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Question
We are here in Portland and my son has two small pots of fly traps that he got for christmas. I noticed this morning that the soil was dry and that they looked droopy. So I brought them in and put them in the fridge. Should I do something else? I'm afraid that my son is going to be heartbroken if they die.

Answer
Hi Laura,

Whether or not the plants make it will depend on how long they were frozen and dry.  Those are the two things together that tend to lead to losses.  If after thawing in the fridge if you see the leaves come back, then the plants are probably ok.  Also, if you un-pot or repot them you can look at their bulbs.  If the bulbs are nice and white, then the plants will be fine.  If they look brown, then they probably won't make it.

When learning to protect North American carnivorous plants such as Venus flytraps from winter, it's important to think about them exactly the same way you would other kinds of perennials.  If you have a plant like a small rose, lavender or other perennial, that plant is much less hardy in a small pot than it would be if it were in a large planter or in the ground.  Plants in pots need more protection.  In gardening it's often said that a plant in a pot is hardy to one less zone than something in the ground.  So, in the case of the Veunus flytrap, it's hardy to zone 8 in it's native North Carolina, so in the ground it might survive to 10 degrees F.  In a pot, however, that's going to be zone 9, so it's only hardy to about 25 degrees F., and then only for short periods, such as just a night or two at a time.

The easiest thing to do here in the Northwest if you only have a few plants is to just bring them into a garage or shed until were back to regular rain.  Shielding them from the wind and temperature extremes is often all it takes to get them through a hard freeze here.  In the nursery we cover all our plants with black plastic during temperatures below 25 degrees F.  We also make sure everything is on the ground and not up on a table which makes them even more vulnerable.  We have a chapter devoted specifically to this issue in our volume #1 DVD.  In the DVD we go into great detail and show you, not just tell you, how to be successful with North American carnivorous plants.  It can help folks avoid the pitfalls so common to new growers.  http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com/Grow-Carnivorous-Plants-DVD-1-p/01111.htm

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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