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Incoming Winter / Dormancy

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
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836
Location
Zone 5
As we all know, winter is coming. Many growers are now readying Sarracenia and VFTs for the cold,
however Im still not exactly sure what I have to do, as this is my first winter with CPs that need a dormancy.

Living in zone 5, winters are nightmarish and frigid. I have 2 sarrs (Catesbaei and purpurea)
along with 2 VFTs. From what Ive read, they should be dormant or very close to it around
thanksgiving and come out on valentines day. A few hours of light every day with no freezing. (Is this correct?)

I dont have a refrigerator I can place them in, but if that is my last option I will do it. I was discussing this with
other members and they said that it may be possible to set up a cold insulated Styrofoam box and overwinter them in a shed or something.

If anybody has any ideas or suggestions on this, it would be greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
May 19, 2013
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283
Location
New Haven, CT
Do you have any unheated rooms/hallways? Maybe a basement window? I live in an apartment in a big old house. There is an unheated hallway with a window that gets just enough light (it's partially blocked by the neighboring house) and that's where my VFTs and sarrs spend the winter, slightly damp but far from wet. It does the trick.
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
836
Location
Zone 5
I live in a single story house with a crawl space. I could try setting their box in a window or something, but every room is heated.
Maybe by the kitchen window would work..
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2014
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Tennessee, zone 6B.
"winters are nightmarish and frigid"
I love this word. It is the most flawless description of Winter you could ever come across. It just sounds right too.
(Pay no attention to the crazy man who likes words.)
 

Dragoness

For the love of Science!
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Jun 8, 2014
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Oakland County, Michigan
I too am in zone 5. My VFT's live in ground, and get no natural light from about Thanksgiving to Valentines day, give or take two weeks. They get covered - with about 3 feet of mulch.
 

CorneliusSchrute

A leuco by any other name would still be as glutto
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Dexter, MO
With only a few plants your options are many detailed above. I vote for a Styrofoam cooler in your crawl space. Quick and easy. I do recommend waiting ad long as possible to put them there and taking them out as soon as possible.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
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Greeley, CO, USA
I'm technically in zone 5, and mine usually don't get to sit outside from the end of October through the beginning of May. I keep mine in my basement though, which doesn't really help you if you don't have one. But, it is possible to shut a single room off from heating by closing vents and blocking the spaces under doors, so if you have a room that gets some sun that you can do that with, it could work.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2001
Messages
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Location
Western New York, USA
around thanksgiving and come out on valentines day. A few hours of light every day with no freezing. (Is this correct?)

No, not correct..if they are in a "deep dormancy" at temps of 35 to 45F, (+2 to +7 Celsius) they need no light at all..
my VFT's and Sarrs spend 4 solid months (sometimes 5 months!) at those temps, in pitch darkness the whole time..they do fine.
been doing it that wayt 20 years in a row now, and counting.

other members and they said that it may be possible to set up a cold insulated Styrofoam box and overwinter them in a shed or something.

Bad idea on the styrofoam box..a stryofoam box, or any other "insulator" will only keep things warm if there is a heat source! ;)
and they keep things warmer, or cooler, for a very short time.

A bag of ice outside of a styrofoam cooler might melt away in 2 hours.
inside the cooler, maybe 6 or 8 hours.

A mug of hot tea put outside on a 20 degree (negative 7C) day might lose all its heat, and freeze solid, in 3 hours.
A mug of hot tea put outside on a 20 degree day *inside a cooler* might lose all its heat, and freeze solid, in 6 hours.

but once the heat is gone, the cooler is useless..
after a few hours, if its 20 degrees outside of the cooler, its also 20 degrees inside the cooler.
"insulators" cant insulate if there no heat to keep in! ;)

There is no cooler in existence that will keep things warmer for 4 months, without electricity or
an outside warming influence (like the sun)..
4 hours is pushing the limits..

So, Styrofoam cooler does absolutely nothing.
it will keep the plants warmer for the first few hours of the winter dormancy..
after those first hours, for the remaining 4 months of dormancy, the cooler does nothing.

Check out my dormancy pages, see if they give you any ideas you can use..im in Rochester NY,
basically the same climate as you:

http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page2.html

http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page5c.html

Last winter my plants stayed in the stairwell from Nov 1 to about April 15!
FIVE and a half months! crazy..but they did fine! :)

Scot
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
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311
Location
Southern Wisconsin
If you have a garage connected to the house that will work, unless it gets brutally cold like last winter anyway. Even then, a few weeks of that kind of cold aren't really much of a problem but months... that is a different story.
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
836
Location
Zone 5
Zone 5! So lucky! (Zone 4 checking in here!)

Im technically 4 / 5. IT can get cold as zone 4 some winters, and sometimes not. No warmth is NO FUN.:evil:

I too am in zone 5. My VFT's live in ground, and get no natural light from about Thanksgiving to Valentines day, give or take two weeks. They get covered - with about 3 feet of mulch.
Thats encouraging.. Perhaps i could try a bog in the future..
For now I cant though.

