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Thread: New VFT owner

  1. #1

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    Hey all, new here. I've been looking around the forums, but haven't been able to find all the specific information I need.

    I bought my first and only VFT earlier this summer (sometime in late July, I think), and it seems to have been doing fairly well. Initially, it caught bugs constantly and grew like woa, but now it's slowing down and worrying me a bit. I'm keeping it in a dish of water on my dorm room windowsill in northern Colorado, and I'm afraid that the change in location from the kitchen window at home hasn't left it entirely perky. My best guess is that this is at least partially due to the weather, since it's been unusually cold and I still have to keep the window open most of the time to avoid a stifling hot room. Three of the traps have dead flies in them that are either undigested or oddly complete exoskeletal remains, and the traps that are currently growing are doing so very slowly. Judging by past growth, I'd expected the newest nearly-mature trap to open by yesterday or the day before, and the other three (two are still dinky) that are growing haven't shown much of any change since last week. I know that they require a dormant period each year, but I'd hate to do it so early in the season. I could send it back home for my mom to look after, but she's notoriously bad about plants (though she did pretty well at taking care of it the few weeks I did leave it with her) and I'd miss having it here. If I do need to put it in the dormant stage soon, I can either put it in the basement at home or my little fridge here, so I'd like some advice on which would be better. I've left it in the soil the garden center had it potted in and I've used all distilled water, and the only thing I ever fed it by hand was an earwig.
    Picture:


    I'm also concerned because there's something white and whispy in one of the traps. Is it fungus?


    And also, at one point the leaves stopped growing with nice, even edges. It wasn't like that when I first got it, and it stopped growing ragged-edged leaves after I trimmed off the dead traps that were on it, but I don't know if that's what fixed it. You can still see a few of the leaves that grew like that. Any idea as to the cause?


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Hi Kat and welcome to to TF! May I ask where you got this plant? Was it from Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart... that sort of thing, or did you buy it at an online store? The reason why I ask is that an online place, or one of us, is likely to provide you with a healthy plant. In contrast, a tissue cultures plant from a department store, is likely to be in a neglected, weakened state. Even a healthy plant may react to a change of conditions - temperature, humidity, or lighting. A department store plant is far more likely to react. So you may be exeperiencing that.

    Also, this is the time of year for dormancy plants to go into dormancy. Let me explain. There is a bit of confusion as to what dormancy actually means. To newer hobbyists, it is classically thought of as being totally asleep, like a bear hibernating. While it does slow down to next to no discernible growth in the dead of winter, its dormancy is also is really a process that begins when the the photoperiod begins to decline (late June). It may still be growing, but the decreasing photoperiod is signalling that it is time to slow down. So in the broader sense, dormancy is the actual process of slowing down. And while dormancy includes variables such as declining temps, less food supply, and less water, it is the decreasing light that is the most significant factor.

    I think you have 2 dynamics going on - adjustment to its surroundings and the process of dormancy. If any traps blacken, snip them. Retain that which is green. Provide as much light as possible. provide as much drainage and air circulation as possible. Don't concentrate on providing it with food, as this is secondary to it being a plant. For now, it is good to be by a light source, but it isn't necessary to provide a fridge or a garage or attic or....

    Do keep us informed and feel free to ask questions.

    Oh... and what's your major? Do you live anywhere near Buena Vista, CO?

  3. #3
    Always a newbie glider14's Avatar
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    ites ok...its getting redy for its winter domancy. it wont go under yet but soon it will. you will have to read up on that because i have never evengone through dormancy yet(this is only my first year of growing cps. my vfts are also slowing down dramaticly! so are my Sarracenia(pitcher plants)
    Alex
    PS welcome to the forums!
    Everything is explainable. The seemingly unexplainable is but a result of our insufficient knowledge.- Hans Brewer

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    I got the plant from Nick's Garden Center down in Aurora. First time I've ever bought anything from them, but their VTFs were sure in a lot better shape than the poor withered pitcher plants at the other garden center we visited.

    Drainage? Should I elevate the pot out of the water or water it less or something? The plant's getting plenty of air, being in my constantly-open window next to the fan...not much I can do about light unless I go out and get a lamp for it. It's a southern-facing room, so when the sun's out the plant gets oodles of light in the morning, but it's been pretty rainy for about a week now. What kind of light would I need?

    Do you think it will be all right to just leave it in the window all winter and let it go dormant there? It shouldn't get too ridiculously cold since later in the year I'll start actually closing the thing, and the heater's along the wall under the window. Then again, maybe that leaves it too warm. Maybe I should get a thermometer to figure out what temperature it actually ends up being in that spot?

    I'm a film major (Russian studies minor as of Friday...woot!), and I'm up in Boulder for school. Not terribly close to Buena Vista (in the opposite direction of Boulder from home in Aurora, actually), but I've been there. Tons of white water rafting and a place that serves good pie, but that's about all I know about it.

  5. #5
    It's been one of dem days BigCarnivourKid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Kat @ Sep. 11 2006,6:23)]...and a place that serves good pie...
    Jan's has the best pie in Buena Vista (Don't you dare pronounce it with a Spanish accent! ) in my opinion.

    Kat, your plant looks fine. The ragged edges could be insect damage or the edge might have been damaged during its developement. The slowing down is the beginning stages of dormancy. They can take light freezes if you leave them outside to thaw gradually. If you have a spot that is cold but doesn't freeze and gets some to lots of light during the winter that would be best for dormancy.

    Water it a bit less during the winter, it won't need or use as much and it will discourage mold. Keep the soil just slightly moist

    Are you a member of the Colorado Carnivorous Plant Society? We will have a display set up September 16 to 18 at the Colorado Springs Home & Landscaping Show in the Phil Long Expo Center in Colorado Springs. Check it out if you have the time. Jeremiah and his family will be manning the booth which will have a variety of CPs to admire or purchase. I'll be there Saturday with my wive and daughter. There's a little more info here: CCPS Events It's the entry at the bottom of the page.
    ---Steve Allinger---

    How come chicken fingers are bigger than buffalo wings?

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  6. #6
    Metal King
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    I let my VFTs "sleep" on my windowsills and they don't seem to mind, so I would imagine you should be okay doing that- if it doesn't give it a "full" dormancy, it will at least give it enough of one for you to think up another strategy for next year, I would imagine

    Oh yeah and welcome to TF!!
    Da Growlist

    "You don't need a license to drive a sandwich"-Spongebob Squarepants

  7. #7

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    Hi and welcome to the forums

    Anyhow, others have pointed this out already, and I too think that your plant is in a later stage of its dormancy period. I've had to snip off two traps already due to developing black spots.

    Am also new at this so my plant will go through its first dormancy period as well ... Hopefully I can keep it alive during the fall and winter months ... Hahaha

  8. #8
    Moderator Alexis's Avatar
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    It looks fine to me. Dormancy is a fair few weeks off yet.

    VFTs don't always grow non-stop from spring until fall. Your conditions sound fine and I can see another trap emerging from the centre.

    The insects in the traps have been digested - the exoskeleton isn't able to be dissolved, so the insides have been sucked dry, just as a spider eats its meals.

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