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Questions on dormancy, lighting, repotting, etc.



I just found this forum; lots of good information here.  Hope someone can help me.

Here is my situation:

I have two healthy plants in one large pot about 9 inches in diameter and 7 inches deep.  Traps are about an inch or so long.  I keep the pot indoors right by the window between the blinds and glass; I'd guess the temp around 50 degrees there.  The plant went into dormancy around November when the weather got cold.

Problem 1:  I just noticed that both plants have started growing stalks.  I think it is a little early for this...  Does this mean the plants are coming out of dormancy?  (The temp was in the sixties here in Chicago last week.  I wonder if that caused the plants to wake up.)  This is the third year I have had them and usually the stalks don't come up until March.  Should I cut them off?  Will they grow out again in a few months when the weather warms up?  If the plants are coming out of dormancy, should I just let them continue and move them to a warmer location in my apartment?

Problem 2:  I moved to a new apartment a few months ago, and now the only windows I have face directly north.  This means I get no direct sunlight at all.  This is going to be a problem for my plants.  Can I place them under artificial lighting?  What kind?  How much?  How close?

Problem 3:  The plants have been in the same pot for three years.  Should I repot?  I have notice the soil level is lower than it used to be.  Should I add more moss to the pot?  I don't want to bury my plants, however.

Also, I have read on this forum that some people put their plants in the refrigerator during dormancy.   Are they left in the pot when they do that?  How does that work?


First welcome to the forums!!!

this is probably going to be long....so go grab a drink and use bathroom before sitting down :cheesy:

1)  If your plants are coming up. I would let them continue to.  If you cut off brand new growth...you might damage/kill them.

If they want to come up a month early, it shouldn't be a problem.  I would move them to a warmer part of the house and allow them to grow out.  Plants come out of dormancy all the time early.  Just make sure that it doesn't get cold and they go back into it.  Being that it is only a month away from they regular 'sleep'

2)  Having a north window shouldn't be a bad thing.  If you are concerned about the lighting...you can use artificial lighting.  You want to keep the light 6-8 inches above the plant ( so you don't burn it....move higher if buring occurs)  

Your light should run 12-14 hours a day.  Cool white light is what most people use.  You want to stay away from the plant/animal lights because of the Kelvin factor ( this is the heat that the light puts out....too much heat the light puts out..you will burn the plant.  And since you need to have your artif. light on longer to mimic the normal light for the photo period, it will heat up the soil to temps that will kill the plants roots or burn the plant ).  Cool white lighting is best for the plant.  It doesn't put out the heat, but does produce the light that the plant needs.

I would first try the light you have.  If your plant produces long leaves that appear to be 'reaching for the light' your light isn't good.


The first leaves that your plant will put out for the spring will be wide and low to the ground

The 'summer leaves' will be long and slender. So don't get confused.

3)  Whatever you do...DO NOT REPOT YOUR VFT (Venus Flytrap).  Many people will tell you that the best thing for the plant is to repot....BUT WHY???  They get no nutrition from the soil.  The only thing that is 'lost' over time is the acidic content.  To get around this make a 'peat tea'

This is basically getting a bottle/glass/plastic jug and then getting cheese cloth or pantyhose and filling it with peatmoss.  Press it down firmly.  Place it in the bottle/jug/glass and set in the sun.  Allow it to 'brew' making a 'tea'.  Be sure to use distilled water!!  Then water your plant with this ( over the top around the plant...NEVER directly on the plant for fear of damage to plant )

This will oncrease the acidic content and you will have a very happy plant for it.

If your soil level is low....I would just put more dirt in it ( or whatever you have your plant in )

The biggest problem is when you repot ( which isn't good ) is that it shocks the plant.  THe growth will be slow and sometimes the plant will die!  IF you are not careful...you will break roots and plant!  

IF YOU MUST REPOT - dig around the plant.  Pulling it out with a clump of dirt...then pot that! Viola!

But seeing how the plant grows slow, gets nothing from the soil....there is no reason to repot.  Bigger pots do not equal bigger plants!!

There is dormancy questions answered in the General Discussion.  Under dormancy look here ( something like that ).

That is way too much to write.  But it will have all the information you need on it!

Let us know how your plant does!


Wow, thanks for all the info.  I will clip off the stalks and move my pot to a warmer spot in my apartment.

As I have no southern-facing windows (north only) I think I will need artificial lighting.  What do you suggest?  Florescent lighting?  (I'm assuming a regular 60-watt incandescent bulb would be too hot.)

I will let you know how the plants do!  They have been quite robust for the past few seasons (but that has been where I have had direct sunlight) so I hope they do the same this year.

(Edited by lytleric at 9:36 am on Feb. 3, 2002)
Sep 25, 2001
United Kingdom
I've got some VFTs growing under a 60 watt blue daylight bulb. It is hot but it is far enough away from my plants to keep the plants warm and the soil cool. It's a necessity really where I am because of the weak February sun.

As for repotting, as Jaie says VFTs don't need good soil, but in my experience they will need repotting if the peat has compacted over many years. I received one VFT that was in peat more like concrete! But I don't think you'll have this problem.