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I'm so confused what to do for winter dormancy! help!

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Sep 26, 2014
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Ok, so i'm very new to carnivorous plants, I got a VFT 2 years ago and just this year started adding more to my collection. And just very recently started looking into acquiring more and research. At the moment I have a VFT, a D. capensis x spatulata( i think), a purple, and white top pitcher plant. Everything i'm reading about dormancy is about the temperature and the amount of light. I live in the Florida panhandle and while it gets cold enough to meet the requirements, our days are pretty much always pretty bright and semi long even in the dead of winter. its November and I still have new traps coming up on pretty much everything. I just wanted to know if maybe in December it may happen naturally? Or If I move them to my patio to cut the amount of direct sunlight they get down to half would work? Also water requirements im a little unsure about, ive read to stop tray watering during winter and also to keep doing it? I have also read that pitcher plants should be cut back towards the end of winter?

I know this is the VFT forum, but since i have a little of each i just went for this. Thank you for any advice you guys can give.
 

SubRosa

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I would think you could leave them out without issues. As far as water a bit less wet is ok, but never let them dry out
 
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Well I would like to add my VFT went through 1 winter already and I didnt notice anything I would call a dormancy, thats what has me worried.
 
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That's why they need a good dormancy this winter. A plant (like a VFT) can survive a year without dormancy but it is bad for the plant because it doesn't get those 3ish months to conserve energy, which puts a great deal of stress on them come growing season. If necessary, put them in a cool basement or garage for a little while, although I might add that my plants get a decent and healthy dormancy here in California despite seeing temperatures rarely dip below 50 even in the dead of winter.
 

SubRosa

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Mine spent last winter in an above ground half barrel with no protection. I live in zone 6b and we saw temps near 0 several times, and my VFT had immature traps that persisted right through and started growing in the spring.
 
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It bugs me when I see the words "near 0" zone 6bs depending on the location can get much, much colder than 0 degrees.

Some zone 6bs get near -40 at times. Keep in mind that 6b means an average lowest temperature. The problem is with zones that have hot summers and cold winters where the average lows sort of cancel out.

If temperatures in your region are near 0 degrees for long periods of time, I would not invest in plants outdoors.
Please, I can't emphasize this enough that zone 6b can be horrible to your plants.
I live in 6b, and have lost every plant before every plant.

Not all hardiness numbers are made equal.
 

SubRosa

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It bugs me when I see the words "near 0" zone 6bs depending on the location can get much, much colder than 0 degrees.

Some zone 6bs get near -40 at times. Keep in mind that 6b means an average lowest temperature. The problem is with zones that have hot summers and cold winters where the average lows sort of cancel out.

If temperatures in your region are near 0 degrees for long periods of time, I would not invest in plants outdoors.
Please, I can't emphasize this enough that zone 6b can be horrible to your plants.
I live in 6b, and have lost every plant before every plant.

Not all hardiness numbers are made equal.
Incorrect. USDA hardiness zones are based upon average low temps for a given region. They're hardly perfect because they don't factor in freeze/thaw cycles among other things, but no place in zone 6b gets anywhere near -40F. Generally speaking more freeze/thaws in an area a bad thing. It's better if stuff freezes and stays frozen. If a place gets to -40F with any regularity it's not zone 6, but zone 2. Having lived a winter in Jay, VT I definitely can tell you there is a big difference between a zone 3a winter and a zone 6b winter. Your difficulties in keeping temperate bog plants lie somewhere other than your temperatures if you're in 6b. Without knowing your practices I couldn't be sure, but seeing as you're in Utah water would be my first suspicion.
 
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Darlantin,
here is what you should do to give a proper dormancy for your VFT's and Sarracenia:

Put your plants outside.
leave them there 24/7/365.
forever.
the end.

seriously, you live in the the native range of many sarracenia!
yes, you are further south than the native range of VFT's, but not significantly..
not enough to make a difference.

pretty much everyone in the South-East USA has it made when it comes to dormancy..
*south* florida might be pushing it, becoming too warm, but the Florida panhandle is fine.

They will go dormant, even if they dont look like it..
I bet they dont grow all winter, at all..

you are *really* lucky..you have the easiest dormancy ever! ;)
just keep them outside..
I might put them in the shade, more so than in the growing season, to keep them
out of the sun and a touch cooler..but overall, you have nothing to worry about.
zones 7 and 8 are ideal for outside dormancy, because its the native range of the plants! ;)
dont worry about cold snaps either..they can handle it.
they can take a day or two below freezing..

those of us in the North worry about temps below zero because we can have *multiple weeks* below freezing!
and nights below freezing for months..you dont have to worry about that.

You see a ton of debate about dormancy for those of us who dont live in your climate..
things like the fridge method, sheds, garages, attics..etc.
*none* of those discussions apply to you! ;)
just keep them outside every day of the year, and you are golden..

