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Thread: Help with Dormancy in Brooklyn Apartment!

  1. #1
    Oh, the humanity!! TheFury's Avatar
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    Help with Dormancy in Brooklyn Apartment!

    Hi all! This is my first post on the forums! Over the months, I've learned most of what I know from snooping on threads on this board.

    I've been dabbling in CP cultivation since early spring, but recently I got serious about it (read: "got bitten by the bug") and got myself a grow rack and expanded my collection (see my grow list in my sig).

    I've read Savage Garden cover to cover and have a pretty good idea about what plant needs what. But as my first dormancy as a CP grower approaches, I'm sort of nervous about how I'm going to pull it off in my Brooklyn apartment!

    I have the following plants that require dormancy:
    S. Flava (don't laugh, I know that raising it under artificial light amounts to cruel torture, but it was my first CP and I bought it not knowing that it really doesn't do well indoors. You can tell from the pic of my grow rack that it is quite depressed, the poor thing).
    S. x "Mardi Gras"
    D. Muscipula Typical
    D. Muscipula "Akai Ryu"
    D. Filiformis var. Tracyii
    D. Binata (still trying to identify exactly what kind... it came growing in my S. Flava. and I propagated it out into a new pot. Bonus! )
    D. x Beleziana

    Currently, those plants along with the rest of my collection are in my grow rack under a 16 hour photoperiod.

    I suppose my question has 2 parts:

    1) It's about time that I gradually start reducing the photoperiod in anticipation of the start of dormancy around Halloween. What, in your experience, should be my target photoperiod? I've heard anywhere from 7 to 12 hours, so any input you can provide would help.

    2) Given my location and my space constraints, what method of dormancy would you recommend? I have a few options:

    • Cool south-facing window. It gets a decent amount of sun, and proximity to the window might let the temperature get down into the 40's.
    • Unheated entrance hall - I can pack my plants into a tupperware container and stick them in my unheated entrance hall. There's no direct sunlight and temperatures will probably hover between 30 and 40 degrees.
    • Fridge - I'd like to avoid this one at all costs. I've already encroached on my girlfriend's study space with my grow rack (and just in time for her toughest semester of her pre-med post-bac program, no less!), so I fear if she came home one day to find our fridge stuffed with plants, they would end up in the toilet!


    Any and all advice, comments, anecdotes, or tall tales you can offer would be much appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Garroch

    P.S., as a n00b, I might have posted in the wrong forum. Admins, please move this post as needed!
    Last edited by TheFury; 10-03-2010 at 04:48 PM.

  2. #2
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Well, you have some problems that go along with indoor growing, but you might be able to pull it off..
    the biggest problem is that your plants, being indoors, arent really going dormant right now..
    (and they should be)
    they are missing all the "dormancy cues" that tell them its time to prepare for dormancy..
    The main cues being gradually decreasing photoperiod, and gradually decreasing temps, from August - October..
    without that 3 month span of gradually decreasing light and temps, they cant properly prepare dormancy, and be prepared to *be* dormant by November..

    but you have to work with what you have!
    as we all do..

    out of your three options, only one is workable IMO:
    (well..its probably *not* workable to be honest..it likely wont work, but its the only thing you have that *might* work, barely..)

    Cool south-facing window. It gets a decent amount of sun, and proximity to the window might let the temperature get down into the 40's.
    Thats your best bet..but will it *really* be that cool?
    if its a window in your apartment, do you really expose yourself and your girlfriend to 40 degree temps indoors all winter? probably not..
    unless the plants are half an inch from the window, and its very poorly insulated, they are unlikely to see 40 degrees either..
    So thats not an ideal place, its probably far too warm..but its the best you have, so I would go with that..

    I would remove the plants from the grow lights right now, put them in the window with no artificial light at all, and hope the decreasing photoperiod from the sun will trigger a mild dormancy for them for the winter..
    its risky, but I think its all you can do..

    your other two suggestions are essentially the same thing..
    unheated, dark entry way, or the fridge..
    both are no-good in your case, because the plants wont be fully dormant when you try to put them in that place..
    (actually, they wont be dormant *at all*)
    they wont be prepared for such an environment..the plants must be *already* fully dormant before you put them in the fridge, or in a box in the cold stairwell..your plants wont be prepared to handle such an environment, because they wont be dormant, because they have been growing indoors..so those options are not good ideas for you..very risky for your plants..

