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Thread: VFT Dormancy in PA (early, I know)

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    Veronis's Avatar
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    VFT Dormancy in PA (early, I know)

    I've read a lot on dormancy but the information I've read is kinda general. I've got other care info down pat for VFT's at this point, but this one is still a big hole for me, so I'd like to fill it.

    I seem to really have two dormancy options. (I'm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 90 miles west of Philadelphia):

    First option:
    Bring inside mid-Nov, place on windowsill. I have a windowsill wide enough for the pots to sit on; it's in a converted garage-to-living room with no insulation work done, but a small heat vent was added - it's still colder than the rest of the house; mid 60's and I would guess closer to ~55, maybe a bit lower, at the window (I'd have to check). It's North-facing window so it gets just about 0 direct sun; likely a problem.

    Second option:
    Leave them outside as year-long as possible as long as lows aren't consistently dropping below ~32ish. In early October (ish), move the display table to a spot that gets less sun than the full-day they normally get. In mid-November, remove from pot, light 50% diluted fungicide, wrap moist in black plastic bag or ziploc, refrigerate ~35-40 degrees until the weather is right again (likely 3-4 months). Superthrive then back to pot with new medium.

    A few questions...

    1. Assuming that I'm correct regarding the temperatures at the window for option 1, will this work (even with no direct sun) for VFT dormancy come ~October/November?

    2. How long can/should they be dormant (at longest)? Harrisburg PA isn't know for persistent warm weather. VFT-unsafe weather, I hazard a guess, runs from around mid November easily through most of March (lows in 20's even in March sometimes). I could be looking at a potential 4-month dormancy, give or take, unless I move it under a shop light until the weather picks up.

    3. What's the lowest night time drop in temp that a VFT should be left out in? ~32 degrees?

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    Try and keep the temp above 32F so they don't freeze, although it does happen in the wild. Dormancy is triggered by the lower temperatures and a decline in photo period (less than 10 hours) and light intensity. Some people put their's in garbage bags or even in the refrigerator (if their winters outside are too cold), which means they don't need ANY light at all. Take a look here:

    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=111701

    It's really that simple. Just take from that what you will. I would imagine 4 months dormancy should be plenty (nov-feb). Just use your noggin' and you'll be fine.

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Number 1 is your best option. Winter temps in my area of Los Angeles average low 50s F and my CPs go dormant without any problems, even my Drosera from the NJ Pine Barrens. As long as the nights get longer and the average winter temps are cooler than summer they should go dormant. Lack of light will not be a problem as VFTs often lose their leaves in dormancy. Many people overwinter their VFTs in windowless garages or basements. A minimum three month dormancy is what's normally spoken about. Four months isn't going to hurt them, it might even be better. If the start to come out of dormancy before the chance of frost is past move them to another window that gets more sun or don't even worry about it. They're not going to die from lack of direct sunlight in 3-4 weeks. They'll be producing narrow spindly spring leaves anyway. How much light do you think they'll get in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alien1099 View Post
    Try and keep the temp above 32F so they don't freeze, although it does happen in the wild. Dormancy is triggered by the lower temperatures and a decline in photo period (less than 10 hours) and light intensity. Some people put their's in garbage bags or even in the refrigerator (if their winters outside are too cold), which means they don't need ANY light at all. Take a look here:

    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=111701

    It's really that simple. Just take from that what you will. I would imagine 4 months dormancy should be plenty (nov-feb). Just use your noggin' and you'll be fine.
    Scot gave me that link yesterday; it was a good read. I'm going to try to have the fridge temp between 35-40 if I have to resort to the fridge method. Thanks for the input!


    Quote Originally Posted by Not a Number View Post
    Number 1 is your best option. Winter temps in my area of Los Angeles average low 50s F and my CPs go dormant without any problems, even my Drosera from the NJ Pine Barrens. As long as the nights get longer and the average winter temps are cooler than summer they should go dormant. Lack of light will not be a problem as VFTs often lose their leaves in dormancy. Many people overwinter their VFTs in windowless garages or basements. A minimum three month dormancy is what's normally spoken about. Four months isn't going to hurt them, it might even be better. If the start to come out of dormancy before the chance of frost is past move them to another window that gets more sun or don't even worry about it. They're not going to die from lack of direct sunlight in 3-4 weeks. They'll be producing narrow spindly spring leaves anyway. How much light do you think they'll get in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator?
    Thanks for the info

    I'd prefer to try the window method first in the hopes that it gets cold enough. My biggest concern with the window is that when I bring them inside in say November, they'll go from 10 hours of direct sun a day to 0 hours of direct sun with no gradual decrease.

    This won't bother them?

    I suppose I could cut off all the VFT and Sarracenia leaves and put them in that northwest facing window that gets no direct sun. Not sure if that's a good idea or a horrible one.

    I just don't have any usable south-facing windows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valydius View Post
    Scot gave me that link yesterday; it was a good read. I'm going to try to have the fridge temp between 35-40 if I have to resort to the fridge method. Thanks for the input!




    Thanks for the info

    I'd prefer to try the window method first in the hopes that it gets cold enough. My biggest concern with the window is that when I bring them inside in say November, they'll go from 10 hours of direct sun a day to 0 hours of direct sun with no gradual decrease.

    This won't bother them?

    I suppose I could cut off all the VFT and Sarracenia leaves and put them in that northwest facing window that gets no direct sun. Not sure if that's a good idea or a horrible one.

    I just don't have any usable south-facing windows.
    What would be the point in cutting off the leaves on your VFT? If they survive they will be able to perform photosynthesis for the plant to get it going again. The guy in that link cut off his pitchers because they are just too big, clumsy, and delicate to fit in a garbage bag (at least I'm pretty sure that's why).

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    I'm in Red Lion, just below York.
    I leave my VFT's out till the temps hit freezing, then I move them into an unheated, windowless garage. The temps are in the mid to low 50's. I keep them there till the nights outside are above freezing, then move them back outside to wake up.


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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valydius View Post

    I'd prefer to try the window method first in the hopes that it gets cold enough. My biggest concern with the window is that when I bring them inside in say November, they'll go from 10 hours of direct sun a day to 0 hours of direct sun with no gradual decrease.

    This won't bother them?
    They'll probably be dormant by the end of October-mid November.

    Quote Originally Posted by Valydius View Post
    I suppose I could cut off all the VFT and Sarracenia leaves and put them in that northwest facing window that gets no direct sun. Not sure if that's a good idea or a horrible one.

    I just don't have any usable south-facing windows.
    No east facing windows? Half a day of sunlight is better than none. No need to trim off the leaves but you can trim off the brown/black parts if you wish. The Sarracenia you can trim most of the leaves off just as it starts resuming growth.

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    Yes we have East facing windows, but they get no direct sun because there's another house 25 feet away from it and a tree in between.

    The one south facing window that I have access to doesn't get much sun, but this particular room doesn't drop below 80 - it's just the configuration of the house.

    My options are really that large northwest window, or a refrigerator.

    I'll try the window first and I won't cut off the leaves. If that doesn't work (temp is all wrong or something) then I'll cut the leaves off, bag them and put them in the fridge.

    That window may actually get a few hours of direct sun before sunset (it will be through leafless trees but I supposed it's better than nothing). I'll check it more closely tonight.

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