Let Your Venus Flytrap Frost Over

Published Date: November 3rd, 2006
Category: Gardening

By: Jacob Farin

Every autumn, I receive lots of email from growers telling me how they brought their Venus Flytraps indoors because of a weather forecast predicting frost.

It is a myth, plain and simple, that these North American carnivorous plants must be protected from frost. Ironically, frost is what helps them survive the winter!

Frost is the signal that plants need to know when it is time to go dormant. As Flytraps prepare for dormancy (and yes, they need to go dormant), they produce anti-freeze chemicals that help them survive freezing temperatures.

So, if you prevent your Venus Flytraps from experiencing frost, you prevent them from producing those anti-freeze chemicals. More importantly, you put your plants at risk and make it much harder on yourself.

You see, without any anti-freeze chemicals, Flytraps must always be protected from freezing temperatures. But, at the same time, they still need cool temperatures to slow down in growth and go dormant.

But, without frost, plants rarely enter deep dormancy. At the most, they enter what is called a winter rest. This is when plants are still growing, but they grow very slowly and their leaves look weak and listless. Flytraps in this state of growth actually require more care than those that go completely dormant.

Caring for Venus Flytraps during dormancy is very easy. Once dormant, simply keep the soil moist and protect the plant whenever the temperature goes below 20�F, which is true for any plant grown in containers, carnivorous or otherwise. Flytraps are native to North Carolina, so they are not at all unfamiliar with snowy conditions.

So, let your Venus Flytraps experience frost. Not only will you be helping them produce those anti-freeze chemicals, you will have an easier time caring for them when they go completely dormant.

About the author: Jacob Farin is co-owner of Sarracenia Northwest, a nursery that specializes in the cultivation of carnivorous plants. He is also co-author of Secrets to Growing Beautiful Carnivorous Plants for Your Home and Garden. For more details about growing carnivorous plants, visit http://www.CarnivorousPlantSecrets.com.

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