Scot
 
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Agreed with Scot. In the FL Panhandle, you are in the golden range. There are naturalized populations of Dionaea in your region, so your plants are fine, and you are smack in the middle of white-top and Burk's purple pitcher plant ranges too. Leave them outside forever, and let them be.
 
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Incorrect. USDA hardiness zones are based upon average low temps for a given region. They're hardly perfect because they don't factor in freeze/thaw cycles among other things, but no place in zone 6b gets anywhere near -40F. Generally speaking more freeze/thaws in an area a bad thing. It's better if stuff freezes and stays frozen. If a place gets to -40F with any regularity it's not zone 6, but zone 2. Having lived a winter in Jay, VT I definitely can tell you there is a big difference between a zone 3a winter and a zone 6b winter. Your difficulties in keeping temperate bog plants lie somewhere other than your temperatures if you're in 6b. Without knowing your practices I couldn't be sure, but seeing as you're in Utah water would be my first suspicion.

You're right average low temperature. However, yes they do get near -40. A few miles north of me is a canyon classified as 6b and it's been on occasion well into the -30s. I did not say we experience these regularly, but they can come with little to no notice as arctic winds from Canada come down. This surely kills plants as they are not already frozen solid. The quick formation of the crystalline latice destroys the plant's cells.

Lol you live in Florida? Facepalm, yes leave your plants outside.

I still disagree with subrosa though. Not a single plant can survive outside conditions here, not even the hardiest of saracenia. The water crystals move the water outside of the plant as sublimation occurs on the plant surfaces. The displaced water often kills the plant.

However the death of plants is inclusive to pots and bogs covered with snow for the large part of the "docile winter". The transitional period from fall to winter is extremely deadly when temperatures sky rocket during the day (50-60 degrees) and plummet to just below freezing which sustains all night.

So yes, water has a roll in some way. Only that our atmosphere does not retain heat into the night, which makes transitioning out of and into winter a real pain, basically there is no appropriate time-frame for dormancy in my area. Which makes me (personally) suspicious when people encourage just about anyone to put their plants outside because they have had success in 6b or lower.

I'm sure I'm the exception, but when I started growing and asking questions, people with good intentions like you guys were essentially instructing me to throw my plants away.

I put them outside, they died, and I have never trusted dormancy instruction from non-drought areas again. So I always feel I have to chime in when the zone is 6b or lower. There are exceptions and we need to take note of them.

Most of you won't find this helpful, but I sure felt like I wasted a lot of energy in the whole outdoor dormancy thing.
 
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Thank you Scotty and Hcarlton! I kind of hoped that because I knew a lot of them were native to the area, so it made sense. I just never saw what what i see commonly described about dormancy, as far as the plant kind of dieing back and what not.

Any input on the watering during the winter and the cutting back of the Sarrencia at the end of the winter?
 
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Sarrs don't need to be watered nearly as often during dormancy as they do during the growing season - they simply don't need it. I cut back gradually: as more and more phyllodia (non-carnivorous leaves) pop up, I begin to water less. This doesn't mean you should ever let the soil dry out - the soil should still be lightly moist. You'll notice, however, that the plants won't take up water as quickly, and this can be a good way in which to pace your watering. Soil should always be moist, but you can cut back on how often you water and the amount you put in. My advice - if you're using the tray method, wait until the tray is just about to dry out/has just run out of water before watering again.
 
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I've got a similar problem to OP. 3 flytraps sprouted over the summer, and now they and a sarrecenia are in a room where it's 48-50 at night and 58-60 in the daytime, but while the sarracenia hasn't grown anything since it got repotted, the flytraps don't seem to have changed much. Is there any way to check for dormancy or anything?
 

NemJones

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I've got a similar problem to OP. 3 flytraps sprouted over the summer, and now they and a sarrecenia are in a room where it's 48-50 at night and 58-60 in the daytime, but while the sarracenia hasn't grown anything since it got repotted, the flytraps don't seem to have changed much. Is there any way to check for dormancy or anything?

Dormancy is triggered when the plants have been outside all year. The photo period
Tells them when to go dormant, which is right around fall that they SHOULD be completely
Dormant. They dont really show dormancy at all.
 
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Photoperiod and temperatures play a role. One good frost and most of them start shutting down for the winter. And the Sarr that hasn't grown since it was repotted is probably just recuperating from that stress.
Really the only way to tell if they're dormant is if they sty in stasis for the winter months. Sarrs will produce small, hornlike growths instead of normal leaves when dormant, but flytraps don't change in appearance other than to switch to ground-hugging traps.
 

jimscott

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Our friend, Mach, in Hawaii, has Sarracenias that go dormant for him. They may not get the low temps that we get here in the 48 contiguous States, but they do get some reduction in photoperiod.
 
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