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Thread: Dormancy in the tropics

  1. #1
    Edward Rokosauros's Avatar
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    Dormancy in the tropics

    Perhaps one of the most annoying and frustrating thing for a grower like me staying riiiiight at the equator line of the earth's circumference is dormancy of CPs. It's FRUSTRATING to try growing sarras for a year or two and then they just shrink and....usually die. I've heard of fridge dormancy being the solution to this, but so far, it doesn't work for me. I've lost two sarracenias purpurea just by putting them into the fridge following instructions from various forums and websites regarding fridge dormancy. They. Just. Died. ARGH!! *rant* *rant* *rant* *censored*

    Ok, so forgive me for my anger. But now, I think (just THINK) that I might have gotten the right technique for keeping CPs alive during their dormancy while in the fridge. My S. purpurea has just come out of a 2 1/2 months of fridge dormancy and is starting to grow again. Reason: everyday, I remove the dormant plant from the fridge and put it in a shady part of my house with normal room temperatures for about 3 hours.

    The previous death of my 2 sarracenias involved the rhizome rotting and becoming mush. The LFS that I used was certainly just moist, almost at the borderline of dry. So why did they die? I had a guess: the total lack of light within the 2-3 months of fridge dormancy encourage rot to set in, even if the conditions were cold. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe that during winter in the four seasonal countries, are the days completely dark? Surely there must be an increase in temperature and photoperiod of plants for a few short hours during the winter days? Correct?

    So I would like to add my opinion to the method of fridge dormancy in the tropics. Expose the dormant plant to the outside conditions (as in shady and room temperature conditions) of the fridge for a few hours every once in a while (maybe twice or thrice a week? I did it everyday). The light and warmth may actually stave off rot from setting in and give the plant some hope that it is not in eternal darkness and coldness . This is just an observation and suggestion from a grower (who is seriously pissed at unsuccessful dormancy in the tropics).

    What do you guys think? (it's an opinion, btw)
    Edward

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    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    Hi Edward,

    Check out the following thread:
    http://www.greenculturesg.com/forum/...-for-dormancy/

    The growers in Singapore grapple with dormancy issues year round as we are hot and humid conditions. We are now mostly carrying out "dry dormancy" though it does not guarantee 100% success.

    Cheers!
    Cindy

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Edward,
    I think you have hit on an interesting solution!

    I have a write-up on "the fridge method" here:
    http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page2.html

    I have always said that "the fridge does not cause or create the dormancy, it simply *maintains* the dormancy that was achieved by leaving the plants outdoors all season"

    but that only applies to a Northern climate..
    in your climate, if you just stick the plants in the fridge for 3 months, they are NOT already dormant when they go in the fridge, they are happily growing in a mid-summer climate, so the fridge is too much of a shock, and kills them..they are not *prepared* to go into the fridge..they arent ready for it.

    (for the record, plants dont die being at 35 degrees F (+2C) and pitch darkness for 3 months straight, in the fridge, IF they are already fully dormant when they go in the fridge!) My plants actually had a 4-month totally dark dormany this year..they are prefectly fine.

    So the "fridge method" works great..IF you live in a climate where summer gradually turns into autumn and gradually turns into winter, over a span of half a year...and IF you leave the plants outdoors spring-summer-autumn so they can go dormant naturally, before you put them in the fridge..but you dont live in that climate..

    so with your new method, you have "tricked" the plant into thinking autumn has arrived..
    it goes from "full-on summer" to cooler nights and decreased photoperiod, (nights in the fridge) exactly what it expects to happen..and what it requires to trigger dormancy..but then daytime warms back up, and its light again, (when you take it out of the fridge)..sounds like a good system! overall less photoperiod, and some decreasing temps.. its still not the months-long very gradual slide into autumn and winter, but its better than nothing..

    will you have to move the plant in and out of the fridge every day??
    dont know...but I would, just to be safe.
    if it helps, you really only need about 2 months of dormancy..I do 3 or 4 months only because my winter is 5 months long! but in the natural habitat of the south-east USA winter is really only about 2 months long..
    maybe 3 months total if you factor in the gradual slide from autumn into winter, then the gradual slide from winter back to spring.

    you could maybe try doing the daily "in and out of the fridge" thing for six weeks, then leave the plant in the fridge continiously for a second month, then bring it out for "spring"..this might be enough to simulate 'autumn and winter'..but it will take some trial and error, and unfortunately plants will probably die in the process..but you might hit on the ideal method for tropical growers!

    Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe that during winter in the four seasonal countries, are the days completely dark?
    no, they are not..unless you live above the Artic circle.
    Here in Western NY, we go from about 8 hours of daylight in mid-winter, to 14 in mid-summer.

    Surely there must be an increase in temperature and photoperiod of plants for a few short hours during the winter days? Correct?
    yes, correct..but for those of us with REALLY cold winters, that "daylight warming" is irrelevent, because we cant keep our plants outdoors in the winter anyway, because its far too cold. but in the native climate of VFT's and Sarracenia, Summers are much warmer and much lighter, (longer photoperiod, and the sun is higher in the sky) winters are colder and darker, (with the change from summer and winter being very gradual over an entire year) daytime is almost always warmer than night time..but it is never dark 24 hours a day.

    I like your system!
    it has potential..

    Scot

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    Edward Rokosauros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    you could maybe try doing the daily "in and out of the fridge" thing for six weeks, then leave the plant in the fridge continiously for a second month, then bring it out for "spring"..this might be enough to simulate 'autumn and winter'..but it will take some trial and error, and unfortunately plants will probably die in the process..but you might hit on the ideal method for tropical growers!
    Hi Scott, thanks for the feedback! In fact, I was having this in my mind! The problem is I'll have to get more sarracenias (I only have one mature purpurea and 3 inch tall leucophyllas ). I can't wait to attempt this experiment. Will keep you updated in the far future!
    Edward

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    jesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rokosauros View Post
    I had a guess: the total lack of light within the 2-3 months of fridge dormancy encourage rot to set in, even if the conditions were cold.
    Did you seal your plants in a plastic bag or air-tight container?

    If I should make a guess, your plants have previously died because of oxygen deficiency.

    Even at fridge temperature, the plants live. And while they get no light, they don't produce oxygen, but they NEED and USE oxygen. Only a little at little temperatures, but they need oxygen (and produce CO2) in the darkness of the fridge.

    So in my opinion you just have to open the plastic bag or plastic container once per week, so that the plants are getting some fresh air and oxygen in their plastic bag/container, and everything is well for another week in the fridge.

    But if you want to give them some extra light and rising temperature day by day, this will be more comfortable (for the plant, not for you).

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesse View Post
    Did you seal your plants in a plastic bag or air-tight container?

    If I should make a guess, your plants have previously died because of oxygen deficiency.
    nope..thats not why "fridge method" plants die..
    probably the most common cause of death is that they were not already fully dormant when they went into the fridge..
    2nd most likely cause of death is probably too wet = rot.

    but I have been keeping CP's bagged up tight for 3 months straight, for going on 20 winters in a row..they never die from "oxygen deficiency"..

    if its too warm for the duration they are bagged up (like above 40F 5C ) then maybe it could be a problem, because the plants might be trying to respirate too much..but I have never kept my plants that warm..they live in the fridge at 35F 1C for 3 months..at that temp the plants are simply not growing, and lack of oxygen is not a problem.

    Scot

    ---------- Post added at 06:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:22 PM ----------

    although there is nothing *bad* about opening up the bag now and then..cant hurt..and might help.

    although I wouldn't let the plant warm up at all..that could be bad..I would open the bag for literally a few minutes, just long enough for some exchange of air, then pop it right back in the fridge..

    and with Edward's plants grown in the tropics, it is possible the plants wont be "fully dormant" when they go into the fridge, like my plants are..my plants get the full compliment of seasons..

    so yes, there might be some merit to Jesse's suggestion to let the plants "breathe", in the context of the method Edward is trying to work out..but in a general sense, for those of us in temperate climes who use the "fridge method" its fine to leave the bags sealed up tight for months, assuming everything else is good..

    but as we know, Edward's climate and dormancy method is far from routine..

    Scot

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    Gardening freak! tommyr's Avatar
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    Besides the great advice already given you could also un-pot the plants, rinse off the rhizome/roots, hit them with a sulfer based fungicide THEN bag them for the fridge. Mine are all in zip lock bags that are zipped up.
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