    I would just go with the window and hope for the best!
    its risky, but its the best you have..

    http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page2.html

    Scot

  3. #3
    Oh, the humanity!! TheFury's Avatar
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    Scott, thanks so much for the advice. I was actually reading your CP page earlier, and that got me thinking about the whole fridge dormancy thing! Looks like you have a great setup. If only I had a sunny porch or back yard! Alas, like you said, I have to make do with what I have.

    Anyway, done and done. I took my seven dormancy-needing plants out of my grow rack, loaded them into a tray, and stuffed them between my fridge and my kitchen window on top of a radiator (don't worry, I keep the valve on that radiator shut in the winter!). You can see that they're all pretty close to the window. The D. x Beleziana and the D. Filiformis are the farthest away from the window at about 3.5" or so. Not sure if you can make it out in the photo, but the D. x Beleziana is already dormant. I got it that way from California Carnivores a few days ago. It's got a nice dense hibernaculum - I hope I can sustain it over the winter!

    Anyway, at that distance, I figure it should be pretty chilly. My landlord controls the heat in the apartment, and she is quite... frugal... with their heating bill, so the apartment does stay pretty chilly. Between that and the proximity to the window, I hope an acceptable temperature can be maintained.

    Now take a look at this pic and tell me honestly... am I a moron?

    And please, hold the comments about my poor S. Flava. It's only a matter of time...


  4. #4
    ermahgerd petmantis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    ........they wont be prepared for such an environment..the plants must be *already* fully dormant before you put them in the fridge, or in a box in the cold stairwell..your plants wont be prepared to handle such an environment, because they wont be dormant....
    I haven't had problems with putting not-yet-fully-dormant or just semi-dormant plants in the fridge. They just stop growing (no light, very low temperatures) and come out in the spring fine.

    Nevertheless, I do agree that they should be weaned into dormancy over the course of (at least) a month or two. Try moving those plants you want to put into dormancy in a cold place at night, and decrease the photoperiod gradually.

    Good luck!

    EDIT: Forgot to mention, the Sarrs and VFTs may be quite weak from growing indoors, so they may have a bit of trouble with dormancy. D:

    If your plants are still small and young, you can always try skipping dormancy the first year, and keep them growing until the next season (I don't know how your plants look ATM, the photo won't load for me)
    Last edited by petmantis; 10-03-2010 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Added more info.
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  5. #5
    Oh, the humanity!! TheFury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petmantis View Post
    I don't know how your plants look ATM, the photo won't load for me
    Sorry, still trying to figure the whole photo thing since I'm using Picasa. Does it work now?

    My D. Binata is on the far right. I have no idea how old it is since it came growing in my S. Flava that I got around April. But it is pretty small (it did die back some after I took some leaf cuttings to propagate). Maybe that one can skip dormancy like you mention...

  6. #6
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    I have lived in chilly apartments under "frugal" landlords...
    I would make a styrofoam box around the plants on the inside and tape the open ends to the window frame. It should get really cold (possibly too cold) inside the box, while helping to keep the kitchen warm....well, maybe not warm, as you have that "frugal" landlord!

    Just be sure to check your plants from time to time. Depending on the winter temps and exposure of your window (morning sun, afternoon? Noon/mid-day?) this may work out just fine.

    Also, be sure to give your plants enough BRIGHT light (short duration, but strong) until they go fully dormant. I would also feed the plants one more time. They will need their energy for the winter, to make it thru dormancy. (Even if you have to cut the top of a dried out pitcher to get the food inside.) Remember any dews too. While they are still growing, they will benefit from light and food, as they will need all the energy you can give them. (They do NOT look over fed/lighted already, so I don't think that this is a worry of stimulating new growth while going dormant!)

    Remember to cut down on water a bit too...damp but not wet over the winter/while they are not in active growth!

    And as the plants appear a bit weak, I would go for a full complete dormancy, but absolutely no colder or longer than you need to get just that [ie: a full complete dormancy]. You want them into dormancy, but keeping it on the slightly mild side in both exposure and time should give your plants the rest they require, but also be light enough to help keep them from starving and/or freezing to death. (Research on the time/length and right temps...many opinions on that!)

    Yea, it is a tightrope act!
    Good Luck!
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

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