Dormancy experiments

Published October 18, 2016

Carnivorous plants: I'm the proud owner of a set of carnivorous plants which need to be going dormant for winter quite soon.

Nothing I read online tells me what's really necessary to make a Venus Fly Trap or a Sarracenia go dormant over winter, so I am not really sure if keeping them in an unheated conservatory is OK. My main concern is the heat can build up very quickly when the sun comes out, but this will be a pretty rare occurrence over winter.

So I'm doing it the only way I can: I have a Venus Fly Trap and Sarracenia Purpurea inside, and one of each outside too. I'm interested to see which set goes dormant first, how much if any growth they experience over the winter, and when they come out of dormancy.

Indoor Sarracenia

Indoor Venus Fly Trap. When I got this it had only a handful of small green traps; I'm really pleased with how it's turned out

Outdoor Sarracenia and Venus Fly Trap. The VTF looked a lot healthier a few months ago, I think it's pleading for dormancy.

I've had the outdoor Venus Fly Trap for a few years now. It went dormant on my windowsill two years ago, but last year it did not, so I really want to make sure it does this year. I think it's ready for it - it's nowhere near as impressive as it was a month or two ago; it has much fewer traps and the ones it's growing now are very small.

DateAvg outdoor min temperature (°C)Avg outdoor max temperature (°C)Observation
2016-10-16Plants put out
2016-10-23714Indoor VFT has caught a spider. Otherwise, not much.
2016-10-30914New growth on all plants has definitely slowed and traps seem to be dying at a faster rate than before. The indoor sarracenia (which has a huge number of pitchers) has 3-4 that are definitely dying. The outdoor one looks unchanged.
2016-11-06310The weather has suddenly become a lot colder, which prompted me to insulate the outdoor plants' pots, but, apart from that, little obvious change.
2016-11-1339I'm pretty sure that any new growth on the VFTs has stopped
2016-11-20510No obvious change.

I won't update this anymore, as I'm confident both sets of plants are dormant, and they went dormant around the same time. The conservatory was consistently a few degrees warmer than the outdoor temperature, with occasional (short lived) peaks up to 40°C, which didn't seem to affect anything.

Filed under: plants, carnivorous plants, dormancy

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