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Thread: Dormancy for hot climates

  1. #1
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    I just got a PM from a PFT member, asking how one can do the "fridge method" if you live in a really warm climate..
    and living in the "great white north" as I do, I dont really have a good answer!

    in the very warm climate, you can still use the "fridge method" for the actual dormancy itself, but how can you prepare the plant for dormancy if your "autumn" stays in the 70's to 90's?!
    Here in the north, we dont have that problem..autumn takes care of getting the plant "ready" naturally..autumn temps fall gradually through the 60's, 50's, 40's..then at the right time, the plant can go into the fridge, and its already dormant just from being outside until mid-October..

    but..what can you do if you live in a tropical, very warm environment where nature cant do that job for you?
    any ideas from the southerners here?
    thanks,
    Scot

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    Hi,
    I stay in tropical Singapore, which is hot and wet throughout the year.( This is home to the neps)
    I have been reasonably successful with VFT and their dormancy.
    I purchase a wine cooler specially for dormancy purposes whereby I gradually lower the temp from 15C to 10C over a period of one month, hold it for 10C for another month and raise it back to 15C over the third month..
    You can check out the dormancy section in my webpg for more info.

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    I'm in a bit of a pickle with this as well. I live in Las Vegas where the Spring and Autumn times tend to be quite short before getting absurdly hot, or discomfortably cold.
    Some random words.

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    I have some probs as well, but here is what helps:
    Move them to shade, indirect light only
    Move them into your home, onto an indirect light windowsill
    Move them in the the a cool bathroom or other spot in the house
    THEN follow fridge dormancy suggestions (there is plenty info on the forums about this)
    A flytrap ate my homework!
    -Michelle

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    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    Here in Tucson, Arizona I have not had a single problem with fridge dormancy. I either plant them in undrained containers I can put a lid on once they are submerged in water, before placing in the fridge, or I unpot them, wash most of any media off, trim off any remaining adult leaves, take a few old leaf basal pieces for propagation and then put them by variety/cultivar into individual zip loc bags with a couple of sprigs of just moist LFS.



    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

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    Remember initiation of dormancy is not really temperature related, it is a seasonal response to reduced photoperiod. The cold helps maintain the dormancy, but the actual cue is the shorter days. Plants without supplemental light will go dormant, and the remainder of the trick is to keep them so.
    "Grow More, Share More"

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    True, but if you have them in a fridge and it stops working, the little buggers will start sprouting white, etiolated shoots in response to the non-cold temps.

    Cheers,

    Joe

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    hmmmm..
    I still dont buy the theory that photoperiod is more imortant than low temps..
    sure, both play a part, but I think low temps are MUCH more imortant than decreased photoperiod for starting and holding dormancy..

    look at 2 theoritical examples..
    1. a VFT in a windowsill.
    it gets no artificial light, only recieves window light.
    in the late summer and early autumn the plant gets the decreased photoperiod, same as any plant outdoors.
    but it does NOT get lower temps, because its indoors, and is subject to the constant 72 degrees that the resident humans enjoy.
    So, decreased photoperiod, but no decreased temp..
    will the plant go dormant?
    no..not really.
    it might slow down..it might some "dormancy cues" from the decreasing photoperiod..but..the constant warm temps will keep it growing..
    its too warm for dormancy!
    basically, the plant thinks its still summer but its not getting as much light..

    example two.
    another VFT.
    lets say its in a terrarium outside.
    lit artificially by a timer..
    in the late summer it is subject to lower temps but its photoperiod never changes..
    lower temps, constant lighting..
    will it go dormant?
    probably!
    even if the light levels stay the same, if its 35 degrees its not going to be actively growing!
    sure, it might be a bit confused by all the light, but the cold is going to force it into dormancy..


    sure, I agree that having both less light AND lower temps is ideal.
    and that is what most of us give out plants in the winter..
    but it just seems logical to me that low temps would obviously be MUCH more important than less light..

    I base this on a local nursery that grows and sells bonsai.
    one winter a few years ago they has a group of japanese maple bonsai they kept in the greenhouse all summer.
    as autumn approached they forgot to put them outside..
    natural lighting through the greenhouse glass.
    by January the plants were still in full leaf!
    the leaves had not changed colors and dropped..
    photoperiod decreased, temperature didnt..
    they looked terrible!
    they looked very ill..downright tired.
    but..they were NOT dormant! because it was still very warm!
    they kept growing..they were missing one very important dormancy cue..temp.

    yes, I agree that you need both.
    but when talking about triggering dormancy in VFT's,
    I think its VERY important to give them gradualy lowered temps through autumn.
    If I had to choose one "factor" to help a plant go into winter dormancy,
    I would consider lower temps far more important than less light..

    less light + really warm = weak and confused plants, but not dormant.

    high light + cold temps = less than ideal dormancy, but plants wont grow at 35 degrees, regardless of how much light there is..

    less light + cold temps = ideal dormancy, obviously..

    Scot

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