alata is native to Texas, it seems the plants should easily handle these temperatures.

    So... keep soil moist, keep outside and let them do their thing... anything else I should be looking for? Typically how much spacing needs to be between species?

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    One of the biggest mistakes that most growers make during outdoor dormancy is keeping the media too wet. Remember, the plants aren't growing, so they don't need a constant intake of moisture, as they do the rest of the year. Just keep the soil barely moist. My plants grow throughout the autumn with consistent moisture, so that when the weather changes here, the media remains slightly damp throughout the winter. I never water after dormancy sets in.

    In North Carolina, we have consistently damp weather during the fall and winter. In the Piedmont Regions of NC, where I am located, we rarely see snow--maybe once or twice a season--and it only lasts briefly. We do, however, get misty rain until spring. It's not a heavy rain and only seems to keep the ground moistened. I generally leave my sarracenia outdoors to participate in this and they do fine.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8oz View Post
    One of the biggest mistakes that most growers make during outdoor dormancy is keeping the media too wet. Remember, the plants aren't growing, so they don't need a constant intake of moisture, as they do the rest of the year. Just keep the soil barely moist.
    While I totally agree, I think your way of phrasing it is dangerously easy to misinterpret. When I think "barely moist," I think of the condition that houseplants like. Sarracenia and other North American temperates can handle that in cool temperatures, but one cold windstorm can result in fatal freezerburn. The guideline I stick to is leaving the bottom 1/4 to 1/8 of my pots standing in water. I usually use big pots for most of my Sarracenia, so I'll have a ten-inch-tall pot standing in one or two inches of water. That's enough that the roots can still get air, but there isn't a severe risk of drying if there's a hard freeze. With the rain around here, I usually resort either to using shallow trays or I siphon off the top half of the water every few days.
    ~Joe
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    "Oh, now he's a philosophizer" Baylorguy's Avatar
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    Thanks guys -

    I have mine in a wood planter so I don't actually have standing water. Instead I top water whenever the media starts drying on the top. I stuck my finger about 2 inches below the surface today and it was still moist.

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    We are in agreement, Joe. I should have clarified that I also keep most of my plants in about an inch or so of water, no more, during the winter. Still, we get rain throughout the winter here, often followed by sub-freezing temperatures. The plants growing in the wild survive because most of that rain drains off. The key with cultivated plants is that the trays they stand in need to be much shallower than during the growing season, as you pointed out. The result for me is that the soil remains just moist.

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    cp-connection's Avatar
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    I will punch Jack frost in the face. Hopefully that will facilitate an early spring.

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    "Oh, now he's a philosophizer" Baylorguy's Avatar
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    I was thinking more along the lines of a ninja round house kick to the face, but your idea is not too shabby

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    eh...I had one small Sarracenia die already from being cold and wet in its outdoor minibog..the others look ok so far.

    As for being from Texas, I'm sure we agree our state is easily the size of 5 smaller ones and climate in east Texas (where Alatas grow naturally) or even Houston can be vastly different than San Antonio... although recently, they've been very similar...wet, cold, and depressing.

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