Perhaps you have a friend that can take them for the winter?
Ive thought about it multiple times, but I dont think anybody would care as much as I do,
So im gonna keep them here. None of my friends are capable of doing it and my family members dont deal with
Cps sadly.

No, not correct..if they are in a "deep dormancy" at temps of 35 to 45F, (+2 to +7 Celsius) they need no light at all..
my VFT's and Sarrs spend 4 solid months (sometimes 5 months!) at those temps, in pitch darkness the whole time..they do fine.
been doing it that wayt 20 years in a row now, and counting.



Bad idea on the styrofoam box..a stryofoam box, or any other "insulator" will only keep things warm if there is a heat source! ;)
and they keep things warmer, or cooler, for a very short time.

A bag of ice outside of a styrofoam cooler might melt away in 2 hours.
inside the cooler, maybe 6 or 8 hours.

A mug of hot tea put outside on a 20 degree (negative 7C) day might lose all its heat, and freeze solid, in 3 hours.
A mug of hot tea put outside on a 20 degree day *inside a cooler* might lose all its heat, and freeze solid, in 6 hours.

but once the heat is gone, the cooler is useless..
after a few hours, if its 20 degrees outside of the cooler, its also 20 degrees inside the cooler.
"insulators" cant insulate if there no heat to keep in! ;)

There is no cooler in existence that will keep things warmer for 4 months, without electricity or
an outside warming influence (like the sun)..
4 hours is pushing the limits..

So, Styrofoam cooler does absolutely nothing.
it will keep the plants warmer for the first few hours of the winter dormancy..
after those first hours, for the remaining 4 months of dormancy, the cooler does nothing.

Check out my dormancy pages, see if they give you any ideas you can use..im in Rochester NY,
basically the same climate as you:

http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page2.html

http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page5c.html

Last winter my plants stayed in the stairwell from Nov 1 to about April 15!
FIVE and a half months! crazy..but they did fine! :)

Scot

WOW dude thank you! that is EXACTLY what Ive been looking for.
I must say.. what an awesome guide to winters/dormancy.
I was hoping the cooler could atleast protect them a little from freezing,
bt now I see how that wont work. Thanks for saving me from that landmine.:eek:
With the links you shared, Looks like I may have a chance at this..

Also, do they need temps to be low for dormancy, or is it just the photoperiod?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 27, 2001
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Western New York, USA
Also, do they need temps to be low for dormancy, or is it just the photoperiod?

They need both.
there has been discussions to try to prove that one is "more important" than the other, but I dont buy it.
IMO, both are equally important..if you have only one, but not the other, you wont get a proper dormancy.

If one was to be "more important" it would have to be cool temps..
if you have bright light, but cooler temps, the plant *has* to go somewhat dormant,
because the cool air slows down it metabolism, regardless of how bright the light is.
but few people have that scenerio anyway. cool temps plus "bright summer light" almost never happens.

The much more common combination is keeping it warm, but with less light.
like when people try to keep plants indoors in the winter, on a dim but warm windowsill,
or in a terrarium, with artificial light that is *much* dimmer than the sun, and warm indoor temps.
both those scenarios are very bad, and do not result in a proper dormancy at all..and I have proof! ;)
(I copied and pasted the bits below from a previous thread here on terraforums! ;) we have talked about this before here! ;) )

A local nursery, several years ago, was selling maple Bonsai trees..
maple bonsai should be grown outdoors, always..
but they had them indoors.
they were indoors all spring.
all summer.
all fall.
and into the following winter.

I came across them in January..indoors..not dormant.
they still had their leaves, and looked very sickly.
they were inside a heated greenhouse.
so lets see what happened...
Maple trees indoors vs. Maple trees outdoors:

Maple tree outdoors.
late summer and into autumn.
photoperiod and temps BOTH drop..
tree gets temp and light cues that "its time to begin going dormant"
tree drops its leaves in October..as it should.
by January, in low light and freezing cold, totally dormant.

Maple tree indoors:
late summer and into autumn.
tree is getting a normal decreasing photoperiod, same as outdoor trees, but temp is NOT dropping..
indoor heat comes on in the fall..
tree stays at 70 degrees day and night.
photoperiod is dropping..temp isnt.
In january, the tree is NOT dormant!
it still has its leaves..
conclusion: photoperiod is important, but if temps dont also drop, the plant wont go dormant.

Decreasing photoperiod, alone, will not cause the plant to go dormant if temps do not also drop.
so, you must have both..

I personally witnessed that.

Scot
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
836
Location
Zone 5
Yea man that was the Ultimate sarracenia dormancy guide. That deserves a sticky.
Thank you for that bounty of awesome info scotty!
 
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