I just picked up a few plants from Wal-mart the other day. I used to have VFTs when I was a kid, but I haven't had any in a while. I have been reading non-stop since getting the new guys and I think I have a pretty good grasp on caring for them.
However, I do have a few questions that I would like to get some feedback on from people who have had VFTs and successfully kept a plant alive for a few years.
Here is my list of questions in order of importance:
1) Is moving the plant daily a bad idea? I want to keep the plant plenty warm, and it is already getting down into the low 60s or 50s at night here, so I move the plants inside at night and put them back outside in the morning. Is this stressful to the plant?
2) Regarding winter dormancy, I live in Boulder, CO. Unfortunately it gets too cold here in the winter to let the plants winter outside. What is the best option of the following:
a) A cellar that will probably stay around 40 to 50 degrees in the winter (maybe a bit cooler), but will have ABSOLUTELY NO sunlight. I could potentially put some sort of plant light down there for them, but I would need advice as to what kind of light would be appropriate. I could also bring them outside for the warmest part of the day on days where it wasn't too cold. I don't mind babysitting my plants.
b) The refrigerator technique.
c) A cool windowsill.
d) An outdoor dormancy where the plant is buried? I read about this here:
Fly Nightmare - VFT with 11 Flowers
See post #8 that reads:
"This plant gets an outdoor dormancy from November to around March buried beneath pine needles, burlap, and a foot or so of mulch, pineboughs and eventually snow."
I have read that garages and basements are good places to allow VFTs to have their 3-4 months of dormancy, but I have also read that this is WILL NOT WORK. See here:
What seems like the best option of the ones I listed above?
3) Does feeding a VFT actually increase the rate at which the will grow, as is stated here:
http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq2280.html Again I have read differing opinions on this topic and I would like to hear some people's experiences and opinions about this.
4) In the spring, when the plant starts flowering, when is the best time to cut off the flower? I have read that you should do it as soon as you see it coming out here: http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq2470.html
However, I have also read that if you cut it off then, the plant will send another flower out which consumes more energy than if you had just let the flower grow. Source = "Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada" by Donald E. Schnell
quote: "Cutting the scape before at least one flower appears, however, causes a new scape to initiate and begin growing, which uses even more energy reserves."
What is the right thing to do? Axe it as soon as possible, or let it grow a bit and then axe it?
Thanks in advance for any advice,